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Overcoming technophobia in poorly-educated elderly – the HELPS-seniors service learning program

Chwen-Chi Wang, Jin-Jong Chen

Abstract


Aging populations, increased incidence of chronic disease, technological advances, health-care consumerism, and rapidly escalating health care costs are driving health care into the home. Advances in the miniaturization and portability of diagnostic technologies, information technologies, remote monitoring, and long-distance care have increased the viability of home-based care. The ability of older adults to use e-health tools is a critical issue, because such tools could effectively enhance medical care for this population. However, fear of technology is more prevalent among older generations who did not grow up with computers, complicated acronyms or digital games. This paper introduces the Health Education Learning Program with Science for seniors (HELPS-seniors) program, which encourages subjects to use new self-management tools for technophobic elderly people. We then explain how to integrate HELPS-senior into a health professional service learning program, and how to train students to become empathetic and smart health promoters. The present findings support the development of service-learning projects within medical education to overcome the technophobia among the elderly.

Keywords


elderly, technophobia, service learning, science literacy, medical education

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