Internet use and difficulties in acquiring health resources among older adults with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic: a population-based cross-sectional study.

Internet use and difficulties in acquiring health resources among older adults with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic: a population-based cross-sectional study.

Publication date: Feb 20, 2024

The various restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic may have worsened the digital divide and health inequality. However, research to ascertain the association between Internet use and difficulties in acquiring health resources among older adults with disabilities is scarce. This study aimed to explore the relationship between Internet use and difficulties in acquiring health resources among older adults with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic and explore the associated factors by disability severity. Data from the 2020 survey of people with disabilities in South Korea were used. This secondary analysis study included 4,871 older adults aged 55 and above among 7,025 total responders. Complex sample logistic regression analyses were conducted to identify the association between Internet use and difficulties in acquiring health resources during the pandemic. Only 23. 66% of older adults with disabilities used the Internet. Internet non-users were more likely to experience difficulties in obtaining health resources than Internet users. The relationship between Internet non-use and difficulties in acquiring COVID-19-related information (OR 1. 57, 95% CI 1. 28-1. 92) and buying and using personal protective equipment (OR 1. 36, 95% CI 1. 11-1. 65) were statistically significant in the overall sample. Whereas, difficulties with using medical services were not statistically significantly associated with Internet use. Additionally, factors associated with difficulties in acquiring health resources differed by disability severity. Considering that older adults with disabilities experience triple the burden amid COVID-19 due to old age, disabilities, and the digital divide, policymakers, healthcare professionals, and engineers should aim to narrow the gaps between Internet users and Internet non-users among this population. Narrowing the gaps will make decreasing health gaps and increasing well-being among older adults with disabilities more attainable.

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Concepts Keywords
Adults COVID-19
Healthcare Health resources
Korea Internet use
Pandemic Older adults
Policymakers People with disabilities

Semantics

Type Source Name
disease MESH COVID-19 pandemic
disease VO population
disease MESH Long Covid
pathway REACTOME Reproduction
disease VO effective
disease VO efficient
disease MESH death
disease VO Gap
disease MESH infection
disease VO vaccination
disease MESH chronic conditions
disease MESH loneliness
disease MESH visual impairment
disease MESH hearing impairment
disease MESH intellectual disability
disease MESH mental illness
disease MESH autism spectrum disorder
disease VO time
disease IDO process
disease MESH premature aging
drug DRUGBANK Trestolone
drug DRUGBANK Polyethylene glycol
disease VO frequency

Original Article

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