Future Older Adults and Mobile Applications for Health

Salgamcioglu B. K.



Aging population is a global issue, affecting almost all areas of life. Health is one of the most important issues in this unprecedented demographic change, requiring innovative health management interventions. The growth of mobile phone usage among the elderly combined with demographic trends suggests that mobile health applications can be a promising tool to improve their quality of life. Consequently, mobile applications must be adapted to older adults' preferences and needs. There is an expanding number of health-related mobile interventions for older adults, but most of them have focused on a single disease or condition, whereas the majority of older adults have more than one. These interventions do not have a wide reach and are not being efficiently used. Today, however, almost all mobile phones have pre-installed health applications, which can reach wider audiences without excessive effort. This chapter presents the results of qualitative research that used verbal protocol analysis to observe the use of pre-installed health applications by future older adults in Turkey. The study's results show two gaps between the user and the mobile health applications. The first is between mobile applications and real-life health services and activities. The second is a cultural gap, where these applications use a global, digital, younger language. This cultural gap is even deeper in Turkey, where all written information is translated text. These two gaps prevent users from efficiently using these applications.