A Mixed-Method of a Computer Skills Course and its Impact on the Quality of Life for Senior Citizens in a Rural Community

Published: 2021-07-06 06:35:26
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Chapter 2: Literature ReviewThe purpose of this research project is to examine the outcomes of a computer program to increase technology skills, and access for senior citizens in a rural area to improve the quality of life. Information communication technology (ICT) connects people, generates more trade in goods and services across the globe, and increases access to information and knowledge (Odton & Weerachart, 2014). With the increase of longevity for senior citizens well past their retiring years, there are many fruitful years for senior citizens to participate in life-learning activities such as the utilization of the computer, Internet, and socialization via social media (Hongthong, Somrongthong, and Ward (2015). There is no question that the Internet is a huge boom to the economy and society, but maximizing its potential is only possible if all individuals are online (Newcombe, 2016). If all individuals are to be involved in cyberspace, there is a need to include senior citizens who are in their sixties and over. Consequently, older people in rural communities increasingly rely on the Internet to access essential health, finance, education, and another social service Hodge, Carson, and Newman (2016).Within the perimeters of this research, three research questions were created and will be addressed through this research. The devised questions that will be addressed are: how does the reported quality of life (QoL) change as a result of participation in a program targeted towards improving Internet access and skills? How do the reported technology skills and use of rural senior citizens change as a result of participation in a program targeted towards improving Internet access and skills? How do rural senior citizens perceive their experiences learning Internet skills as a result of participation in a program targeted towards improving Internet access and skills, and what recommendations do they convey for improving the program. Without successful programs targeting access and the development of skills in rural communities and an understanding of their outcomes, the potential for technology to serve the needs of this population will remain unrealized (Skerratt et al., 2012; Townsend et al., 2013).In America, access to computer usage for active seniors ages sixty and over is limited (Pew Institute, 2013). However, according to Niehaves and Plattfaut (2014), Information technology (IT) allows members of the growing elderly population to remain independent longer which means there is less dependence on family members or healthcare facilities. Seniors are more likely to seek information from health portals for themselves, and to communicate with others via the Internet and social media (U.S. Census Bureau, 2011). Seniors can access information concerning finance and other pertinent information if society can provide adequate access to computers and broadband connectivity (Palsdottir, 2016).DocumentationArticles presented in this review were published in the past five years; however, some older articles or sources provided necessary foundational or historical information. NorthCentral online library resources utilized include EBSCO HOST, ProQuest, Road Runner Search, Google Scholar, and Sage online journals. The initial research provided a plethora of peer-reviewed articles, dissertations, and books. However, much of the empirical research was bibliographically referenced or embedded in scholarly researched articles written by writers who had done extensive research in the area of Senior Citizens and Technology Usage in Rural Areas. The following keywords and phrases aided with researching the various documented sources: quality of life (QoL), technology and senior citizens usage, rural deficits, socialization of seniors, and Internet access for senior citizens. Within this review is information from multiple writers that cited information from the conceptual theory of the quality of life (QoL).Researchers use literature reviews as an organized, topic motivated understanding of existing literature conducted by practitioners and scholars (Lambert & Lambert, 2013).Figure 1: Rural TechnologyRural Access to Technology: Demographic DeficitTechnological, demographic deficits in many rural communities in the United States is of epic importance, and the necessity for addressing this issue and how it affects the daily lives of elderly rural residents is paramount Salemink, Strijker, and Bosworth (2015). The need to address this issue is important because by maintaining a robust quality of life for senior citizens living in rural communities- life-long learning and longevity can be extended (McMurtrey, 2015). This is a position that researchers such as (Gonzalez, Ramirez, and Vidal, 2015), (Saldana, 2015, (West, 2015); Lenhart,2009, Purcell, Smith, & Zickuhr, 2010) agree with their studies.There are some reasons why rural areas are lacking in technology, such as changing age population, the decline in employment in agriculture, diminished population, and chronic out-migration of young adults (Carr & Kefalis, 2009). In rural communities, the young adults tend to seek urban areas for educational and economic reasons.However, participation in technology by senior citizens in these rural areas can enhance communication and afford optimal opportunities for seniors to personally engage online via the Internet to access essential health, finance, education, and social services information (Malecki, 2003; Strover, 2003; Velaga et al., 2012). However, due to the lack of infrastructure and the availability of technology the implications for changing the modality for access for seniors in rural areas is slim (Newcombe, 2016). To many, the more elderly population should spend their newfound free time in their gardens, making improvements to their homes, watching television, reading, thinking, eating, shopping, volunteering, sleeping, and corresponding with others. Senior citizens are often viewed as being unfamiliar with or unable to use new technologies (Brandon, 2015). However, according to a recent survey, 3,015 seniors feel very positive about technology (Pew Institute, 2013). This survey also delineated that these seniors were also interested in smartphones, the Internet, tablets, and social media. Approximately one-third of senior citizens want to spend time using the Internet; however, many seniors are reluctant to use the Internet because they have not had the exposure (Zheng, Spears, Luptak, & Wilby 2015).The senior citizens of the rural areas of the United States are interested to know about technology, but still, they are unable to get exposure or the access to technology due to several demographic deficits. The reality behind this is that not only in the United States but also all over the world, people prefer to live in urban areas rather than the rural areas. Due to the huge population in urban areas, a small investment in urban areas can be proven as highly beneficial for the companies. That is why the companies which are involved in the technical guidance and technology implementation invest their money in urban areas. Also, the companies are well aware that