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Journal Description

JMIR Aging (JA, Founding Editor-in-chief: Jing Wang, Professor and Vice Dean for Research, Hugh Roy Cullen Professor, UT Health San Antonio School of Nursing, San Antonio, TX, USA) is an open access journal, focusing on technologies, medical devices, apps, engineering, informatics applications and patient education for medicine and nursing, education, preventative interventions and clinical care / home care for elderly populations. In addition, aging-focused big data analytics using data from electronic health record systems, health insurance databases, federal reimbursement databases (e.g. U.S. Medicare and Medicaid), and other large databases are also welcome. 

This journal is read by clinicians, nurses/allied health professionals, informal caregivers and patients alike and have (as all JMIR journals) a focus on readable and applied science reporting the design and evaluation of health innovations and emerging technologies. We publish original research, viewpoints, and reviews (both literature reviews and medical device/technology/app reviews).

Articles are carefully copyedited and XML-tagged, ready for submission in PubMed Central. The journal is indexed in PMC and PubMed. Upon acceptance, an article processing fee will apply.

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Recent Articles:

  • Source: Pixabay; Copyright: freephotocc; URL: https://pixabay.com/photos/purse-wallet-coffee-pen-1478852/; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    How Caregivers of People With Dementia Search for Dementia-Specific Information on the Internet: Survey Study

    Abstract:

    Background: During the last decade, more research has focused on web-based interventions delivered to support caregivers of people with dementia. However, little information is available in relation to internet use among caregivers in general, especially those caring for people with dementia. Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the dementia-related internet use and factors that may be associated with its use among caregivers of people with dementia in Greece. Methods: Secondary data from the Greek Dementia Survey of the Athens Association of Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders were collected from April to June 2017. A total of 580 caregivers of people with dementia participated in the study. Results: The majority of the caregivers reported that they had used the internet in the previous 3 months (84.1%, 488/580). Nearly half of the caregivers (47.5%, 276/580) reported that they had received dementia services online. Bivariate analysis showed that a dementia-specific search of information was associated with age, education, kinship, and years of care. Age (odds ratio [OR] 2.362, 95% CI 1.05-5.33) and education (OR 2.228, 95% CI 1.01-4.94) were confirmed as predictors, with younger caregivers and those with higher educational attainment being more likely to search for dementia-specific information. Use of the internet to search for dementia information was only related to hours of care. The internet use by caregivers within the previous 3 months was associated with variables such as age, education, occupation, kinship, years of care, and self-reported impact on physical and social health. Conclusions: Caregivers of people with dementia in Greece, as in the other southern European countries, are essential agents of the national health system. The existing short- and long-term respite care services are limited or nonexistent. Currently, caregivers receive mostly support and education from memory clinics and municipality consultation centers, which are mainly based in central cities in Greece. Despite the dementia awareness movement in Greece, there is still space to integrate the role of technology in the support and education of caregivers. Development of training programs for enhancing electronic health literacy skills as well as web-based services provision could support Greek caregivers in their everyday caring tasks.

  • Source: pexels.com; Copyright: mentatdgt; URL: https://www.pexels.com/photo/two-woman-chatting-1311518/; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Perspectives From Municipality Officials on the Adoption, Dissemination, and Implementation of Electronic Health Interventions to Support Caregivers of...

    Abstract:

    Background: Very few evidence-based electronic health (eHealth) interventions for caregivers of people with dementia are implemented into practice. As part of a cross-border collaboration focusing on dementia and depression in older people, two eHealth interventions for caregivers of people with dementia (“Myinlife” and “Partner in Balance”) were adopted by nine municipalities in the Euregion Meuse-Rhine. Objective: This study aimed to (1) identify determinants for the implementation of eHealth interventions for caregivers of people with dementia in a municipality context and (2) formulate implementation strategies for these interventions. Methods: Eight municipality officials were interviewed using open-ended, semistructured interviews about their background, thoughts on the implementation of the intervention, recommended strategies, and thoughts on eHealth in general. One additional municipality discontinued the implementation project and submitted answers to the interview questions via email. The interviews were transcribed and independently analyzed using inductive thematic analysis. Results: The interviews provided information on the perspectives of municipality officials on implementing eHealth for caregivers of people with dementia in their local communities. Key findings from the inductive thematic analysis included the importance of face-to-face interviews in developing tailor-made implementation plans, the need for regular meetings, the enthusiasm of municipality officials to implement these interventions, the need for long-term sustainability planning through collecting data on the required resources and benefits, and the effect of name brand recognition in adoption. Conclusions: The findings contribute toward filling the previously identified gap in the literature on the implementation context of eHealth interventions for caregivers of people with dementia. Municipality officials’ views indicated which implementation determinants they expected would influence the adoption, dissemination, and future implementation of eHealth interventions for caregivers of people with dementia in a municipal context. These insights were applied to tailored implementation strategies to facilitate the future implementation of interventions such as Myinlife and Partner in Balance.

