Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Steven L. Baumann

Committee Members

Donna Nickitas

Jessie Daniels

Joshua Richardson

Elizabeth Capezuti

Kathleen Nokes

Subject Categories



Older adults, aging in place, functional impairment, assistive home-based technology, personal emergency response system (PERS).


Key Words: Older adults, aging in place, functional impairment, assistive home-based technology, personal emergency response system (PERS).

Aim: The aim of this study was to explore and describe perceptions of the utility and ease of use of a personal emergency response system (PERS) among older adults who are aging in place.

Research Question: “What is the meaning of a PERS use for functionally impaired older adults?”

Design: An exploratory-descriptive qualitative design was used to recruit members of a VNSNY CHOICE Managed Long Term Care (MLTC) site in Queens, NY, who met the study’s eligibility through the selection criteria. Fourteen participants gave verbal and written consent.

Method: The researcher used a nine-question in-person interview guide to conduct the face-to-face, audio-taped, semi-structured interviews to gather information on the participants’ experiences with using a PERS device. Data were collected over a two-month period.

Findings: While many participants admitted that they did not wear the PERS neck pendant or wrist device consistently, they still reported benefiting from having the button and participating in the VNSNY program. Findings were consistent with the existing literature on PERS compliance, defined as wearing and using the device. The research question was answered: Functionally impaired older adults who use a PERS device regard it as a Reassuring presence, and Simple and effortless, if you need it, and when using it, they feel Alone, but connected. The overarching theme is that PERS devices serve as an adjunctive resource and a helpful backup that promotes interconnectedness.

Conclusions:Despite the significant end-user benefits of increased independence and decreased institutionalization and the availability of community support services for older adults who are aging in place—such as those provided by the VNSNY CHOICE program and its home-based assistive technology, the VNSNY PERS device—most participants in this study reported that they still did not wear or use the PERS device as the visiting nurse instructed and encouraged them to do.

Suggestions for future research: The findings of this study contribute to the literature on technology use among older adults who choose to age in place, and identified an important question for future research: “What is use and non-use of PERS?”

Included in

Nursing Commons