if they invest in urban areas then due to the huge population, they will be able to have high revenue or great profit. This economic advantage to the companies makes them reluctant to take a step towards technology advancement in rural areas (Webb, 2013).The information technology companies also face great challenges while starting or establishing their systems in the rural areas. Firstly, they know that the population in the urban areas is less and that is why they cannot have much profit as compared to the urban areas. Secondly, they face great infrastructure challenges in rural areas, and that is why they have to spend a lot of money for establishing the system, wires, and many other things. Thirdly, the companies can also face social challenges because most of the people in the rural areas are either not aware of the benefits of the technology or are not interested to know about technology. That is why some people consider that technology is the main reason of cultural destruction in the society and so they don’t let technology come in the rural areas (Webb, 2013).Now the technology has become an essential tool for success and no part of the world, either urban or rural, can have development or advancement without the use of technology. In fact, nowadays technology has become so common to the people, in the form of mobile and computers and so the use of technology is not that much difficult as it was a few decades ago. The technology also plays an essential role in improving the sustainability of any State or country because it helps the people to groom in a better way. Moreover, the technology has also connected the people all over the world and now when the technology is developed in any city or area of the country then that area become interconnected to not only the country but also to the whole world. However, the major issue that arises during the development of technology in the rural areas is the establishment of broadcast arrangements in the rural areas (Whitacre, 2016).Broadcast development is an initiative towards the exposure to the technologies because without broadcast the technology is difficult to use. It is same as the one has mobile without signals. No doubt that the mobile, iPods, and Computers helps the people to understand about technology, however, these technologies require signals to work. Without signals mobile is useless, and people cannot communicate with each other. Similarly, without broadcast signals, people are unable to use the Internet, and so they are unable to connect to the rest global. This means that the broadcast development is essential, but still, the development of broadcast system faces great challenges in the rural areas (Webb, 2013).The main reason for the difficulty in the broadcast installment in rural areas is that the companies do not prefer to take economic risks and so they prefer to install new technologies in the high population areas where they can have a great profit margin. It is obvious that when there are more customers, then it will be easier for the companies to get back their installation costs. Although there are millions of people living in the rural areas still there is a huge difference in the economic conditions of the family. Moreover, according to a rough estimate, around 2000 people live per square mile in the urban areas whereas in rural areas the population is 100 people per square mile.This means information technology is of great importance. With the passage of time many advancements have been done in the information technology, and so the advanced information technology provides great facilities to the users of the technology. However, in rural areas, the companies do not invest must of their money or do not implement any advancement because of the expenditure and fewer customers. For Example, when the telecommunication companies switch the data traffic from the copper line to the fiber-optics to increase the data transfer rate and to provide high technology facilities to the customers then they prefer to implement this change only in urban areas. The reason is that the companies have to face a great expenditure while changing copper line into fiber-optics and so laying new lines for the internet can be proven is less beneficial for them in rural areas. Another problem, which can be faced for the advancement in information technology signals is that the companies are established in the urban areas and to send the signals to the long distant locations, they require signal amplifier which may be proven as an expensive item for the companies. That is why the companies prefer to avoid the installment of the technology in rural areas (Webb, 2013).Lack of Financial ResourcesBroadband is a necessity, not a choice in municipalities like Iowa City, Iowa which has 86% of its population connected and is considered 5th in the nation for broadband connectivity to households and its constituents reap more economical and educational benefits. However, Iowa City is a contrast to small rural cities such as Malone, Florida or Gretna, Florida wherein the local governments cannot finance broadband connectivity, nor do they have the infrastructure to provide technology resources for its citizens (Newcombe, 2016). Findings from Weerachart & Odton (2014),Suggest that household composition, education, wealth, and occupation are key factors in determining information and communication technology. Like this, rural communities are the least funded, least dependent on high taxes from community resources because of the dwindling population and thereby remained undiscussed and remain in the digital divide (Holt and Galligan, 2013).Not only the communication issues but also the people of rural areas are facing great financial challenges in all fields of life. Technology is not only used for the communication, but also it has been used for education, healthcare, architecture, and many other fields. When concerning the education then due to lack of commercial facilities the students are unable to have exposure to the technology or the advanced technology (Drake, 2012).Most of the people of the rural areas belong to the low-income households who are hardly affording the expenditures of their children’s education. In fact, a large part of the rural population is still unable to get an education. In such circumstances, the children or the students can never think of having laptops, internet access, and iPods for getting more knowledge. These students are still confined to use the already available resources in their school or college’s libraries, in the form of books and notes. The students of the rural areas have not many resources due to which they cannot have technology devices, and so they don’t know how to use these devices. However, nowadays mobile has become a common technology device which is being used approx all over the world, but still, the people of the rural areas are unable to understand the advanced techniques of the mobile phones or the smartphones.This shows that the financial conditions are also a hurdle in the way of educating people. Also, the people do not invest their money in schools and colleges in rural areas where the students can get the better education. The available schools are constructed on a simple design basis, and these schools do not provide many resources or knowledge about