This work was supported by a grant from Shalem Fund
Research has indicated a significant association between using digital communication technologies and a reduced sense of loneliness among elders from the general population.
However, this issue has received scant attention among older adults with an intellectual disability (ID). The preset study addressed this gap by examining the adoption process of accessible digital communication technology to maintain contact between older adults with ID residing in supported accommodation and their families. The sample included sixteen dyads of a resident with ID and a family member and eight staff members from different residential settings. The residents used a tablet for making video calls with their families. Qualitative and quantitative data were collected and analyzed. The use of digital communication technology contributed to the relationship between residents, especially those with a high level of functioning, with their families. However, nvironmental factors, such as the person’s ability, training, and support for the resident, family, and staff, should be considered in such interventions. From a theoretical perspective, the study findings contribute to understanding the unique factors that are significant for technology adoption among older adults with ID. From a practical perspective, residential settings that choose to use such technologies should include them in routine leisure activities, while taking into consideration the residents’ level of functioning and the availability of the staff to provide ongoing support.
Keywords: Intellectual and developmental disability, old age, aging, older adult, out-of-home residence, supported accommodation, communication technology, social media