Digital Methods for Performing Daily Tasks Among Older Adults: An Initial Report of Frequency of Use and Perceived Utility

Jared F. Benge, Alyssa Aguirre, Michael K. Scullin, Andrew Kiselica, Robin C. Hilsabeck, David Paydarfar, Edison Thomaz, Michael Douglas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: Digital technologies permit new ways of performing instrumental activities of daily living (iADLs) for older adults, but these approaches are not usually considered in existing iADL measures. The current study investigated how a sample of older adults report using digital versus analog approaches for iADLs. Method: 248 older adults completed the Digital and Analog Daily Activities Survey, a newly developed measure of how an individual performs financial, navigation, medication, and other iADLs. Results: The majority of participants reported regularly using digital methods for some iADLs, such as paying bills (67.7%) and using GPS (67.7%). Low digital adopters were older than high adopters (F(2, 245) = 12.24, p <.001), but otherwise the groups did not differ in terms of gender, years of education, or history of neurological disorders. Participants who used digital methods relatively more than analog methods reported greater levels of satisfaction with their approach and fewer daily errors. Conclusions: Many older adults have adopted digital technologies for supporting daily tasks, which suggests limitations to the validity of current iADL assessments. By capitalizing on existing habits and enriching environments with new technologies, there are opportunities to promote technological reserve in older adults in a manner that sustains daily functioning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-154
Number of pages22
JournalExperimental Aging Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2024
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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