the technology. However, the focus of this study is the more elderly population, and the research questions are; how does the reported quality of life (QoL) change as a result of participation in a program targeted towards improving Internet access and skills? How do the reported technology skills and use of rural senior citizens change as a result of participation in a program targeted towards improving Internet access and skills? How do rural senior citizens perceive their experiences learning Internet skills as a result of participation in a program targeted towards improving Internet access and skills, and what recommendations do they convey for improving the program? This means that the study must analyze the use of technology in the senior citizens.Here, the discussion of educational institutions is important because educational institutions are the places which are not only providing education to the children and adults but also to the whole population. Different educational institutions have been developed in urban and rural areas where the people, especially senior citizens are guided to use technology. In such institutions, the people are guided so well to use advance mobiles and computers. They are guided to use the internet, MS office, and other technology devices. Just because senior citizens are unaware of the technology and everything is quite new for them that is why they are encouraged to go to the institutions to learn about technology and to have exposure to the advancement. However in rural areas, again the finance becomes the hurdle and then makes the people unable to learn new things about technology.It is for sure the matter that the people in the rural areas have not enough resources to develop new technology institutions in the rural areas. They don’t have enough money to buy computers and to have skilled staff. Most of the people from the rural areas have not much knowledge about the technology, and the people from urban areas do not agree to work in rural areas due to lack of facilities and fewer wages. That is why even if the technology institution is developed then the skilled staff or professional teachers are not available due to which the people cannot know technology. In fact, in some rural areas, the development of such technology institution is impossible because either there are no financial resources or there is no Internet. For example in the Southwestern Virginia, there is no internet access due to which the people have no idea what internet is? In Southwestern Virginia, the people have to get internet access by installing Dish TV, Direct TV, or having access to any satellite which is an expensive choice. However, this is not only the case in Virginia but also in other rural areas too. The people have to choose the expensive ways to get access to the internet which is impossible for the low-income families. Especially, the senior citizens are not that much rich because of their health issues. They either rely on their sons or the government to have monthly expenses and in this case how can they have access to Dish TV or Satellite. Finally, they enjoy other activities of life rather than using technology (Drake, 2012).ConnectivityThe world of technology has opened up great advances for societies across the globe, however, senior citizens are unable to fully enjoy what is offered as an opportunity in many urban cities for their senior citizens as opposed to senior citizens in rural areas (Lenhart, 2009; Lenhart, P., Smith, & Zickuhr, 2010). For example, an estimated 15 million Americans, primarily in rural communities, don’t even have access to entry-level broadband in their homes. Forty-one percent of American’s rural schools couldn’t get a high-speed connection if they tried (Wheeler, 2014). If the rural schools are lacking access to broadband, the community centers, and local libraries are a financial “deficit.” The lack of connectivity to emerging technologies in rural areas has caused a “digital divide” Juncos, Pereiro, and Facal (2006). It is not only the emerging technologies that are needed, but it is also interrelated with the social issues that rural communities face as a consequence of not being able to communicate with others.There are communication issues such as the Internet, and the associated broadband connectivity issues (Hongthong, Somrongthong, and Ward, 2015). Socially, staying in touch with friends and relatives is important to the seniors’ way of life and their quality of life because it enhances care and stability. Rural government entities must establish stronger broadband accessibility from providing a range of essential, desirable resources to remaining vital in seeking other financial revenues (Townsend and Sathiaseelan, 2013). To participate in a digitalizing information communication technological society, there must be data infrastructures such as DSL, cable, (coax) fiber optics, or mobile broadband available (Skerratt et al., 2012; Townsend et al., 2013). If the technological infrastructures are in place, the connectivity issue can be resolved and delineate the digital divide.Internet-ready televisions, Internet-enabled platforms from smartphones, gaming devices, mobile tablets, and other technical support systems are novel ways to increase the benefit of connecting senior citizens to the delivery of vital information (Ofcom, 2011, 2012). Being connected to others and exchanging information reflects the constructive side to technology in aiding and improving the senior citizens’ quality of life.However, with the passing time, more people are getting knowledge about the technology and the internet, and so the senior citizens of the rural areas are also becoming aware of the use of the internet. Now the senior citizens are found to have their accounts on social media websites via which they interact with each other and vanish their isolation with the society. Now with the use of Skype and other online calling messengers, the senior citizens and other people can connect with the relatives and so they can know that what are others doing and what is going on in the country. With the use of the Internet, the people can remain aware of the political conditions of the country at any time by just browsing the latest updates about the America’s politics. Moreover, now the facilities are on the increase and the healthcare staff has also made it easier for the senior citizens to remain in touch with the healthcare staffs with either internet or via other healthcare digital devices (RUNYON, 2017).Now the healthcare department has introduced different digital devices which help the patients to take care of their health. For example with the progress of information technology now it is possible for the patients to control their diabetes by using the technology. Different mobile apps or alarming digital systems have been introduced which help the patients to manage their diet schedule and to set the reminders for their medicine time, meal time, and check-up time. With the help of technology the patients can now measure the use of calories per day, can manage their exercise schedule per day, and can keep records of their medication intake of every day. The technology will alert the patient at the timing of meal, and medication and then the patient will never forget the intake of the timely meal or