TitleThe role of technology for healthy aging among Korean and Hispanic women in the United States: A pilot study
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsSteggell, CD, Hooker, K, Bowman, S, Choun, S, Kim, S-J
Date Published10/2010

As a result of increasing life expectancies, declining birth rates, and an increasing number of ethnic minorities among the general USA population, a growing number of minority older adults will potentially need assistance as they age. The purpose of this study was to investigate the interests and concerns of USA Korean and Hispanic minority older women regarding the application of communication and monitoring technology to support aging in place to gain insight into some of the unique issues of these populations. This study was guided by a conceptual model of the use of gerontechnology that integrates the Life-span Theory of Control and a congruence model of person and environment interaction. Focus groups in the participants’ native language were used to explore attitudes and values of immigrant Korean (n=19) and Hispanic (n=13) older women. Focus group discussions were stimulated by four videotaped vignettes showing different assistive technolog ies being used by an older adult in her home. Content analysis of qualitative data revealed emergent positive themes, which included the participants’ willingness to try gerontechnologies, an appreciation of the potential for improving connections to family members still in the home country, and recognition of the improved safety and independence that technologies may provide. Negative themes included financial concerns, language barriers for usability, and concerns about possible physical effects of electronics. The perceptions of gerontechnologies among the minority women in this study reflected Korean and Hispanic cultural experiences and values. As gerontechnology research moves forward, it will be important to consider cultural dynamics of minority groups in the design, selection, and use of any new tool.