Tuesday, August 1, 2017

On Finding Balance in Relationships (and Technology) As One Ages

Over the weekend, I caught an interesting episode of "On Being," with public radio host Krista Tippett.  While the nominal topic was "the good, bad and the  ugly" of the internet, and especially of internet-based social media sites, I found the conversation with her guest relevant on a number of levels, including questions about the importance of healthy relationships and intellectual stimulation for individuals as they age.

The guest speaker, Danah Boyd, a researcher, book author and pro-technology blogger, especially internet technology, talked about concerns that many parents may have, that their children are negatively affected by the amount of time they spend on the internet, whether in the form of Facebook, emails, chatrooms or simply surfing.  "Why don't they just go outside and play together like we did as children, especially in the summer?"

In response, Boyd pointed out that there is a "tremendous amount of fearmongering that emerged in light of 24/7 news...."  She continued:

We created this concern that public spaces like the park were a terrible, terrible place.  We were worried about latchkey children.  We were worried about school buses.  We clamped down on young people, and we started, especially in middle to upper class environments, structuring every day of their lives.

She drew upon examples, including some from Eric Klinenberg, a sociologist who wrote Going Solo to examine the implications of living a "single life," to suggest a possible explanation for young people retreating into the internet is the need to escape the pressures of overly structured daily lives.  

If true, wouldn't the need to escape increase as you get older and encounter more pressure to work, be on time, succeed, and to multi-task?  The need to detach from one-on-one relationships might be greater.

While the program did not talk directly about the upper ages of such a trajectory, as I listened to the program I couldn't help but think there is some greater truth here.  I see some people continue to want to stay engaged in one-on-one social relationships as they move into the "older" of older ages, but I also see many, including some of my own family members, do the exact opposite.  No, they aren't retreating into the internet, but they are retreating from what they might see as pressures to communicate, to be articulate, to "chat" with long time friends or family members. Perhaps for some it is the television, rather than a cell phone or iPad that serves as the protective shield.  

But, for future generations of elders will the internet still be intriguing and continue to offer escape routes?

One of the things that I liked about the "On Being" discussion was the discussion of the importance of striving for balance in the midst of technological changes.  Boyd said:

From my perspective, it’s about stepping back and not assuming that just the technology is transformative, and saying, okay, what are we trying to achieve here? What does balance look like? What does happiness look like? What does success look like? What are these core tenets or values that we’re aiming for, and how do we achieve them holistically across our lives? And certainly, when parents are navigating this, I think one of the difficulties is to recognize that this is what your values are, and they may be different from your child’s values. And so how do you learn to sit and have a conversation of “Here’s what I want for you. What do you want? And how do we balance that?” And that’s that negotiation that’s really hard. And so I think about it in terms of all of us — how do you find your own sense of grounding?

She concludes, suggesting internet technology is an important tool for making connections and having relationships, but "reflection" about life goals is also important.  Or as Boyd says, "There are so many opportunities out there to connect, to communicate, to get information. We need to be more thoughtful about what we want to achieve and how to articulate that in our lives and how to achieve it collectively, individually, and as a community."

August 1, 2017 in Books, Ethical Issues, Science, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Cyber-Safe When On Line

Kiplinger ran a story for elders about staying cyber-safe online. Beware Fraudsters When You Go Online discusses cybersecurity safety.  The tips include a strong password (I know we've heard this before, but it's so important) ,using tw0-factor authentication and even fingerprint ID to log on.  Do this for every one of your online interfaces: for your email, your financial accounts and your social media.  Keep your software and anti-virus updated (include your smart phone-update those apps!).  Backup critical data (even a hard copy), don't share your passwords, don't use the same password for everything, keep a hard copy of your passwords, don't click on links in emails and remember your bank,  Social Security and the IRS will not email you. You didn't really win a foreign country's lottery. Don't open attachments.  Be mindful when on your computer. Think before you click!

July 11, 2017 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Other, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

How Do You Read Your News?

