Older family carers in rural areas: experiences from using caregiver support services based on Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
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- Blusi, M., Asplund, K. & Jong, M. Eur J Ageing (2013) 10: 191. doi:10.1007/s10433-013-0260-1
The aim of this intervention study was to illuminate the meaning of ICT-based caregiver support as experienced by older family carers living in vast rural areas, caring for a spouse at home. In order to access, the support service participants were provided with a computer and high speed Internet in their homes. Semi structured webcam-interviews were carried out with 31 family carers. A strategy for webcam interviewing was developed to ensure quality and create a comfortable interview situation for the family carers. Interviews were analysed using content analyses, resulting in the themes: Adopting new technology with help from others and Regaining social inclusion. The results indicate that ICT-based support can be valuable for older family carers in rural areas as it contributes to improve quality in daily life in a number of ways. In order to fully experience the benefits, family carers need to be frequent users of the provided support. Adequate training and encouragement from others were essential in motivating family carers to use the support service. Access to Internet and webcamera contributed to reducing loneliness and isolation, strengthening relationships with relatives living far away and enabled access to services no longer available in the area. Use of the ICT-service had a positive influence on the relationship between the older carer and adult grandchildren. It also contributed to carer competence and promote feelings of regaining independence and a societal role.