Table 3

Challenges associated with computer work that have become more difficult with age

Challenges impacted by age-related factors

Reported reasons why each is more difficult

1. Physical aspects

Age-related factors

In particular

▪ Neck, shoulders strain, tired at end of day

▪ Use of mouse, developing carpel tunnel

▪ Stiffness when sitting for long periods

▪ Keyboard dexterity

▪ Hand problems, clicking on mouse

▪ Seeing screens

▪ Eye strain and vision

▪ Sitting at computers for long periods for data entry

Exacerbated by:

2. Mental aspects

▪ More clicking on the mouse required for newer programs

In particular:

▪ Ergonomic factors:

▪ Use of new technology

- Sitting more, less active

▪ Learning new programs and changes to programs

- Posture and seating, some computers badly set up, on a bench

▪ Statistics

▪ IT education provision

▪ Remembering passwords

- not tailored to particular needs

▪ Interpreting computerised results

- Not enough time allowed for older workers to learn, absorb and apply knowledge. "Younger workers already with computer skills, get the same amount of training time"

- "Helpdesk" is on the computer, not in hardcopy"

▪ Historical-generational learning factors

- Not having computers at home and not growing up with computers

- Computers not seen as a priority

- Learn differently, "we are more practical people"

- Harder for shift workers to adapt to computer

▪ General lack of confidence and support with computers and new technology:

- IT support not always available when needed

- Frequency of use - affects confidence

- Tendency to avoid new technology due to difficulty with equipment

Fragar and Depczynski BMC Health Services Research 2011 11:42   doi:10.1186/1472-6963-11-42

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