You are reading this blog either on your computer, your smart phone, your tablet, or some other device that I didn't mention. You are not likely reading this in hard copy. What about your daily dose of news in the morning? Do you read a physical copy of a paper? Is a morning news show (television or radio) part of your routine?  If you are in the group of folks 50 and over, more and more you are likely reading your news on a mobile device, according to a report released by Pew Research Center. A fact tank report,  Growth in mobile news use driven by older adults tells us the uptick is strong: "[m]ore than eight-in-ten U.S. adults now get news on a mobile device (85%), compared with 72% just a year ago and slightly more than half in 2013 (54%). And the recent surge has come from older people: Roughly two-thirds of Americans ages 65 and older now get news on a mobile device (67%), a 24-percentage-point increase over the past year and about three times the share of four years ago, when less than a quarter of those 65 and older got news on mobile (22%)."  Those in the 50-64 age group also show a strong adoption of news on mobile devices with "79% now get news on mobile, nearly double the share in 2013. The growth rate was much less steep – or nonexistent – for those younger than 50." 

Why this increase you wonder? Wonder no more. The report explains the growth is partially due to the fact that fewer of elders had been using mobile devices for their news, so there was opportunity for greater adoption than younger age groups who were already strong adopters.  So even though more elders are using mobile devices for their news, it doesn't mean they are liking it!  The report explains that those 65 and older aren't particularly keen on doing so with "[o]nly 44% prefer mobile ... [and] those 50 to 64 ... prefer to get their news on mobile (54%), up from about four-in-ten (41%) a year ago."

 

June 21, 2017 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Other, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Your Estate Planning IQ?

Kiplinger has a nifty quiz for you to test your knowledge about estate planning. The quiz, What Do You Know about Wills and Trusts? Test Your Estate-Planning Smarts consists of 10 multiple choice questions with explanations once you have answered a specific question.  Take the quiz - it only takes about 5 minutes. Your results are instantaneous and you can compare your knowledge against the rest of us (the average is 7 correct answers out of 10). If you teach Trusts & Estates, this would be a good exercise to give during the first class!

June 14, 2017 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Estates and Trusts, Property Management, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Calculating Your Retirement Savings Needs

We've mentioned various retirement calculators before. Kiplinger's recent letter mentioned this calculator-it's very easy and takes little time to get your results!  Here's the description

Our exclusive Retirement Savings Calculator will help you estimate the future value of your retirement savings and determine how much more you need to save each month to reach your retirement goal. Actual results will depend on how much you contribute to your retirement accounts, the rate-of-return on your investments, and how long you live. (The calculator does not take taxes on your retirement income into account so your actual spendable income will be less.)

Try it out. It really is quick and easy. It would be a great tool to use with our students to get them thinking about financial security and the importance of planning for retirement.!

June 6, 2017 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Retirement, Social Security, Web/Tech | Permalink

Monday, May 22, 2017

More on Tech and Elders

The Pew Research Center released a new report on tech use and older adults. Tech Adoption Climbs Among Older Adults explains the rise in "wired" elders:  "[a]round four-in-ten (42%) adults ages 65 and older now report owning smartphones, up from just 18% in 2013. Internet use and home broadband adoption among this group have also risen substantially. Today, 67% of seniors use the internet – a 55-percentage-point increase in just under two decades. And for the first time, half of older Americans now have broadband at home."  That seems like good news, but what about those who aren't connected? "One-third of adults ages 65 and older say they never use the internet, and roughly half (49%) say they do not have home broadband services. Meanwhile, even with their recent gains, the proportion of seniors who say they own smartphones is 42 percentage points lower than those ages 18 to 64." 

The report shows a correlation between use and age, income and education. The report discusses tech adoption by type of tech, obstacles to adoption and use, levels of engagement and perceptions of the value of tech on society. A pdf of the 23 page report is available here.

May 22, 2017 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Other, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Are You Using Social Media?