medication. The technology can also be used by the healthcare staff to guide the risk factors for the disease to the patients as well as to the healthy people (Mulrow & Pugh, 1995).The technology is used by the healthcare staff and the patients for several reasons. Different health care centers now provide their online services with the help of which the patients can remain in contact with their healthcare physicians. In case of any issue with the patient, the patient can inform the healthcare staff about the problem and then either the healthcare staff can guide them or can send the home nurse to the home. This service is especially for the senior citizens who cannot visit the healthcare centers on a daily basis due to their disease or any other issue. This service is also for the patients of the rural areas because it is difficult for the senior citizens to visit the healthcare centers which are far away from the rural areas. In this way, the citizens of the rural areas can also enjoy the better healthcare services.However, still in some rural areas, there is lack of internet connectivity due to which the patients face great difficulty in using this service. For this purpose, the healthcare staff has managed the apps and devices which do not require internet for their usage. However, the healthcare staff aware the senior citizens about the use of that device because most of the senior citizens of rural areas have no idea about how to use the device. For this purpose, the healthcare staff can design a chart or alert diagram, which can be helpful to educate the people about the usage of the devices (Mulrow & Pugh, 1995). Health education means the patient’s capability to read out and comprehends curative instructions make proper choices for best health results (Ramage-Morin, 2009; Zarcadoolas & Pleasant, 2005).Quality of Life/Social Isolation & IntegrationSocial isolation is a complex concept which cannot be defined by a clear and specific definition. Some scholars find it as a normal term. However, other scholars see directly equivalent to the loneliness which kills the human abilities. Different definitions of the social isolation have been found in the different literature. According to few kinds of literature social isolation is an absence of the contact with other people. Other literatures define it as a dual dimensional concept; absence of social contact with others and the lost social support which result due to limited interaction with the people (Cornwell & Waite, 2014). No matter which definition is selected by the reader or by any person but the reality is that social interaction is must for people of all ages and this interaction become essential for the elderly population. The senior citizens are more than 60 in their ages, and that is why they face several physical and mental changes and also suffer from different diseases due to which their social interaction reduces. The more elderly population then stop their interaction with their families, friends, and community networks which may result in social isolation. However, the social isolation is not the solution to any problem rather it becomes another problem for the elderly population.As discussed in the plethora of recent research, the aging of the population is one of the major challenges most societies will have to face over the cost of the next twenty years Peacock and Kunemund, (2007). America’s older adult population is increasing at a dramatic rate due to better healthcare, technology, and improved living conditions which afford these senior citizens with more time and energy to participate in technology (West, 2015). This assertion is further emphasized via Merrian and Kee’s study (2014) which emphasized that after the professional work life for senior citizens, there are many years that active participation can be made via technology and thereby increase longevity and eliminate isolation. Additionally, further research delineated that it seemed clear that there is much to be gained by individuals, groups, and communities through the promotion of lifelong learning, Niehaves, and Plattfaut (2014). Senior citizens can be become most productive in later life by participating in virtual online learning activities by enrolling in a Red Cross (i.e.) online health screening information tour, online travel offerings, online learning projects, or an online classical music entertainment site which enhances independence, increases participation, stimulates care-related issues, provides self-fulfillment and dignity Merrian and Kee (2014).The accumulation of empirical research on technology and the aging and the quality of life has substantiated that the potential for increasing levels of empowerment will be promoted through the acquisition of new skills for seniors Opalinski (2001). In examining the possible mental health benefits that occur with Internet usage for senior citizens, McContha and colleagues (1955) found that, after six months online, the seniors using the computers had significantly higher scores on the Activities of Daily Living scale, the Geriatric Depression scale, and the Mini-Mental State exam did the control subjects (McContha et al.,1995). Substantial research also delineates that using the Internet to interact with others may help reduce loneliness and the rate of suicide (Philbeck, 1997). The social integration and usage of technology allow seniors the opportunity to explore interests and hobbies or obtain consumer information and access to community resources (Saunders, 2017).The social interaction is necessary for the senior citizens to keep their mind active and healthy. According to the estimate, it is found that the population of the senior citizens of the world will reach 22% in 2050 (World Population Ageing, 2007). That is why the social isolation in the senior citizens of the United States or fact all over the world has become a serious concern because it may be a real threat to the physical and mental health of the people, especially to the elderly population. It may also lead to depression, self-harming, or self-neglecting behavior in the elderly population of the United States. Social isolation is the main reason due to which the people become the victim of drug abuse, suicide, and alcoholism. When the people do not get social environment or do not involve in social activities, then this causes the higher level of cognitive or physical disabilities which result in mortality (Saito, Fujiwara, & Fukaya, 2010).Different kinds of literature have used different methodologies to evaluate the social isolation interventions. Dicken et al. presented various designs to examine the interventions for social isolation in the elderly population of the United States and the study also included the social isolation issue of the elderly population of the rural areas of United States. According to their research, the only way to solve the isolation issues in the elderly population of the rural areas is to guide them to use the technology for having better social interactions (Dickens & Richards, 2011; Cattan, White, & Bond, 2014). In the rural areas, there are not many places to visit. Also, the elderly population is not that much physical fit to travel or to go for outing due to which they have no other option but to stay at home. The people of the society are busy enough in their