Internet use and cognitive frailty in older adults: a large-scale multidimensional approach
Tijdschriftbijdrage - Tijdschriftartikel
Although research on sociodemographic correlates of internet use in older adults without and with pronounced cognitive impairment is already quite extensive, much less is known about the relationship between cognitive frailty (CF) and this behaviour. As CF is associated to multidimensional frailty aspects, this study explored the relationship between internet use and CF, operationalised as Subjective Cognitive Impairment, in older adults by means of a comprehensive explanatory model including sociodemographic factors and multiple frailty measures. The dataset included a sample of community-dwelling 60 + older adults that were included in the Belgian Ageing Studies (BAS) and that completed survey questions on (i) internet use frequency and (ii) internet activities. Multidimensional frailty was measured with the CFAI-Plus. The analysis comprised a structural equation modelling (SEM) procedure. Internet use was frequent; however, it became less frequent with higher CF. Moreover, the latter used less tablets as compared to the no-low CF group. Navigating the web, sharing email and online banking were the most frequently reported activities. Tele-communicating with Skype, online shopping and using e-government services were the least frequent. Age, female gender, lower income and living with a partner were also negatively associated with internet use. To conclude, CF, along with other frailty and sociodemographic factors, was negatively related to internet use in older adults. Future research should focus, amongst others, on the dynamic processes underlying internet use in the population of older adults affected by CF.