If you scoffed at this title, thinking "of course I am" then you are not alone. But, if you scoffed at this title, thinking "nope, I'm not" then you are not alone either.  The Pew Research Center Fact Tank released another News in Numbers, this time on social media use. Not everyone in advanced economies is using social media found higher usage in certain countries than others. Sweden, US, the Netherlands and Australia are top in social media use (about 70%)  by country. But what about use by age?  "The age gap on social media use between 18- to 34-year-olds and those ages 50 and older is significant in every country surveyed. For example, 88% of Polish millennials report using social networking sites, compared with only 17% of Poles ages 50 and older, a 71-percentage-point gap."  With a 71% age gap in Poland taking the #1 place in the Pew brief, the U.S. was ranked last with only a 34% age gap in social media use. 

May 17, 2017 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, International, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 16, 2017

IBM Tech to Track Mom to Help Her Stay At Home

Last week Business Insider ran a story on IBM's plan to track elders. IBM wants to protect senior citizens by tracking nearly their every move explains that IBM has been spending a lot of time on a project to discover how to help boomers continue to be healthy and happy. "That research has zeroed in on outfitting boomers' living spaces with artificially-intelligent sensors that can measure things like air quality, sleep quality, movement patterns, falls, and changes in scent and sound."  The data derived, according to the article, can help the kids and doctors "provide people with better care when needed. Critically, the sensors could detect when people deviate from a baseline to offer person-specific alerts." 

IBM is ready for beta testing their projects and in fact, the article explains " IBM announced its partnership with Avamere, a senior health care services company. Over the next six months, IBM will use Avamere's assisted living facilities to perform research on prototype sensors... Across three different locations — nursing facilities, assisted living, and independent homes — the sensors will collect data on people's environment and behavior."  This is not all that IBM is developing. IBM is also working with Rice University on a robot, known as MERA (or "the IBM Multi-Purpose Eldercare Robot Assistant (MERA), which the company has been testing at its "Aging in Place" lab in Austin, Texas....Sensors can detect when the stove's burners are on, or when a person has fallen down. Even in its prototype stage, MERA is equipped with cameras to read facial expressions, sensors to capture vital signs, and Watson-powered speech recognition to know when to call for help."

But what if mom doesn't want all this monitoring (is anyone besides me thinking about mom's privacy?)? IBM's response-the design will not be obvious and will be a gradual and "[I]f IBM's vision becomes reality, by the mid-21st century, millennials won't be guessing how their parents are faring. They'll have all the data they need, and seniors won't feel as if they're under anyone's care — even if the safety net is sitting right beneath them."

Hal, big brother really is watching!

Thanks to Tom Moran for sending me this article.

March 16, 2017 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Health Care/Long Term Care, Web/Tech | Permalink

Monday, March 13, 2017

Planning Ahead for the What-Ifs In Your Last Years of LIfe

We don't know what the future holds for us, especially in our final years, but we can bet that we may be faced with some health care issues. Wouldn't it be great to have a guidebook for the final years? Well now you can.  According to an article in Kaiser Health News, A Playbook For Managing Problems In The Last Chapter Of Your Life, there is "a unique website, www.planyourlifespan.org, which helps older adults plan for predictable problems during what Lindquist calls the “last quarter of life” — roughly, from age 75 on...“Many people plan for retirement,” the energetic physician explained in her office close to Lake Michigan. “They complete a will, assign powers of attorney, pick out a funeral home, and they think they’re done.”...What doesn’t get addressed is how older adults will continue living at home if health-related concerns compromise their independence." The focus isn't on end of life planning, according to the article, it's the time before. "Investigators wanted to know which events might make it difficult for people to remain at home. Seniors named five: being hospitalized, falling, developing dementia, having a spouse fall ill or die, and not being able to keep up their homes."

The result of the work is an interactive website that deals with issues such as falls, hospitalization, dementia, finances and conversations. The website offers that "Plan Your Lifespan will help you learn valuable information and provide you with an easy-to-use tool that you can fill in with your plans, make updates as needed, and easily share it with family and friends."  Try it!

March 13, 2017 in Advance Directives/End-of-Life, Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Dementia/Alzheimer’s, Health Care/Long Term Care, Housing, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Is Tech Changing Aging?