routine tasks, and so they don’t get much time to spend with the older population. That is why the only way left for the elderly population is to use the Information and Communication Technology to kill their loneliness or social isolation (NR., 2009).With the help of the use of information and communication technology, the more elderly population of the rural areas can use social networking websites or can browse other websites of their interest. In this way, these people become able to interact with the people and then they can make friends on the internet. Also, few live messengers allow the more elderly population to make video chat with their friends. In this way, the elderly population does not remain a burden on anyone and spends their life according to their style. On the internet, no one bothers anyone rather the people come online when they are free, and they make video calls or chat with another person according to their wish. In this way, the elderly population does not consider themselves a burden on them. In fact, with the help of the internet, two different old people from two different regions can interact with each other and can have a chat according to their interest (Chen, 2016).When the literature is reviewed, then four studies are found to be addressing the relationship between the information and communication technology usage and the social isolation among the elderly population. These studies demonstrated a positive result of the usage of ICT on the social intervention. Cattan et al. used the befriending programs by using the ICT for the elderly population of the United States, and he proved that by using this program the people could have better social circle due to which they feel more energetic and fresh (Cattan, Kime, & Bagnall, 2011).Cotton et al. and Khvorostianov et al. used the computer and Internet in their studies. They showed in their results that most of the elderly population use internet for increasing their social circle. This can be done by using social networking websites, like Facebook or more. When the elderly population begins to use Internet either for entertainment or for making a social circle on the websites, then they feel so fresh and active. They share their routine and enjoy new videos of their interest. They make friends and can also consult with the online doctors where they can discuss their diseases and the better treatment for that. In this way, they remain busy and active and thus in this way their social isolation is killed by using ICT (Khvorostianov, Elias, & Nimrod, 2011; Cotten, 2013). Karimi et al. used ICT in general in their studies and proved that the technology is human’s friend and when it is used in any positive way then it leaves a very positive impact on the lives. Similarly when the older population of the rural areas use information technology either for communication with the family or for making other friends, then it builds a very good social circle. Thus it gives a very positive result in the social intervention (Karimi & Neustaedter, 2012).Social NetworkingFacebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. are becoming increasingly important for people everywhere, and for people in different age groups. Active seniors citizens who are Internet users, and who participate in this social media thoroughly enjoy it (Vosner, Bobek, Kokol, and Krecic,2016). Collected data from WEKA (Waikato Environment for Knowledge Analysis) revealed that older senior female participated more in social media as compared to their male counterparts (Vosner et al.,2016). Further study could examine why males are less attentive to social media which could be a separate study in itself.Furthermore, the social environment of senior citizens is underrepresented in technology research because much of the documented studies by researchers emphasize cognitive, cognitive, physical and sensory aspects of the elderly and gerontology (Silveira,2013). Healthy aging is characterized by the avoidance of disease and disability, the maintenance of high physical and cognitive function, and sustained engagement in social and productive activities (de Bruin, 2012). Subsequently, studies that support technology activities of senior citizens emphasized how technology and participation in social contact supported a vibrant relationship of the seniors thereby reducing social loneliness (Bran, 2013). Additional support of this research of the benefits of social networking, social inclusion, and social connectivity acknowledged that if senior citizens there were a greater individual sense of self-efficacy (Igbaria and Livari, 1995). Additionally, research has focused on capturing and quantifying behaviors and phenomena throughout the life-span of senior citizens (Weil, & Rosen, 1995). For, in this particular research, seniors were asked their perception of participating in technology, and one response was: “If you, if you can’t use a computer these days, it’s like being, not being able to sort of reading or write 50 years ago. I think one has to be computer literate” 2606, Focus Group ( ). Since technology has permeated activities of everyday life, researchers suggested that social media can bring together the determinants that affect the quality of life during the aging process (Rowe and Khan, 1997).Rainie et al. examined the use of the Internet by the elderly population of the rural areas in the United States. The study suggested that the use of internet in the rural areas is less as compared to the urban areas. However, it was already found in the literature that the urban users of the internet are more as compared to the rural users. However, Rainie’s study was different in a way that they discussed the difference of the low-income households and the well-income households in the rural areas. According to the study the users of the Internet in the rural areas are less but as the majority of population of the rural areas belongs to low-income households that is why they use internet very less as compared to the ones who belong to the well-income households in the rural areas (RAINIE, REDDY, & BELL, 2017).However, this situation only exists in the case of the younger population. When the study focused on the elderly population of the rural areas and then compared the use of the Internet by the elderly population of the rural areas, then the results were out of expectation. Senior citizens of the rural areas use more Internet and the social networking websites as compared to the more elderly population of the urban areas. The statistical results showed that only 14% of the elderly population of the urban areas use the Internet and social networking websites and spend much of their time with their friends and family. On the other hand, the 22% of the elderly population of the rural areas is found to be using the Internet and the social networking websites. This is because in rural areas there are fewer places for outing and the population is less due to which the elderly population does not get enough social intervention chances. That is why they prefer to use the Internet, and then they make a friend by using social networking websites.The studies have also shown that household income is also one of the major issues due to which elderly population is unable to use the internet. According to the records approx 47% of