  • Source: freepik; Copyright: freepik; URL: https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/close-up-senior-woman-stretching-touch-toes-while-sitting-yoga-mat_4341279.htm#page=4&query=old+person+yoga&position=4; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Impact of Home Quarantine on Physical Activity Among Older Adults Living at Home During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Qualitative Interview Study

    Abstract:

    Background: Older adults and those with pre-existing medical conditions are at risk of death from severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS CoV-2). In this period of quarantine, one of the reasons for going out is physical activity. This issue is important, as the impact of a sedentary lifestyle might be lower for children and young adults, but is far more severe for older adults. Although older adults need to stay at home because they have a higher risk of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), they need to avoid a sedentary lifestyle. Physical activity is important for older adults, especially to maintain their level of independence, mental health, and well-being. Maintaining mobility in old age is necessary, as it may predict loss of independence in older adults. Objective: Our first objective was to evaluate the impact of this quarantine period on physical activity programs and on the physical and mental health of older adults. Our second objective was to discuss alternatives to physical activity programs that could be suggested for this population to avoid a sedentary lifestyle. Methods: We conducted a qualitative survey using semistructured interviews with professionals (managers in charge of physical activity programs for older adults and sports trainers who run these physical activity programs) from the French Federation of Physical Education and Voluntary Gymnastics (FFPEVG) and older adults participating in a physical activity program of the FFPEVG. We followed a common interview guide. For analysis, we carried out a thematic analysis of the interviews. Results: This study suggests that the COVID-19 epidemic has affected, before quarantine measures, the number of seniors attending group physical activity programs in the two study territories. In addition, despite the decline in their participation in group physical activities before the quarantine, older adults expressed the need to perform physical activity at home. There is a need to help older adults integrate simple and safe ways to stay physically active in a limited space. A national policy to support older adults for physical activity at home appears essential in this context. Conclusions: Given the results of our study, it seems necessary to globally communicate how important it is for older adults to maintain physical activity at home. We are concerned about the level of independence and mental health state of older adults after the end of quarantine if there is no appropriate campaign to promote physical activity among them at home.

  • Source: Flickr; Copyright: Oran Viriyincy; URL: https://www.flickr.com/photos/95482862@N00/6202138783; License: Creative Commons Attribution + ShareAlike (CC-BY-SA).

    Impact of the AGE-ON Tablet Training Program on Social Isolation, Loneliness, and Attitudes Toward Technology in Older Adults: Single-Group Pre-Post Study

    Abstract:

    Background: The internet and technology can help older adults connect with family and friends. However, many older adults face obstacles to internet and technology use, such as lack of knowledge or self-efficacy. Objective: The purpose of this study was to explore the impact of the AGE-ON tablet training program on social isolation, loneliness, and quality of life. Methods: Adults aged >60 years took part in a series of 6 weekly workshops covering the basic features of a tablet. Before and after the program, social isolation, loneliness, social support, and quality of life were assessed. In addition, data on current tablet use and attitudes toward technology use were collected. Satisfaction with the program was also assessed at the end of the study using 6 Likert scale questions. Results: The participants (N=32; mean age 76.3, SD 8.6 years) were predominantly female (n=20, 63%) and retired (n=30, 94%). The participants reported that they were highly satisfied with the program. After completing the program, no differences in social isolation, loneliness, social support, or quality of life were found. Frequency of tablet use increased and the attitudes of the participants toward technology improved. Conclusions: The AGE-ON program resulted in increased tablet use frequency and may improve comfort and attitudes toward tablet use among older adults. This program may assist older adults in overcoming obstacles to internet and technology use to better connect with family and friends; however, further work targeting older adults who are socially isolated or at risk of social isolation is needed to more fully understand whether tablet training programs are beneficial in this population. Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03472729; https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03472729

  • Mobile device usage in social media communication of health information. Source: Image created by the Authors; Copyright: Sara Shu; URL: http://aging.jmir.org/2020/1/e18179/; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    The Roles of YouTube and WhatsApp in Dementia Education for the Older Chinese American Population: Longitudinal Analysis