We've blogged on a number of occasions about the use of tech to provide services and support to elders, for various reasons. The American Society on Aging will have a series of sessions that deals with how tech is affecting, impacting, or facilitating aging at their annual Aging in America conference. Searching the sessions listings by the keyword "technology" brings up a significant number of sessions.  An email I received highlighting the tech sessions included this list of sessions

  • NEST CG Program: Co-design of Environments, Services and Technologies With an Aging Population
  • Improving Health and Wellness of Seniors Using Wearable Technology
  • Co-Designing Environments: The Way Forward
  • On Participation: Co-Design of Services
  • 21st Century Digital Communities: Technology that Supports Aging Needs
  • An Innovative Model of Technology Strategies That Promote Aging in Place in Low-Income Housing Settings
  • Building a Community-Based Sustainable Telehealth Intervention Program for Seniors
  • Quantifying the Positive Effects of Music and Memory iPods and iPads for Dementia Care
  • Policy to Practice: Assistive Technology and Aging
  • Addressing Social Isolation Through Technology
  • Gadgets or Godsends: How to Understand and Leverage Digital Technologies to Help Seniors
  • Technology and a Multigenerational Staff
  • The Impact of Senior-Friendly Websites
  • Access: Innovative Mobility Options for Seniors
  • Integrated eTechnology: Eldercare for the 21st Century
  • Innovative Design Applications for Creating Living Environments for All Ages and Abilities
  • ABCs of In-Home Technology for Post-Acute Patients
  • Mobile Technology and Aging: How Seniors Are Keeping Up and Connecting
  • New Technologies Supporting Creation and Sharing in Art Therapy With Older Adults
  • Technology in the Life of the Caregiver
  • Using Technology in Long-Term Care
  • Medication Reconciliation Using a Mobile On-Demand Virtual Pharmacist
  • Technology Solutions to Collect and Analyze Data Outside Hospital Walls
  • Your Digital Mission: How Social Technology Can Advance Your Organization's Service
  • Developing a One-Call, One-Click Transportation System
  • Age-Friendly Efforts 2.0
  • Technology for Social Change

If you are at the conference and attend any of these tech sessions, let us know.

February 7, 2017 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Programs/CLEs, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Robot Friends?

The New York Times ran an article about the use of robots for elders. Seniors Welcome New, Battery-Powered Friends explains retirement communities are among the leaders of testing out new technologies.  "Early adopters ... are on the front lines of testing new technologies that some experts say are set to upend a few of the constants of retirement. Eager not to be left behind, retirement communities are increasingly serving as testing grounds that vet winners and losers."

Here is something that I thought particularly interesting regarding technology development pointed out in this article. "Some technologists see the most promise in the social dimensions. For too long, technology has been chasing problems rather than trying to delight human beings, said Joseph Coughlin, director of the AgeLab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “Where are the devices that help us learn and expand our horizons?” he said."

The article explores the advantages of robot companions with some of those designed specifically for neophytes of technology.  For example, one company has developed a robot that requires little tech expertise to use, and the robot "is connected to Wi-Fi and operated remotely. In its next iteration, the company is working on training the robot to pick up objects... [The company's] robots will be offered by a consumer health firm ... to retirement communities and people aging in place. The yearly cost is about 20 percent of the cost, on average, of hiring full-time caregivers...."  The article explores the role of elders in testing tech products and the value of the feedback that they give. 

I love technology "stuff" and can't wait for the next new shiny thing. But, I am concerned if we begin to rely on technology solely as the means of providing caregiving. I can't wait to have my own personal robot, but will it give good hugs?