the rural population belong to the low-income households and this percentage is more as compared to the urban or the suburban areas of the United States. It becomes obvious that when the people don’t have enough resources to earn, then they won’t have enough resources on which they can spend. When the household income is less than elderly population becomes unable to afford the expenses of the internet and the information and communication technology. To use the technology is not an easy task because for that you need to either buy mobile or laptop and that is why they have to spend a huge amount to buy the ICT device. Only the computer or mobile cannot help the user but also he needs the Internet access which is also an expensive step. The users need to spend a huge amount of money for the Internet access on a monthly basis. Many people in the rural areas belong to very low-household income, and so they cannot afford such expenses that is why they remain unable to have access to social networking website. Such population prefers to have gathered with neighbors or spend their time by gardening or by reading books.In the rural areas, even, some users belong to well-income households, but the issue is that they don’t have exposure to the technology or the internet usage and that is why they are reluctant to use the internet. In the urban areas the elderly population can easily have exposure to the technology, and if they don’t have an idea about it, then they can join the learning institutions in the cities. However, in rural areas, there is very less such institution where any person can go and get knowledge about the technology. In the rural areas, the people also feel shy in learning new things and are less motivated due to which they leave such chances. However, there should be technology institutions for the elderly population or mid-aged population where the people can come and learn new things about technology. They even can learn about computer language, Microsoft Office, Painting, Adobe Photoshop, or another technology advancement in the institutions.However, the institutions should understand that these people are not learning technology to get degree or jobs and so the schedule should be very flexible and friendly. Elderly population takes more time to learn new things and so the environment should be very flexible. Also, the elderly population of the rural areas uses social networking websites and so some online programs can also be introduced on social networking websites or other websites where these people can take online classes and can learn new things about technology.With the awareness and the trend of using the social network and other technology facilities, now the users of the Internet are on the increase. In the rural areas as the elderly population is getting knowledge about the technology used to the users of the Internet are increasing from 3% to the 19%. However, due to more facilities in the urban areas, the users grew from 8% to 36% (RAINIE, REDDY, & BELL, 2017).Misconceptions or MythsThe literature review has been discussing the hurdle in the usage of technology by the elderly population of rural areas. These hurdles may be in the form or either financial issues, resources, or demographical situation. However, a very important concept needs to be discussed, and that is the myths and the misconceptions among the people who don’t want to accept the technology in their society. Still, in the United States, there is a huge population which does not believe in the technology and advancement, and they are happy with their old traditions and old methods of living life. However, the majority of this misguided population is of the elderly population of the rural areas.There have been many people who belong to the rural areas and still believing their old traditions. Especially the elderly population of the rural areas believes in continuing their living style according to their ancestors. They believe that technology can no mean be friendly to the human beings rather it has caused the destruction of the cultures and the traditions. The people believe that it is the technology which has made the concepts of people different and now everyone wants to follow the Western traditions without knowing anything about their religions and beliefs.Moreover, these myths and the misconceptions have become threatening for the elderly population of the rural areas. Now the people who belong to such old traditional places believe that with the help of technology the people may trace them. Some people are of the view that computer can no mean be helpful for the human being rather it works like a camera and the enemies, or the other authorities can have a view of their houses and lives with the help of a computer. They are afraid of technology. They think that due to the social network, mobiles, and computers the sins are on the increase and this can only be reduced by following the traditions.In actual, such elderly population is unaware of the benefits of the technology, and they have no exposure to it. They don’t know that how beneficial can be the information technology for the people and so there is high demand for the development of the technical institutions which may make aware these people about the technology, its advancements, and its benefits. Again, another issue arises that in the rural areas there are no resources and so it is difficult to develop such institutions. As people of such rural areas are not aware of the use of technology so they don’t let anyone start any institutions in such areas because they think that this may affect their generations. Also, there are no professional teachers available in rural areas. There are many teachers who claim to be professional teachers of technology, but in actual they don’t know much about it. Now the strong steps are required to guide the people with misconceptions about the technology. These people should get awareness that the technology can no mean be harmful to the human being rather it provides great opportunities to the people and make them able to live their life with great comfort and in an advanced manner.Impact of Technology on the Quality of LifeTechnology has changed the lives and no doubt that after using the technology the people can become aware of the new and advanced things which also change their lifestyle. This means that technology plays an essential role to enhance the quality of life (Brockett, 2014). However, the quality of life is not changed only when the younger or the adults use the internet or the technology but also it impacts the lives of the elderly population. In the United States, many elderly populations of the rural areas have adopted the ways to use the technology, and now they are using the Internet or the other technology devices in different ways according to their requirements and for entertainment.However, the question arises that how the technology may change the quality of life in the elderly population? This question is being answered by many published literature. According to the researchers, the technology helps the people to understand the requirements of the recent era. With the usage of Internet and the technology, the older adults understand new things and new concepts. They understand the advancements in the education, in architecture, in