    Abstract:

    Background: Dementia remains a stigmatized topic in the Chinese community. Objective: This study aims to analyze and compare the usage of dementia educational YouTube videos and the modalities of video sharing over a 6-year period. Methods: Dementia educational videos were uploaded to YouTube. Data was collected over a 6-year period. Results from the first 3 years were compared to those from the second 3 years using descriptive statistics and chi-square analysis. Results: Over 6 years, the dementia educational videos generated a total watch time of 269,388 minutes, 37,690 views, and an average view duration of 7.1 minutes. Comparing the first and second 3-year periods of video performance data, there was a longer watch time (59,262 vs 210,126 minutes), more total views (9387 vs 28,303 views), and a longer average view duration (6.3 vs 7.4 minutes). Furthermore, WhatsApp has become a leading external traffic source and top sharing service, accounting for 43.5% (929/2137) and 67.0% (677/1011), respectively. Conclusions: Over 6 years, YouTube has become an increasingly popular tool to deliver culturally sensitive dementia education to Chinese Americans. WhatsApp continues to be the preferred method of sharing dementia education and has become a top external traffic source to dementia educational videos. Taken together, these social media platforms are promising means of reducing the disparity in dementia knowledge in linguistically and culturally isolated populations.

  • Resident and caregiver using a mobile app to support communication during mealtime. Source: Image created by the authors; Copyright: The Authors; URL: http://aging.jmir.org/2020/1/e17136/; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Mobile Apps to Support Caregiver-Resident Communication in Long-Term Care: Systematic Search and Content Analysis

    Abstract:

    Background: In long-term residential care (LTRC), caregivers’ attempts to provide person-centered care can be challenging when assisting residents living with a communication disorder (eg, aphasia) and/or a language-cultural barrier. Mobile communication technology, which includes smartphones and tablets and their software apps, offers an innovative solution for preventing and overcoming communication breakdowns during activities of daily living. There is a need to better understand the availability, relevance, and stability of commercially available communication apps (cApps) that could support person-centered care in the LTRC setting. Objective: This study aimed to (1) systematically identify and evaluate commercially available cApps that could support person-centered communication (PCC) in LTRC and (2) examine the stability of cApps over 2 years. Methods: We conducted systematic searches of the Canadian App Store (iPhone Operating System platform) in 2015 and 2017 using predefined search terms. cApps that met the study’s inclusion criteria underwent content review and quality assessment. Results: Although the 2015 searches identified 519 unique apps, only 27 cApps were eligible for evaluation. The 2015 review identified 2 augmentative and alternative cApps and 2 translation apps as most appropriate for LTRC. Despite a 205% increase (from 199 to 607) in the number of augmentative and alternative communication and translation apps assessed for eligibility in the 2017 review, the top recommended cApps showed suitability for LTRC and marketplace stability. Conclusions: The recommended existing cApps included some PCC features and demonstrated marketplace longevity. However, cApps that focus on the inclusion of more PCC features may be better suited for use in LTRC, which warrants future development. Furthermore, cApp content and quality would improve by including research evidence and experiential knowledge (eg, nurses and health care aides) to inform app development. cApps offer care staff a tool that could promote social participation and person-centered care.

  • Source: FreeImages; Copyright: Anissa Thompson; URL: https://www.freeimages.com/photo/senior-citizens-travelling-1251340; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    A Smartphone App for Self-Management of Heart Failure in Older African Americans: Feasibility and Usability Study

    Abstract:

