Health, Self-Tracking Technologies, and the Emotional Impacts they have on Older Adults with Memory Concerns

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Most individuals, including older adults, in the United States are not meeting the recommended levels of physical activity for their age group. Research has shown that adopting self-tracking technologies can be one way to motivate users to increase their physical activity levels. Further, tracking progress in terms of health and wellbeing has the potential to support individuals with memory concerns; however, most older adults do not use technology to track progress towards their health-related goals. While traditional qualitative research might aim to uncover the reason behind this lack of adoption, this thesis instead focuses on how the topics of health and self-tracking technologies affect the lives of older adults with memory concerns. Leaning on a style of writing and analysis from anthropologist Kathleen Stewart, this thesis offers the reader a series of resonating stories– stories that have no obvious meaning, classification, or rationalization. Rather, these narratives gather the textures and intensities that participants face in their everyday lives and offer us a brief look into their habitus and interactions with the world around them. By taking this approach, this thesis calls for more detail into participants’ lived experiences that would otherwise be overlooked by traditional qualitative analysis.