designing, and in many more things. No doubt that elderly population is the bit reluctant to change their views about anything. However, when they use the internet then they interact with different kind of people, and they browse different things. With the help of this research and the interaction, they understand the new concepts and gradually accept them (Schalock, 2014).Nowadays different apps and the websites are available via which the people can learn new things. In fact, on the social networking websites, different groups and pages have been established which guide different things to the people, such as cooking, advanced way of gardening, decoration, languages, and many another thing. Now the apps and the social networking websites also guide the people different tips to remain fit, and that is why many elderly populations have adopted a healthy lifestyle after knowing the importance of health. Now the people have started to walk on a daily basis, and some of them do exercise on a daily basis (Whitacre, 2016).In the previous eras, the people had no idea that what may be the causes of different diseases and also they had no idea about the nutritional diets. Now with the use of the internet, the elderly population has started a great change in their lifestyles as well as in their diet. The people now prefer to have a healthy diet and avoid taking too much sugar and oily things. Now the technology has guided the people about the sugar level of the body, the BMI calculation, the obesity issues, and the heart diseases. Now people can also be aware of the better ways to reduce the depression and anxiety. Not only this but also the technology is guiding the people about different aspects of life. Now the people know what to eat, what to wear, what to say, and how to behave. In the previous generations, the elder people used to remain harsh to the younger but now with the guidance of technology they know how to deal with adults and younger in a better way.No doubt that technology is the blessing and it has proved its worth in people’s lives. Now the healthcare systems have also introduced different apps and the technology devices which alarm the patients to take their medicines on time and to check their BP and sugar level on a regular basis (Cotten SR, 2013). Different health care centers now provide their online services with the help of which the patients can remain in contact with their healthcare physicians. In case of any issue with the patient, the patient can inform the healthcare staff about the problem and then either the healthcare staff can guide them or can send the home nurse to the home. This service is especially for the senior citizens who cannot visit the healthcare centers on a daily basis due to their disease or any other issue. This service is also for the patients of the rural areas because it is difficult for the senior citizens to visit the healthcare centers which are far away from the rural areas. In this way, the citizens of the rural areas can also enjoy the better healthcare services. However, still in some rural areas, there is lack of internet connectivity due to which the patients face great difficulty in using this service. For this purpose, the healthcare staff has managed the apps and devices which do not require internet for their usage (Cotten SR, 2013).Theoretical FrameworkThe purpose of the study is to evaluate that how the knowledge or the education about the technology can change the lives of the elderly population of the rural areas. For this purpose, the theoretical framework will be based on the research of Niehaves and Plattfaut (2014) which analyzed the impact of the technology on the lives of the elderly population of the rural areas (Niehaves & Plattfaut, 2014). The technology, especially information technology is playing an essential role in making the elderly population active and independent longer. The elderly population is now involved in using the technology for different purposes. They use the technology to have social interaction with the world and also to have knowledge about what is going on in the world. It is also found that the elderly population in indulged in the use of information technology more as compared to the younger or the adults. The elderly population is neglected by the society, and that is why they don’t find any other way to remain socially active but to use the social network or the Internet. Moreover, the study also found that the internet and the use of technology have also changed the quality of life of the elderly population by different means. The technology has now provided great healthcare advancements, easy way to know different things, and many other tools which are helpful for the elderly population to have a better lifestyle.Baernholdt (2012) also found that the most of the elderly population in the rural areas prefer to use technology and the Internet rather than in urban areas. The reason is that in urban areas the people have more opportunities but in rural areas there are no places to visit, and so the people are confined in their homes. That is why the elderly population prefer to use the internet. However many people of the rural areas have no exposure to the technology, and they even don’t understand the meaning of the Internet, and that is why the institutions are being established. In these institutions, the teachers guide the people about technology and its benefits and also guide them the right way to use the technology. Now the elderly population is much more concerned to know more about the internet, and they use it for the making social circles, to consult with the healthcare staff, to know more about the world, and to have knowledge about the political conditions of the country. With the help of these theoretical framework, the study will lead to evaluate that when the elderly population of the rural areas is well guided to use the technology positively then how it affects their lives (Baernholdt, 2012).SummaryArticles presented in this review were published in the past five years; however, some older articles or sources provided necessary foundational or historical information. The literature shows that the technological, demographic deficits in many rural communities in the United States are of epic importance, and the necessity for addressing this issue and how it affects the daily lives of elderly rural residents is paramount Salemink, Strijker, and Bosworth (2015). However, participation in technology by senior citizens in these rural areas can enhance communication and afford optimal opportunities for seniors to personally engage online via the Internet to access essential health, finance, education, and social services information (Malecki, 2003; Strover, 2003; Velaga et al., 2012). Approximately one-third of senior citizens want to spend time using the Internet; however, many seniors are reluctant to use the Internet because they have not had the exposure (Zheng, Spears, Luptak, & Wilby 2015).The information technology companies also face great challenges while starting or establishing their systems in the rural areas. Firstly, they know that the population in the urban areas is less and that is why they cannot have much profit as compared to the urban areas. Secondly, they face great infrastructure challenges in rural areas, and that is why they