Understanding Health Self-Management Challenges and Needs for Older Adults with and without Mobility and Sensory Disabilities

Qiong Nie, Wendy A. Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Health self-management could be challenging for older adults with disabilities and technology has great potential to support them for managing health activities. Assessing users’ needs is a significant technique to develop useful technologies. However, studies overwhelmingly collected and analyzed qualitative data in smaller samples or quantitative data in populations with single type of disability. This study aimed to analyze a national level dataset to assess the frequency of and challenges with managing health activities in older population with and without disabilities and identify potential support solutions to provide guidance for technology interventions. In this study, 4,541 older adults from the National Health and Aging Trends Study were grouped into five sub-groups (non-disability, mobility, vision, hearing, multiple disability). The findings indicated lower participation in wellness activities (e.g., exercise) than disease management activities (e.g., taking medicines, going to medical appointment). Around one tenth of older adults reported difficulty with tracking medicines and 23.4%-64.3% of respondents reported being accompanied during medical appointments. Managing health activities was more challenging for older adults with mobility and multiple disabilities. They were more likely to have difficulties and receive assistance with managing these activities, including accessing online health information. In conclusion, needs of older adults to manage health varied across activities and for people with different types of disabilities. We provide direction for person-centered and tailored interventions to respond to these needs.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-37
JournalProceedings of the International Symposium on Human Factors and Ergonomics in Health Care
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 2022


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