January 31, 2017 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Health Care/Long Term Care, Other, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Social Media Use by Age

Do you use social media? You aren't alone if you are.  Pew Research released a new social media fact sheet that breaks down social media use, with 69% of Americans using social media at some time. But since this is an elderlawprof blog, I know you want to know more--specifically the percentage of older persons using social media. Wait no longer! 34% of those 65 and older used social media as of the time of the survey, with  64% of those age 50-64 using social media.   But which social media are older persons using?  That 50-64 age group has a significant presence on Facebook, 61%, compared to 36% of those 65 and older. Pinterest and LinkedIn came in close seconds for those 50-64 (24% and 21% respectively). LinkedIn was a distant second for those 65 and over.  Another report from Pew breaks out usage by social media platforms.

 

 

January 19, 2017 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Other, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Apple Enhances Accessibility in Products

Disability Scoop ran an article on November 1, 2016, Apple Doubling Down On Accessibility. Check this out:

Apple kicked off an event last week to unveil its latest lineup of MacBook Pros and other new offerings with a video showcasing the unique ways that people with disabilities use their products.

The brief clip shows individuals with physical and developmental disabilities using technology to overcome basic challenges — from speaking to learning, engaging with others and taking photographs.

Apple also unveiled its accessibility website, the landing page of which explains: "[t]he most powerful technology in the world is technology that everyone, including people with disabilities, can use. To work, create, communicate, stay in shape, and be entertained. So we don’t design products for some people or even most people. We design them for every single person."  The page offers links to accessibility features for each Apple product.

This you have to see. Check it out!

November 2, 2016 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Health Care/Long Term Care, Other, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Do You Know Seniors Working in the "Gig" Economy?

My colleague, Becky Morgan, posted recently about the trend of senior-aged consumers as customers of Uber and other ride-hailing companies.   Smart marketing for the alternatives to traditional taxi-cabs includes finding ways for seniors to use and pay for services without smart phones.

Additional research demonstrates that seniors may also play an increasing role in the work force for ride-hailing companies.  They are drivers, not just passengers (both literally and metaphorically).  The latest research from the JP Morgan Chase Institute introduced me to a new label -- the "gig economy," and ride-hailing services are just one part of that economy: 

Our research shows that a rising number of seniors are supplementing their income -- in non-trivial amounts -- by participating in the "gig economy", or Online Platform Economy. . . Among all adults, participation in the Online Platform Economy has been growing very quickly. To measure this growth, we assembled a dataset of over 260,000 anonymized Chase customers who earned income from at least of of 30 distinct platforms between October 2012 and September 2015 -- the largest sample of platform earners to date. During this period, the cumulative participation rate grew from 0.1% of adults to 4.2%. a 47-fold growth.

 

Although most participants in the platform economy are younger workers, seniors are not standing on the sidelines.  In the 12 months ending September 2015, about 0.9 percent of seniors were providers in the

 

 in the platform economy, compared to 3.1 percent of the general population.  With over 47 million seniors in America, this translates to over 400,000 seniors participating in the platform economy. 

 

For those seniors who do participate, their earnings are often substantial.  In our research, we distinguish between labor and capital platforms.  Labor platforms, such as Uber or TaskRabbit, connect customers with freelance or contingent workers who perform discrete projects or assignments. Capital platforms, such as eBay or Airbnb, connect customers with individuals who rent assets or sell goods peer-to-peer.

For more on participation of seniors in the Gig Economy, and for other interesting data points about seniors as both workers and spenders, read Past 65 and Still Working: Big Data Insights on Senior Citizens' Financial Lives, from JP Morgan Chase Institute.

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September 7, 2016 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Retirement, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A Cellphone Required for Social Security Online Access and Then Not

This is a story of now you need it, now you don't. Social Security recently required that a person have a cellphone to use the online benefits services.  The New York Times ran an article about this requirement that went into effect at the end of July, 2016. Social Security Now Requires Cellphone to Use Online Services explains that SSA makes it mandatory to have an access code sent by text to the recipient's cellphone.  The article notes that this requirement "may create hurdles, however, especially for older Americans, who are less likely to use mobile phones. About 78 percent of people 65 and older own a cellphone, compared with 98 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds, according to 2015 data from the Pew Research Center." Still almost 80% of elders have a cell phone-a good number, but that doesn't mean that those with cellphones use text features.  The article features a variety of complaints, including the lack of advance notice.  The article includes some FAQs, as well as a link to a website on where to get help (at least it's a website, not a cellphone #).

