A Holistic approach to assess older adults' wellness using e-health technologies

Hilaire J Thompson, George Demiris, Tessa Rue, Evelyn Shatil, Katarzyna Wilamowska, Oleg Zaslavsky, Blaine Reeder
Telemedicine Journal and E-health 2011, 17 (10): 794-800

OBJECTIVES: To date, methodologies are lacking that address a holistic assessment of wellness in older adults. Technology applications may provide a platform for such an assessment, but have not been validated. We set out to demonstrate whether e-health applications could support the assessment of older adults' wellness in community-dwelling older adults.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Twenty-seven residents of independent retirement community were followed over 8 weeks. Subjects engaged in the use of diverse technologies to assess cognitive performance, physiological and functional variables, as well as psychometric components of wellness. Data were integrated from various e-health sources into one study database. Correlations were assessed between different parameters, and hierarchical cluster analysis was used to explore the validity of the wellness model.

RESULTS: We found strong associations across multiple parameters of wellness within the conceptual model, including cognitive, functional, and physical. However, spirituality did not correlate with any other parameter studied in contrast to prior studies of older adults. Participants expressed overall positive attitudes toward the e-health tools and the holistic approach to the assessment of wellness, without expressing any privacy concerns.

CONCLUSIONS: Parameters were highly correlated across multiple domains of wellness. Important clusters were noted to be formed across cognitive and physiological domains, giving further evidence of need for an integrated approach to the assessment of wellness. This finding warrants further replication in larger and more diverse samples of older adults to standardize and deploy these technologies across population groups.


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