"Grandma, you should do it—it's cool": Older adults and the role of family members in their acceptance of technology

K.G. Luijkx, S.T.M. Peek, E.J.M. Wouters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

103 Citations (Scopus)
238 Downloads (Pure)


Despite its potential, the acceptance of technology to support the ability to live independently in one’s own home, also called aging in place, is not optimal. Family members may play a key role in technology acceptance by older adults; however, it is not well understood why and how they exert influence. Based on open interviews with 53 community-dwelling older adults, this paper describes the influence of family members, including spouses, on the use of various types of consumer electronics by older adults as was reported by themselves. Such a broad focus enables understanding the use of technology as was reported by older adults, instead of its intended use. Our study reveals that the influence of each family member has its own characteristics. The influence of technology acceptance is a natural and coincidental part of the interaction with spouses and grandchildren in which entertainment and pleasure are prominent. This is also partly true for the influence of children, but their influence also is intentional and driven by concerns. Our study indicates the importance of including all family members when implementing technology in the lives of older adults. Besides information for children about the use(fullness) of devices, it is worthwhile to give grandchildren an important role, because older adults easily adopt their enthusiasm and it might eventually lighten the burden on children.
Keywords: technology acceptance; technology adoption; family; social network; perspective of older adults
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15470-15485
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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