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January 2021

Older adults and broadband access -- picking up the pace of adoption

What is broadband and why should seniors want it?  The buzz about broadband and older adults has grown louder since the start of the pandemic – which worsened social isolation for so many older adults. A just-released report sponsored by the Humana Foundation and OATS called Aging Connected, made the case that nearly 22 million seniors (age 65+)  lack wireline broadband access at home. Not a surprise -- that follows other reports over the past year or two like Pew (2019), which noted that only 59% of the 53.7 million aged 65+ have home broadband.  This new report has a point of view -- despite surveys that indicate that people use their smartphones (wireless versus "wireline") to access the Internet, truncated screens can be problematic. The report notes difficulty with financial and document management/editing – as well as limitations in using social networking and engagement technology.  Issues have often been noted that act as barriers to accessing services like telehealth for example. In fact, lack of access to a portal for vaccine appointments has recently emerged as a new broadband divide.

More older adult technology offerings from CES 2021

Even online – it was still CES – from the silly to interesting to useful.  How many of these exist? An international conference where inventions from everywhere are welcomed.  Some of these offerings, as always, are odd.  But some, as with yesterday’s CES 2021 blog post, are quite straightforward and obviously useful. Others require a leap of imagination or a good explanation as to why this variant of hearing aid is worth as much as $4000 per ear.  As always with CES, some capabilities are interesting and have future potential – and some are just too cute for more words.  Here are 8 more:

Ten technology offerings for older adults from CES 2021

CES 2021 – roll the press releases and turn on your computer.  A long time ago, one writer published a charmingly-named CES overview of CES 2012 called CES in Pajamas – an entertaining read with links to 2012 videos just to see what flopped, what was canceled (remember  Microsoft Kinect?) and what/who is still around. Laptops were hot (remember the Ultrabook?) Voice First and the Apple Watch had not emerged.  Oh well. Fast forward to 2021. Pajama-like clothing is the only way to consume the content vastness of this entirely online Consumer Electronics Show with 500 exhibits, 70,000 registered attendees, and 3 full days of sessions, many pre-recorded, some live.  Too many press releases and some odd stuff (a rollable Smart phone?)  Here are a few useful to older adults, alphabetical from firm sites:

From the 2021 Market Overview Technology for Aging

It's 2021 and baby boomers turn 75. It took the combination of 71 million boomers, a pandemic emergency, and the sheer size of the aging population to transform a 2009 market niche into this 2021 market category worthy of investment-- less about products specifically designed for older adults as it is about the marketing of many existing offerings as useful to them.  But this is January, 2021, in the time of Covid-19 and the time of the all digital Consumer Electronics Show -- this time with at least 70,000 online attendees from around the world and the tech industry -- and so new companies are surfacing with technologies that will generate interest and even excitement during 2021. The entrants that can help older adults fit into categories like:

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