Virtual Home Assistant Use and Perceptions of Usefulness by Older Adults and Support Person Dyads

Cynthia F. Corbett, Elizabeth M. Combs, Pamela J. Wright, Otis L. Owens, Isabel Stringfellow, Thien Nguyen, Catherine R. Van Son
2021 International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health  
Aim: Describe virtual home assistant use and usefulness from the perspective of older adults and their support persons. Methods: This was a mixed-methods study with older adults and their support persons (n = 10 dyads). Virtual home assistant (VHA) equipment was installed in participants' homes, and its use was documented for 60 days. Participants received protocol-guided telephone calls to address their VHA questions or problems. The type and frequency of VHA use were summarized with
more » ... e statistics. End-of-study interviews about VHA use were conducted with dyad participants. Qualitative content analyses were used to describe the interview findings about the dyad's perceptions of using the VHA, how it was used, any difficulties experienced, and suggestions for future VHA uses. Results: Participant dyads reported positive VHA perceptions, including the potential for VHAs to promote aging in place. Participants discussed the challenges learning the technology and replacing old habits with new ones. Participants offered recommendations for future VHA skills and for more education and training about using the VHA. Conclusions: The study findings suggest that VHAs may be useful for older adults as they age in place and offer reassurance for support persons.
doi:10.3390/ijerph18031113 pmid:33513798 fatcat:ow2uvwspk5gy3hfqp6s44iavyy