    Background: Mobile health (mHealth) apps are dramatically changing how patients and providers manage and monitor chronic health conditions, especially in the area of self-monitoring. African Americans have higher mortality rates from heart failure than other racial groups in the United States. Therefore, self-management of heart failure may improve health outcomes for African American patients. Objective: The aim of the present study was to determine the feasibility of using an mHealth app, and explore the outcomes of quality of life, including self-care maintenance, management, and confidence, among African American patients managing their condition after discharge with a diagnosis of heart failure. Methods: Prior to development of the app, we conducted qualitative interviews with 7 African American patients diagnosed with heart failure, 3 African American patients diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, and 6 health care providers (cardiologists, nurse practitioners, and a geriatrician) who worked with heart failure patients. In addition, we asked 6 hospital chaplains to provide positive spiritual messages for the patients, since spirituality is an important coping method for many African Americans. These formative data were then used for creating a prototype of the app, named Healthy Heart. Specifically, the Healthy Heart app incorporated the following evidence-based features to promote self-management: one-way messages, journaling (ie, weight and symptoms), graphical display of data, and customized feedback (ie, clinical decision support) based on daily or weekly weight. The educational messages about heart failure self-management were derived from the teaching materials provided to the patients diagnosed with heart failure, and included information on diet, sleep, stress, and medication adherence. The information was condensed and simplified to be appropriate for text messages and to meet health literacy standards. Other messages were derived from interviews conducted during the formative stage of app development, including interviews with African American chaplains. Usability testing was conducted over a series of meetings between nurses, social workers, and computer engineers. A pilot one-group pretest-posttest design was employed with participants using the mHealth app for 4 weeks. Descriptive statistics were computed for each of the demographic variables, overall and subscales for Health Related Quality of Life Scale 14 (HQOL14) and subscales for the Self-Care of Heart Failure Index (SCHFI) Version 6 using frequencies for categorical measures and means with standard deviations for continuous measures. Baseline and postintervention comparisons were computed using the Fisher exact test for overall health and paired t tests for HQOL14 and SCHFI questionnaire subscales. Results: A total of 12 African American participants (7 men, 5 women; aged 51-69 years) diagnosed with heart failure were recruited for the study. There was no significant increase in quality of life (P=.15), but clinically relevant changes in self-care maintenance, management, and confidence were observed. Conclusions: An mHealth app to assist with the self-management of heart failure is feasible in patients with low literacy, low health literacy, and limited smartphone experience. Based on the clinically relevant changes observed in this feasibility study of the Healthy Heart app, further research should explore effectiveness in this vulnerable population.

  • TOC. Source: iStock by Getty Images; Copyright: SeventyFour; URL: https://www.istockphoto.com/photo/senior-man-holding-smartphone-in-cafe-gm845900426-138486055; License: Licensed by the authors.

    Actual Use of Multiple Health Monitors Among Older Adults With Diabetes: Pilot Study

    Abstract:

    Background: Previous studies have reported older adults’ perceptions of using health monitors; however, no studies have examined the actual use of multiple health monitors for lifestyle changes over time among older adults with type 2 diabetes (T2D). Objective: The primary aim of this study was to examine the actual use of multiple health monitors for lifestyle changes over 3 months among older adults with T2D. The secondary aim was to explore changes in caloric intake and physical activity (PA) over 3 months. Methods: This was a single-group study lasting 3 months. The study sample included participants who were aged ≥65 years with a diagnosis of T2D. Participants were recruited through fliers posted at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. Participants attended five 60-min, biweekly group sessions, which focused on self-monitoring, goal setting, self-regulation to achieve healthy eating and PA habits, and the development of problem-solving skills. Participants were provided with the Lose It! app to record daily food intake and devices such as a Fitbit Alta for monitoring PA, a Bluetooth-enabled blood glucose meter, and a Bluetooth-enabled digital scale. Descriptive statistics were used for analysis. Results: Of the enrolled participants (N=9), the sample was white (8/9, 89%) and female (4/9, 44%), with a mean age of 76.4 years (SD 6.0; range 69-89 years), 15.7 years (SD 2.0) of education, 33.3 kg/m2 (SD 3.1) BMI, and 7.4% (SD 0.8) hemoglobin A1c. Over the 84 days of self-monitoring, the mean percentage of days using the Lose It!, Fitbit Alta, blood glucose meter, and scale were 82.7 (SD 17.6), 85.2 (SD 19.7), 65.3 (SD 30.1), and 53.0 (SD 34.5), respectively. From baseline to completion of the study, the mean daily calorie intake was 1459 (SD 661) at week 1, 1245 (SD 554) at week 11, and 1333 (SD 546) at week 12, whereas the mean daily step counts were 5618 (SD 3654) at week 1, 5792 (SD 3814) at week 11, and 4552 (SD 3616) at week 12. The mean percentage of weight loss from baseline was 4.92% (SD 0.25). The dose of oral hypoglycemic agents or insulin was reduced in 55.6% (5/9) of the participants. Conclusions: The results from the pilot study are encouraging and suggest the need for a larger study to confirm the outcomes. In addition, a study design that includes a control group with educational sessions but without the integration of technology would offer additional insight to understand the value of mobile health in behavior changes and the health outcomes observed during this pilot study.

