TechSAge Telewellness Tool: A ‘how to’ guide for facilitating tele-technology delivered wellness classes to older adults
Event Type
Oral Presentations
TimeThursday, April 1512:30pm - 12:50pm EDT
LocationDigital Health
DescriptionParticipation in exercise programs can offer many health benefits to older adults, including decreased risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and falls. Group exercise classes offer the opportunity for social interaction as well and, therefore, hold great potential to support both the physical and mental health of older adults. Group exercise classes can also help promote exercise adherence. Unfortunately, many older adults, and particularly those with mobility disabilities, experience barriers to participation in such classes, including lack of accessibility, and transportation (Rimmer et al., 2004; Rasinaho et al., 2007). Tele-technologies, such as video conferencing (e.g., Zoom), provide an opportunity to facilitate both physical and social activity through remote group wellness classes (Mitzner, Stuck, Hartley, Beer & Rogers, 2017).

Previous research suggests older adults who have long-term mobility disabilities are open to ‘Telewellness’ classes (i.e., video-conferencing delivered wellness classes; Mitzner, Stuck, Hartley, Beer & Rogers, 2017). There are many such classes available through websites and apps, such as Zoom, YouTube, and Peloton (Statista, 2019). However, most of those classes are not designed with older adults in mind, let alone those with mobility disabilities. This is a critical gap given current population estimates and forecasts showing the exponential growth of the aging population.

This lecture will present a ‘how to’ tool for designing useful and usable wellness classes delivered via video-conferencing for older adults with and without disabilities. The tool was developed using user-center design principles. The protocols and guidelines presented within it have been tested for usability and acceptance with older adults with long-term mobility disabilities. Throughout the tool, we present examples from the TechSAge Tele Tai Chi study as a case study to provide helpful insights on developing a Telewellness program. The TechSAge Tele Tai Chi study is a clinical trial translating an in-person evidence-based group tai chi class to a remote, group experience for adults aging with pre-existing, long-term mobility disabilities. Themes within the tool include selecting a software, safety considerations, class organization and logistics, social time, and tech support. The contents of the tool provide insights for research and design regarding telehealth technology, as well as health and wellness interventions.