The benefits and barriers to technology acquisition: Understanding the decision-making processes of older adults with age-related vision loss (ARVL)

Colleen McGrath*, Arlene Astell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction While research has investigated the factors influencing acquisition and use of technologies/assistive devices by older adults, few studies have addressed the decision-making processes regarding technology adoption of older adults with age-related vision loss. Method This critical ethnography engaged 10 older adults with age-related vision loss in narrative interviews, participant observation sessions, and semi-structured in-depth interviews to understand their decision-making processes related to the acquisition and use of low vision assistive devices to support occupational engagement. Findings Study findings focused on the benefits and barriers to technology acquisition and use. Benefits of technology acquisition included: enhanced occupational engagement; independence; safety; insurance; and validation of the disability, while the barriers to technology acquisition included: cost; training; usability; lack of awareness of low vision rehabilitation services; fear of being taken advantage of; and desire to preserve a preferred self-image. Conclusion Considering the low uptake of vision rehabilitation services, the study findings are important to occupational therapy. A better understanding of the perceived benefits and barriers to technology adoption from the perspective of older adults will help occupational therapists maximize treatment planning designed to enhance the occupational engagement of older adults aging with vision loss.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-131
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal of Occupational Therapy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017
Externally publishedYes

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