  • Source: Pixabay; Copyright: Sabinevenerp; URL: https://pixabay.com/photos/hand-woman-adult-hands-elderly-3667028/; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Descriptive Evaluation and Accuracy of a Mobile App to Assess Fall Risk in Seniors: Retrospective Case-Control Study

    Abstract:

    Background: Fall-risk assessment is complex. Based on current scientific evidence, a multifactorial approach, including the analysis of physical performance, gait parameters, and both extrinsic and intrinsic risk factors, is highly recommended. A smartphone-based app was designed to assess the individual risk of falling with a score that combines multiple fall-risk factors into one comprehensive metric using the previously listed determinants. Objective: This study provides a descriptive evaluation of the designed fall-risk score as well as an analysis of the app’s discriminative ability based on real-world data. Methods: Anonymous data from 242 seniors was analyzed retrospectively. Data was collected between June 2018 and May 2019 using the fall-risk assessment app. First, we provided a descriptive statistical analysis of the underlying dataset. Subsequently, multiple learning models (Logistic Regression, Gaussian Naive Bayes, Gradient Boosting, Support Vector Classification, and Random Forest Regression) were trained on the dataset to obtain optimal decision boundaries. The receiver operating curve with its corresponding area under the curve (AUC) and sensitivity were the primary performance metrics utilized to assess the fall-risk score's ability to discriminate fallers from nonfallers. For the sake of completeness, specificity, precision, and overall accuracy were also provided for each model. Results: Out of 242 participants with a mean age of 84.6 years old (SD 6.7), 139 (57.4%) reported no previous falls (nonfaller), while 103 (42.5%) reported a previous fall (faller). The average fall risk was 29.5 points (SD 12.4). The performance metrics for the Logistic Regression Model were AUC=0.9, sensitivity=100%, specificity=52%, and accuracy=73%. The performance metrics for the Gaussian Naive Bayes Model were AUC=0.9, sensitivity=100%, specificity=52%, and accuracy=73%. The performance metrics for the Gradient Boosting Model were AUC=0.85, sensitivity=88%, specificity=62%, and accuracy=73%. The performance metrics for the Support Vector Classification Model were AUC=0.84, sensitivity=88%, specificity=67%, and accuracy=76%. The performance metrics for the Random Forest Model were AUC=0.84, sensitivity=88%, specificity=57%, and accuracy=70%. Conclusions: Descriptive statistics for the dataset were provided as comparison and reference values. The fall-risk score exhibited a high discriminative ability to distinguish fallers from nonfallers, irrespective of the learning model evaluated. The models had an average AUC of 0.86, an average sensitivity of 93%, and an average specificity of 58%. Average overall accuracy was 73%. Thus, the fall-risk app has the potential to support caretakers in easily conducting a valid fall-risk assessment. The fall-risk score’s prospective accuracy will be further validated in a prospective trial.

  • Source: freepik; Copyright: katemangostar; URL: https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/close-up-business-lady-using-gadget-while-examining-document_3798984.htm#page=3&query=phone&position=4; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    A Dual-Pronged Approach to Improving Heart Failure Outcomes: A Quality Improvement Project

    Abstract:

    : Presently, 6.5 million Americans are living with heart failure (HF). These patients are expected to follow a complex self-management regimen at home. Several demographic and psychosocial factors limit patients with HF in following the prescribed self-management recommendations at home. Poor self-care is associated with increased hospital readmissions. Under the Affordable Care Act, there are financial implications related to hospital readmissions for hospitals and programs such as the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) in Pinellas County, Florida. Previous studies and systematic reviews demonstrated improvement in self-management and quality of life (QoL) in patients with HF with structured telephone support (STS) and SMS text messaging. : This study aimed to evaluate the effects of STS and SMS on self-care, knowledge, medication adherence, and QoL of patients with HF. : A prospective quality improvement project using a pre-post design was implemented. Data were collected at baseline, 30 days, and 3 months from 51 patients with HF who were enrolled in PACE in Pinellas County, Florida. All participants received STS and SMS for 30 days. The feasibility and sustained benefit of using STS and SMS was assessed at a 3-month follow-up. : A paired t test was used to compare the mean difference in HF outcomes at the baseline and 30-day follow-up, which demonstrated improved HF self-care maintenance (t 49=0.66; P=.01), HF knowledge (t 49=0.71; P=.01), medication adherence (t 49=0.92; P=.01), and physical and mental health measured using Short-Form-12 (SF-12; t 49=0.81; P=.01). The results also demonstrated the sustained benefit with improved HF self-care maintenance, self-care management, self-care confidence, knowledge, medication adherence, and physical and mental health (SF-12) at 3 months with P<.05 for all outcomes. Living status and social support had a strong correlation with HF outcomes. Younger participants (aged less than 65 years) performed extremely well compared with older adults. : STS and SMS were feasible to use among PACE participants with sustained benefits at 3 months. Implementing STS and SMS may serve as viable options to improve HF outcomes. Improving outcomes with HF affects hospital systems and the agencies that monitor and provide care for outpatients and those in independent or assisted-living facilities. Investigating viable options and support for implementation will improve outcomes.

