Improved life expectancy combined with suboptimal physical activity (PA)
represents an increasingly salient public health challenge among the elderly. PA in late life is associated with fewer health problems in old age. Assistive information and communication technology might improve PA and alleviate health problems among the elderly.
This pilot study aimed to quantitatively measure the motivational aspects related
to rollator use and, by using qualitative interviews, outline how a Smart Rollator solution would motivate older adults to increase their PA in their everyday lives.
A total of 19 subjects between the ages of 63 and 91 years participated in the study. Half of the participants started in a setting in which the application did not provide feedback to the user, and the other half received feedback. A transition occurred (ordinary rollator to Smart Rollator and vice versa) after two months of usage. Motivational aspects were measured before the use of the rollator and after four months. Semi-structured qualitative interviews
were conducted with 10 participants to acquire information about their experiences.
On the motivation questionnaire, self-perceived mental vitality showed a significant decrease at follow-up, but the total score did not change. Three different types of Smart Rollator users were identified based on the interview data: enthusiastic, practical, and disappointed users. The user types differed from each other, especially regarding user experiences concerning the smart features and intelligent features of the rollator.
We conclude that the individual variations in terms of benefiting from the use
of the Smart Rollator were large and that some users reported clear advantages using the Smart Rollator. The Smart Rollator elicited emotional reactions and affection, as well as frustration if the user was not able to benefit from the Smart Rollator as expected. Larger sample size is warranted to thoroughly specify the relations between the use of a Smart Rollator, user experiences, and PA.
- Rehabilitation, older adults, motivation, Smart Rollator, physical activity