Now for the now you don't part of this story. Recall the quote in the prior paragraph "may create hurdles"....  So within two weeks of the regulation taking effect, Social Security has stopped it, for now.  The New York Times ran a follow up story explaining the suspension:

After an outcry from older Americans, as well as a letter from two United States senators, the agency backed off the cellphone-based code requirement.

“Our aggressive implementation inconvenienced or restricted access to some of our account holders,” said a statement emailed by an agency spokesman, Mark Hinkle. “We are listening to the public’s concerns and are responding by temporarily rolling back this mandate.”

Note the use of the word "temporarily" because Social Security is continuing to increase security to protect beneficiaries' information and will "introduce alternative authentication options, in addition to texting, within the next six months."  The FAQ for this article notes that beneficiaries can opt-in to text-verification now, it's just not a requirement.

August 23, 2016 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Social Security, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 19, 2016

95 year old upgrades her tech

Here's a happy story to end the week. Huffington Post's Post50 ran a story last week about a lucky lottery winner. 95-Year-Old Woman Uses Lottery Winnings To Join 21st Century features the winner of a scratch-off ticket who plans to buy herself an upgraded cell phone. "Once it had all sunk in, the great-grandmother quickly began thinking about how she’d spend the cash. In the end, she decided to buy a great treat for herself: a new smartphone." Now granted, smartphones don't cost $30,000 (the amount of her winnings) so the article notes she plans to put the rest in a trust for her family.  She explained, "“I’m 95 and there’s not a hell of a lot more I can keep doing with it...."

Congratulations!

August 19, 2016 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, June 19, 2016

More on Technology

It seems every few days (or maybe even more frequently) there is a story about a new tech device that can benefit elders. Here are a few that caught my eye (and I must confess I want each of them)

1. The personal care robot. Asus a few weeks back announced their robot, Zenbo. This entry into the personal robot field is a talking robot.  Although not yet available, seems reasonably priced and has an "elder tech" application:

A big part of the pitch is caring for the elderly, which could be especially popular in nearby Japan, which is struggling with an aging population. Zenbo "helps to bridge the digital divide between generations" by allowing seniors to make video calls and use social networking with simple voice commands, Asus said.

It can also connect to a smart bracelet and alert relatives via smartphone app if their elderly relative has a fall.

A video of the robot in action is available here.

2.  Self-driving cars. I saw a June 5, 2016 On Assignment episode on self-driving cars, Hands Off,  that was quite interesting. When looking for that episode on the web, I ran into this June 5, 2016 article on Forbes about self-driving cars. Consumer Interest In Self-Driving Cars Increasing reports on a recent study regarding self-driving cars, noting that more folks are becoming aware of the technology. So will self-driving cars have an elder-tech application?   The respondents in the study thought this

Big Benefit for the Physically Impaired and Elderly There is a strong belief that a part of the population who will benefit most from self-driving cars are people who are physically impaired. About 70% of the respondents believe autonomous vehicles will provide on-demand mobility for the elderly and handicapped.

I think we can all imagine how self-driving cars have an "elder-tech" application but unlike a car driven by a human, I'm pretty sure the autonomous vehicles won't be able to help the elder in or out of the vehicle, or load her packages. (Maybe that will be in the next iteration...)  That doesn't mean I don't want one!

3. Smart Homes: Then there is this on the "smart home" front (I want one of those as well). With the changes in leadership at Nest, the Washington Post ran this article Why smart homes are still so dumb.  One thought from the article that struck me is the high-tech v. low-tech hurdle.  A survey reported in the story mentioned that some folks thought it too difficult to get everything set up when the low tech alternative is so much easier (think flipping on a light switch easy). 

4. More on wearables:  5 ways wearables will transform the lives of the elderly covers wearables that focus on, among other things, safety, wandering and falls.

The next few years promise to provide incredible advancements in elder tech world. But there is still an irreplaceable value from human interactions.

