Background: The ability to manage everyday technology (ET), such as computers and microwave ovens, is increasingly required in the performance of everyday activities and participation in society. This study aimed to identify aspects that influence the ability to manage ET among older adults with and without cognitive impairment.
Methods: Older adults with mild Alzheimer's disease and mild cognitive impairment and without known cognitive impairment were assessed as they managed their ET at home. Data were collected using the Management of Everyday Technology Assessment (META). Rasch-based measures of the person's ability to manage ET were analyzed. These measures were used as dependent variables in backward procedure ANOVA analyses. Different predefined aspects that could influence the ability to manage ET were used as independent variables.
Results: Three aspects had a significant effect upon the ability to manage ET. These were: (1) variability in intrapersonal capacities (such as “the capacity to pay attention and focus”, (2) environmental characteristics (such as “the impact of the design”) and (3) diagnostic group.
Conclusions: Variability in intrapersonal capacities seems to be of more importance than the actual level of intrapersonal capacity in relation to the ability to manage ET for this sample. This implies that investigations of ability to manage ET should also include intraperson variability. Additionally, adaptations in environmental characteristics could simplify the management of ET to support older adults as technology users.