Older Adults, Health Information, and the World Wide Web

Older Adults, Health Information, and the World Wide Web

Older Adults, Health Information, and the World Wide Web

Older Adults, Health Information, and the World Wide Web

Synopsis

Older Adults, Health Information, and the World Wide Web is devoted to the exploration of how the World Wide Web might be used to deliver current, easily accessible health information to adults over the age of 60 and their caregivers. The book considers how age-related changes in vision, cognitive function, and motor skills affect the delivery and comprehension of health information. The volume is divided into four separate sections. Within these sections, individual chapters: *trace the increasing use of the Web by older adults and offer suggestions on how use can be increased; *discuss federal government initiatives on increasing use of the Web by older adults; *offer guidelines that might be applied to Web site design for older adults; and *describe actual projects in which older adults utilize the Web for various outcomes. Intended for health care providers, health service providers, and older adults and their caregivers, this book is also of interest to researchers in aging, cognition, and human factors.

Excerpt

This book is devoted to the exploration of how the World Wide Web (Web) might be used to deliver current easily accessible health information to adults over the age of 60 and their caregivers. As part of this discussion, it is important to acknowledge a number of issues when examining how older adults might use the Web to access health information. First, the number of older adults is rapidly growing in our society and the need for reliable health information will subsequently increase with their number. Second, the elderly now represent the fastest growing market segment of Web users and computer buyers. the Web could serve as an alternative or a supplementary source to more traditional sources of health information. Third, although some efforts have been made to increase older adults' access to the Web, a number of barriers continue to exist. Among these barriers are website design considerations which might impede the comprehension of information presented online to the elderly. That is, most websites are presently built without taking into consideration age-related declines in perception, vision, motor skills, and cognition. There exists, however, a substantial amount of basic research in this area that could serve as a foundation for the development of guidelines for the design of websites for the elderly. Furthermore, there are a number of efforts (demonstration projects) that have utilized some or all of these guidelines in online projects with older adults. However, these examples or the results of these projects are not readily available to most website designers.

The present volume focuses on each of these issues and is divided into four parts. in Part I, An Overview of Older Adults' Use of the Web: Government and Practical Concerns, Wetle discusses in chapter 1 the change in demographics on our society and the impact of the increasing numbers of older adults on the national health care system. She stresses . . .

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