Young people may roll their eyes when reading this title, but it’s wrong to say that seniors can’t use technology. Remember that after all, a baby boomer invented the internet, aka the world wide web. So why should we be surprised that older people continue to create, adapt, and use new technology?
Two weeks ago we discussed digital disruptions with relation to the business field, today we are talking about the senior community. Not without a valid reason, though. Older people don’t want and shouldn’t be left out when it comes to technology.
Technology Adoption by The Senior Community
More and more seniors are embracing new technologies, as much as 70 percent of American seniors are using the internet, and nearly half of them have a smartphone. The time spent in front of any screen (including a TV) even surpasses that of millennials!
This information might be new to you. We are used to teaching our grandparents how to use WhatsApp, and it is not uncommon having to explain some technologies twice. Not to mention if an update pops up and changes the interface, it can throw them off. Older generations did not grow up with a lot of technological advances all around them, so they do not have a baseline to build on this new knowledge. Everything is new to them.
The Solution: Technology Designed With Seniors In Mind
The technological revolution has affected the way seniors live. These changes have even increased their life-quality. Thanks to new tools and online initiatives designed with seniors in mind, the feeling of loneliness declined. Some examples of these technologies are:
- Komp is a device that enables older people to use smart-functionality such as having video calls, and receiving messages and pictures, all while doing so without a complicated interface. There is no learning curve for seniors to use it, and it helps them to ‘connect’ to the other generations.
Goodgym is an initiative that gets in touch runners that want to help and older people that need it.
- ElliQ is an interactive robot that keeps the elderly company. Using artificial intelligence, ElliQ is starting to be part of the elderly’s daily life. This robot answers their questions and gives them tips and advice.
- Apple is not behind and has included a fall detector in the Apple Watch. This feature alerts the emergency contacts and services when it detects a fall, offering like this immediate assistance.
- The medical assistance is also evolving. Biometric wearables that track the patients’ data allow doctors to offer a better and more personalized service. Not only that, but it also enables remote monitoring, reducing the medical cost, and making them more efficient.
Even though touch-screens are more intuitive for them, they are not always the best alternative for the older generations. A common complaint is that the buttons are too small, which makes it hard for them to press the right button.
Interesting fact: It is quite common for older people to have “leathery fingers.” This condition reduces the conduction of electricity through their fingers, making it difficult for the screen to recognize the touch.
Special mobile phones with big keys adapt to these requirements. The keys are straightforward to see, and the size makes it easier for people with mobility difficulties such as arthrosis or arthritis.
Adapting to Technology Knows Different Forms
New technologies are also helping seniors to be independent. Electric wheelchairs, stairlifts, and scooters mean a new life for those people with reduce mobility. They are free to go outside whenever they want without assistance from another person. These improvements have also made it possible for them to live in their own homes for longer.
And since more seniors are able to stay in their homes for longer, we also see the rise of personal alarms and smart home offers. Living alone supposes a higher risk for the elderly, and we cannot always predict those risks. A personal alarm is a small bottom that incorporates a GPS. It guarantees immediate medical assistance when they press the emergency bottom. Usually, people like to wear it as a necklace, so they can access it in case they have an accident or get sick.
On the other hand, smart homes are incorporating a controlling system to make sure that everything remains normal. It could seem that controlling someone else’s home is an invasion of their privacy, but this is not the case. This system adjusts to personal desires because it does not require microphones or cameras. Sensors monitor movement and temperature data and send an alarm in case of abnormal activity.
A Positive Outlook On The Future Of Technology
The current population reaching their 60s is much more familiarized with technologies. It will be interesting to see how well they adapt to emerging technologies. The prediction is that it will be easier for them, but they will also be more demanding. To keep the coming seniors satisfy is going to be more difficult than before, there is still a lot of room for improvement. Regardless of their technological knowledge, there will always be a market for senior-specific technology.