FACT Sheets

FACT sheets are concise (4-6 page) research briefs that are topical and intended for a policy and practice audience. Many of these briefs synthesize and integrate research findings across projects.

Here’s a sample of FACT Sheets completed over the past six years. For more FACT sheets please see Snapshots of Aging.

Designing technology that cares: Barriers to carers’ technology adoption (April 2019)

Care provided by family members and friends to those with chronic, acute, or age-related health problems is foundational to meeting care receivers’ care needs and sustaining publicly funded health and continuing care systems. Yet many caregivers are under duress because of their caring responsibilities and are at risk of becoming the poor, isolated, and lonely elders of tomorrow. Assistive technologies (AT) have the potential to support caregivers, but only if they are appropriate, accessible, and sustainable. Several barriers prevent caregivers from accessing, adopting, and integrating technologies that meet their unique needs: lack of awareness, failure of AT to solve caregivers’ problems, affordability, lack of internet access, lack of capacity to engage with technologies, lack of ongoing support through the adoption process, and resistance from their care receivers.

Designing technology that cares: Caregivers’ experiences drive the design process (April 2018)

Designing assistive technologies that support family caregivers’ holistic needs starts by using their experiences to drive the design process. Understanding caregivers’ unique needs and complicated lives is critical to developing successful strategies for creating, communicating, and adopting technologies to support family caregivers effectively – a market of more than 8.1M Canadians. Caregiver-centered empathic design is a process that integrates caregivers in such a way that their experiences and expertise drive the design, solving their real-life problems to improve their well-being and, ultimately, to succeed in the marketplace. Critical components of this approach are co-creating better or innovative solutions, actively listening to caregivers’ stories, developing a shared representation of the design problem, evaluating external sources of inspiration, and allowing adequate time, resources, and flexibility.

How deep is the digital divide? ICT literacy and the role of assistive technology in helping older workers (May 2017)

As the Canadian economy becomes increasingly knowledge-based and technology-driven, older workers who struggle with computers and other technologies may find themselves less employable. By understanding older workers’ Information and Communication Technology (ICT) literacy skills, we can develop strategies to help them retain their current jobs, gain new work, or use assistive technologies more effectively to balance the “double burden” of paid work and family care. Using Canadian data drawn from the OECD’s Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIACC) administered between 2011 and 2012, we describe older workers’ ICT literacy and the factors that put them at risk of poor ICT literacy skills.

A snapshot of Canadians caring for persons with dementia: The toll it takes (October 2015)

As the population ages, there is a growing number of Canadians living with dementia. Their ability to continue to live in the community relies on the support of family members and friends. By knowing who supports Canadians with dementia and the consequences they experience, we can better help these caregivers through difficult times and reduce the stigma associated with the disease. Using Statistics Canada’s 2012 General Social Survey (GSS), we compared the characteristics of Canadians providing care to persons with dementia and non-dementia and the health, social, and financial consequences they face.

Combining care work and paid work: Is it sustainable? (September 2014)

Combining care work and paid work is the norm for many employed Canadians, with caregivers making up 30% of the workforce. There are over 5.6 million employed caregivers aged 19-70 in Canada, and most work full-time. Understanding how caregiving threatens caregivers’ employment and economic security and escalates employers’ costs related to absenteeism and reduced productivity is crucial for informing Canadian strategies and policies that mitigate avoidable employer costs. Using Statistics Canada’s 2012 General Social Survey (GSS), we described care-related employment consequences in Canada and determined what drives them.