Thursday, May 22, 2014

Talking About Tech for Savvy Seniors

We have posted a number of times on technology for elders and the use of technology by elders.  The American Society on Aging ran a post on the blog Aging Today Online last month Where's Technology Headed in 2014?   Since we are about 1/3 of the way through 2014, I thought it would be a good idea to see where we are headed. Ginna Biak authored the post, looking at the trends and what we learned from technology use in 2013.  Wearable technology, smart phones, tablets and monitoring technology all seem to be "hot."

The author cites to an article in Forbes that the "boomers represent the biggest growth market for digital medical technologies.” The author also mentions technology that keeps us conencted, healthy and safe.  The tech industry will recognize the value of the boomer market with "designs [that] will be less intimidating and interfaces will be easy to use and adopt for older populations. Smart phones, e-readers and tablets will continue to evolve to meet the needs of elders."

The author writes that the iPad continues its popularity due to the accessibility features it offers for users who have vision issues and hearing loss.  As well, the free training is an attractive plus.  Larger seems to be better, according to the author, although "[t]he iPhone’s simple interface, consistent on all Apple products, is very popular with older adults. Samsung’s Galaxy Note is also rapidly becoming a favorite with older adults because of its large screen and functions."

Do you use social media?  A lot of boomers do.  The author offers this data point:

in 2013 people older than age 50 were the largest growing user population adopting Facebook, which explains the app Facebook for Seniors. This trend is expected to continue in 2014, with more elders adopting smartphones, uploading and viewing photos on their favorite social networking site. There are also expected to be more grandparents Skypeing and Facetiming this year than in years past.

And voice mail-so last century.  Is anyone besides me thinking about the use of monitoring technologies for those with dementia, and considering the consent and privacy issues? I think it would make a fascinating paper topic for a student!

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MAny thanks for yet another insightful article about technology trends re: seniors/older Americans... One factor often overlooked or downplayed when discussing techno/communications trends for the elderly or soon-to-be-so is the "time-compression" implied in such developments... It's what I call the "OOPS! THERE GOES INFORMED CONSENT!" factor...

Posted by: Dennis W. Brezina | May 23, 2014 3:20:17 AM

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