Feasibility study of an attention training application for older adults

Nikki L. Hill, Jacqueline Mogle, Elise Colancecco, Robert Dick, John Hannan, Feng Vankee Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: Technology-based attention training has demonstrated promise in its potential to improve cognitive functioning in older people. Developing mobile applications, with older users specifically in mind, may support future dissemination of these interventions and integration into daily life. Aims and objectives: The purpose of this pilot study was to test the feasibility of an Attention Training Application (ATA) for community-dwelling older adults using mobile technology. Design: A descriptive, mixed-methods design was used to capture older adults' feedback on the usability and acceptability of the ATA. Methods: A convenience sample of older adults (n = 9) from two independent living facilities participated in a 2-hour training and practice session with the ATA. Participants were given personally tailored instructions for using the mobile device and the ATA specifically. Following a practice session, participants provided ratings on multiple components of the ATA and completed an audio-recorded, semi-structured interview to provide detailed descriptions of their experience and perceptions. An iterative process of content analysis was used to characterise the open-ended responses. Results: Participants rated the ATA favourably overall on several 0-10 scales including likeability [8.5 (1.6)], interest [8.8 (2.3)] and satisfaction [8.2 (1.9)]. The qualitative analyses revealed several issues relevant to the feasibility of the ATA among older people including the importance of the technological background of the user, limiting negative feedback, challenges with the touch screen interface, personal preferences for challenge, extending the practice period and the difficulty of the dual-task condition. Conclusions: The use of the ATA is feasible in the older adult population. Future development should specifically consider personal characteristics as well as preferences to maximise usability and acceptability among older people. Implications for practice: Older adults enjoyed the ATA. This opens doors to user-friendly technological interventions that may be effective in assisting older adults maintain and possibly even improve their cognitive function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-249
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Older People Nursing
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gerontology


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