June 19, 2016 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Elder Tech: A Report to the President

We've blogged on a number of occasions about the "elder tech revolution" and the technology competency of elders.  We're not the only ones watching this issue. In fact, the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology issued a report to the President in March of this year. Report to the President Independence, Technology and Connection in Older Age is a detailed look at various issues and technologies.  The executive summary sets the stage

The U.S. population is getting older, and Americans are living longer, on average, than they ever have before. As they age, people are healthier and more active than the generations before them and have fewer functional limitations such as difficulty walking or blindness. Studies show that people are happier on average as they advance into their later decades and enjoy high levels of accumulated knowledge and experience.

Getting older is a time of social, emotional, mental, and physical change. Retirement might change how a person interacts socially every day, affecting a person’s mood and well-being. Cognitive aging—the normal process of cognitive change as a person gets older—can begin, or a permanent change in physical function may arise. Technology offers a path for people who are navigating these changes potentially to prevent or minimize the risks associated with them and to enhance people’s ability to live their lives fully. We, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), sought to identify technologies and policies that will maximize the independence, productivity, and engagement of Americans in their later years.

 

The Committee focused on 4 areas of aging: physical and cognitive changes, hearing loss and lack of social interaction. The report contains "cross-cutting recommendations" as well as area-specific recommendations. The cross-cutting recommendations include federal support and coordination, widespread internet access, adoption of monitoring technology, and encouraging research to develop more innovation. There are 12 area-specific recommendations.

The blog post about the report is available here.

 

June 15, 2016 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Dementia/Alzheimer’s, Health Care/Long Term Care, Housing, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Elders and Social Media

All of us who use social media, raise your hands. Ok, so that is a lot of us.  And social media isn't just the province of the young, even though some of us may be digital immigrants. The New York Times ran a recent article about elders on Facebook. Why Do Older People Love Facebook? Let’s Ask My Dad explains about a recent survey done by Penn State. 

The press release about the study, Sorry kids, seniors want to connect and communicate on Facebook, too explains "[o]lder adults, who are Facebook's fastest growing demographic, are joining the social network to stay connected and make new connections, just like college kids who joined the site decades ago, according to Penn State researchers." The study looks at the reasons why elders would be drawn to use Facebook, including curiosity, keeping in touch with friends, and connecting with family, as well as communicating with those with shared interests, what the authors refer to as social bonding, social bridging and social surveillance.

The authors suggest that the social media designers need to look at making the media more elder-friendly, and "emphasize simple and convenient interface tools to attract older adult users and motivate them to stay on the site longer."  The volume of elder users is growing,  so "[d]evelopers may be interested in creating tools for seniors because that age group is the fastest growing demographic among social media users. In 2013, 27 percent of adults aged 65 and older belonged to a social network, such as Facebook or LinkedIn, according to the researchers. Now, the number is 35 percent and is continuing to show an upward trend."

Returning to the New York Times article, the author asked her dad about his Facebook use; "he wanted to be better at keeping in touch with family and with the friends he remembers from my childhood. He told me over Facebook chat (naturally) that his curiosity about what others were up to was his main motivator in finally learning to navigate Facebook."  The author quotes one of the co-authors of the study: "[a]s Facebook continues to be a bigger part of American life, the ever-growing population of older Americans is figuring out how to adapt. As people grow older, peer communication through chatting, status updates and commenting will become more important ... and Facebook will need to adapt tools that are suited for an aging audience."

April 21, 2016 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Statistics, Web/Tech, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

What is Old? Watch the video!

Huffington Post's Huff/Post 50 ran a story with an accompanying video, Millennials Show The World What They Believe ‘Old’ Looks Like.  Not unexpectedly, their initial impressions involved some stereotypical perceptions of those who are older. Then watch the video to see what they have learned and how their views changed.  Show the video to your class!

Also, take a look at the new book, Disrupt Aging, from the CEO of AARP, Jo Ann Jenkins.

April 12, 2016 in Books, Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Film, Other, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)