Evaluating Activity and Sleep Tracking Technologies for Older Adults
Burton, Kendall Elizabeth
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There are currently over 99 million citizens in the United States who are age 50 and older. Many of these older adults are interested in independently maintaining their mental and physical well-being. There are various technologies such as activity and sleep tracking technologies that can help the growing population maintain their health independently. The purpose of this study was to understand user interactions and opinions from an older adult sample (age 50 and older) regarding the ease of use and personal value of seven different activity and sleep tracking technologies. Ninety-two participants used one of the following devices: Fitbit Charge, Misfit Flash, Withings Pulse O2, Withings Activité Pop, Spire, Jawbone UP24, or LumoLift during the study. Over the course of six weeks, participants used the device and documented their use through diary entries. The study concluded with an interview to understand the overall experience as well as the users’ specific likes and dislikes of the technology. Participants completed additional questionnaires to document their technology experience and opinions, exercise motivation, self-efficacy, and locus of control. Overall, 77% of the participants felt that activity and sleep tracking technologies they were assigned were useful or could be useful. Seventy-one percent became more aware of their activity and sleep patterns with 46% stating they actually became more active, slept better, or at more healthily because of the tracker. However, 55% of users found perceived inaccuracy of data to be the largest frustration with the technology and also faced challenges when it came to finding and reading the instructions and wearing the devices. The results of this study focus on several different features of activity and sleep tracking technologies and how they can be improved to help older adults independently monitor their health.