This mixed methods study used a cross-comparative case study design to explore how previous experiences with technology can influence collaboration between older married couples during first-time use of technology, namely an in-vehicle navigation system.
Previous research suggests that, with age, collaboration with a married partner can maintain or, in some cases, even improve performance on cognitive-based, memory retrieval tasks. However, few studies have evaluated how older adults problem solve collaboratively through such tasks. Driving a car has been identified as a context in which older drivers and copilots (that is, spouse) work together to get to the places they need to go safely. With the advent of vehicular technology, including navigation systems, older drivers expect to share the cognitive load with their copilot.
Using the Person-Environment-Occupation Model, this investigation highlights key factors that influence the shared adoption and use of technology in later life. For occupational therapists, the results from this study can guide clinical decision-making when prescribing technology and considering collaborative training strategies that facilitate occupational performance in older adulthood.