E.SAMARI1, Y.QI1, Y.ZHANG1, A.JEYAGURUNATHAN1, M.SUBRAMANIAM1
Institute of Mental Health1
Emergence of new technologies have brought upon a new age of technology-enabled aids that can equip informal caregivers with the relevant resources for better caregiving. These include, but are not limited to, facilitating access to healthcare providers, knowledge on caregiving, and sources of support for caregivers’ well-being. The current study adopts a qualitative method and aims to identify barriers and directions towards the application of mobile technology-enabled solutions in caring for persons with dementia (PWD).
29 informal caregivers of PWD in Singapore were recruited via snowball sampling. Data on barriers and directions towards use of mobile technology in caregiving were collected using semi-structured in-depth interviews. All interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. A combination of inductive and deductive coding and thematic analysis were conducted.
Two major themes and eight subthemes were identified: 1)Barriers towards use of mobile technology – a)Unawareness of present applications, b)Preference for face-to-face interactions, and c)Technical difficulties; 2)Directions for application of mobile technology – a)Provision of list of supporting resources (e.g., helplines, ambulatory/transport, daycare, medical house calls or helper services), b)Teleconsultation, c)Support group and forum with other caregivers, d)General knowledge on dementia and its prognosis and e)Self-care strategies.
Our findings report the underutilization of mobile technology in caregiving. Yet, caregivers showed keen interest towards the use of mobile technology if it is functional and can reduce caregiving burden. Results from this study will allow researchers to integrate these directions towards developing content for mobile-based interventions aimed at lightening caregivers’ burden in their day-to-day caregiving routine.