  • Patients with slight dementia receiving services in a Chinese nursing home. Source: Image created by the Authors; Copyright: The Authors; URL: http://aging.jmir.org/2020/1/e15290/; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Existing Mobile Phone Apps for Self-Care Management of People With Alzheimer Disease and Related Dementias: Systematic Analysis

    Abstract:

    Background: Alzheimer disease and related dementias (AD/RD) are progressive neurocognitive disorders that currently affect approximately 50 million people worldwide. Mobile phone apps have been well-integrated into daily lives and can be used to deliver and promote health care. There is an increase in the use of technology to provide care and support to AD/RD patients and their families. Objective: This study aimed to review apps designed for AD/RD patients and analyze the benefits of, and challenges to, such technological solutions. Methods: A systematic approach was applied to review the availability, content, features, and quality of mobile phone apps to support self-care among AD/RD patients. Results: The initial search for this review was conducted in January 2019, and the screening and analysis of the included apps were completed in May 2019. A total of 14 apps were included from an initial search of 245 apps. The top 3 features were alert (9/14, 64%), self-care tips (6/14, 42%), and social networking capacity (5/14, 35%). On average, the readability of the apps was a tenth-grade reading level (SD 3.06). The overall quality was 3.71 out of 5 (SD 1.37). Conclusions: Our findings suggest that currently available apps for AD/RD patients may not meet complex needs and may be challenging to use, given the possible impaired communication ability associated with AD/RD. Therefore, high-quality apps need to be developed and rigorously evaluated for feasibility and efficacy.

  • An intelligent assistant interface (montage). Source: The Authors / Unsplash (Jakob Owens); Copyright: The Authors; URL: https://aging.jmir.org/2019/2/e15381; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Exploring Older Adults’ Beliefs About the Use of Intelligent Assistants for Consumer Health Information Management: A Participatory Design Study

    Abstract:

    Background: Intelligent assistants (IAs), also known as intelligent agents, use artificial intelligence to help users achieve a goal or complete a task. IAs represent a potential solution for providing older adults with individualized assistance at home, for example, to reduce social isolation, serve as memory aids, or help with disease management. However, to design IAs for health that are beneficial and accepted by older adults, it is important to understand their beliefs about IAs, how they would like to interact with IAs for consumer health, and how they desire to integrate IAs into their homes. Objective: We explore older adults’ mental models and beliefs about IAs, the tasks they want IAs to support, and how they would like to interact with IAs for consumer health. For the purpose of this study, we focus on IAs in the context of consumer health information management and search. Methods: We present findings from an exploratory, qualitative study that investigated older adults’ perspectives of IAs that aid with consumer health information search and management tasks. Eighteen older adults participated in a multiphase, participatory design workshop in which we engaged them in discussion, brainstorming, and design activities that helped us identify their current challenges managing and finding health information at home. We also explored their beliefs and ideas for an IA to assist them with consumer health tasks. We used participatory design activities to identify areas in which they felt IAs might be useful, but also to uncover the reasoning behind the ideas they presented. Discussions were audio-recorded and later transcribed. We compiled design artifacts collected during the study to supplement researcher transcripts and notes. Thematic analysis was used to analyze data. Results: We found that participants saw IAs as potentially useful for providing recommendations, facilitating collaboration between themselves and other caregivers, and for alerts of serious illness. However, they also desired familiar and natural interactions with IAs (eg, using voice) that could, if need be, provide fluid and unconstrained interactions, reason about their symptoms, and provide information or advice. Other participants discussed the need for flexible IAs that could be used by those with low technical resources or skills. Conclusions: From our findings, we present a discussion of three key components of participants’ mental models, including the people, behaviors, and interactions they described that were important for IAs for consumer health information management and seeking. We then discuss the role of access, transparency, caregivers, and autonomy in design for addressing participants’ concerns about privacy and trust as well as its role in assisting others that may interact with an IA on the older adults’ behalf.

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