have to spend a lot of money for establishing the system, wires, and many other things. Thirdly, the companies can also face social challenges because most of the people in the rural areas are either not aware of the benefits of the technology or are not interested to know about technology. That is why some people consider that technology is the main reason of cultural destruction in the society and so they don’t let technology come in the rural areas (Webb, 2013).Not only the communication issues but also the people of rural areas are facing great financial challenges in all fields of life. Technology is not only used for the communication, but also it has been used for education, healthcare, architecture, and many other fields. When concerning the education then due to lack of financial facilities the students are unable to have exposure to the technology or the advanced technology (Drake, 2012). Different educational institutions have been developed in urban and rural areas where the people, especially senior citizens are guided to use technology.The world of technology has opened up great advances for societies across the globe, however, senior citizens are unable to fully enjoy what is offered as an opportunity in many urban cities for their senior citizens as opposed to senior citizens in rural areas (Lenhart, 2009; Lenhart, P., Smith, & Zickuhr, 2010). However, with the passing time, more people are getting knowledge about the technology and the internet, and so the senior citizens of the rural areas are also becoming aware of the use of the internet. Now the senior citizens are found to have their accounts on social media websites via which they interact with each other and vanish their isolation with the society. Now with the use of Skype and other online calling messengers, the senior citizens and other people can connect with the relatives and so they can know that what are others doing and what is going on in the country. With the use of the Internet, the people can remain aware of the political conditions of the country at any time by just browsing the latest updates about the America’s politics. Moreover, now the facilities are on the increase and the healthcare staff has also made it easier for the senior citizens to remain in touch with the healthcare staffs with either internet or via other healthcare digital devices (RUNYON, 2017).The technology is used by the healthcare staff and the patients for several reasons. Different health care centers now provide their online services with the help of which the patients can remain in contact with their healthcare physicians. In case of any issue with the patient, the patient can inform the healthcare staff about the problem and then either the healthcare staff can guide them or can send the home nurse to the home. However, still in some rural areas, there is lack of internet connectivity due to which the patients face great difficulty in using this service. For this purpose, the healthcare staff has managed the apps and devices which do not require internet for their usage (Ramage-Morin, 2009; Zarcadoolas & Pleasant, 2005).America’s older adult population is increasing at a dramatic rate due to better healthcare, technology, and improved living conditions which afford these senior citizens with more time and energy to participate in technology (West, 2015). The social interaction is necessary for the senior citizens to keep their mind active and healthy. According to the estimate, it is found that the population of the senior citizens of the world will reach 22% in 2050 (World Population Ageing, 2007). That is why the social isolation in the senior citizens of the United States or fact all over the world has become a serious concern because it may be a real threat to the physical and mental health of the people, especially to the elderly population. With the help of the use of information and communication technology, the more elderly population of the rural areas can use social networking websites or can browse other websites of their interest. In this way, these people become able to interact with the people and then they can make friends on the internet. Also, few live messengers allow the more elderly population to make video chat with their friends and can enjoy their social circle (Chen, 2016).Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. are becoming increasingly important for people everywhere, and for people in different age groups. Active seniors citizens who are Internet users, and who participate in this social media thoroughly enjoy it (Vosner, Bobek, Kokol, and Krecic,2016). Rainie et al. examined the use of the Internet by the elderly population of the rural areas in the United States. The study suggested that the use of internet in the rural areas is less as compared to the urban areas (RAINIE, REDDY, & BELL, 2017). However, this situation only exists in the case of the younger population. Senior citizens of the rural areas use more Internet and the social networking websites as compared to the more elderly population of the urban areas. The statistical results showed that only 14% of the elderly population of the urban areas use the Internet and social networking websites and spend much of their time with their friends and family. On the other hand, the 22% of the elderly population of the rural areas is found to be using the Internet and the social networking websites.The myths and the misconceptions have become threatening for the elderly population of the rural areas. Now the people who belong to such old traditional places believe that with the help of technology the people may trace them. Some people are of the view that computer can no mean be helpful for the human being rather it works like a camera and the enemies, or the other authorities can have a view of their houses and lives with the help of a computer. They are afraid of technology. They think that due to the social network, mobiles, and computers the sins are on the increase and this can only be reduced by following the traditions. However, the technology institutions can be helpful to guide the people about benefits of technology.The purpose of the study is to evaluate that how the knowledge or the education about the technology can change the lives of the elderly population of the rural areas. For this purpose, the theoretical framework will be based on the research of Niehaves and Plattfaut (2014) which analyzed the impact of the technology on the lives of the elderly population of the rural areas (Niehaves & Plattfaut, 2014). Baernholdt (2012) also found that the most of the elderly population in the rural areas prefer to use technology and the Internet rather than in urban areas. However many people of the rural areas have no exposure to the technology, and they even don’t understand the meaning of the Internet, and that is why the institutions are being established. With the help of this theoretical framework, the study will lead to evaluate that when the elderly population of the rural areas is well guided to use the technology positively then how it affects their lives (Baernholdt, 2012).ReferencesAshmore, F., Farrington, J. Skerrat, S. (2016). Community-led broadband in rural digital infrastructure development: Implications for resilience. 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