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smartphones, cell phones

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smartphones, cell phones

The more tech changes: A decade of older adult Technology Surveys

Few of the oldest are ever surveyed about tech adoption – least of all using paper. Link-Age Connect has surveyed the oldest about tech use since 2011, with periodic surveys fielded to older adults via their member organizations. In 2011, that represented 122,000 residents drawn from its member communities across 22 states.  The member communities in 2011 distributed 5000 paper surveys and got back 1789 completed, a 35% response rate. Many were completed with assistance for people with limited vision or mobility. All were transcribed for analysis and use in the published report, Technology Survey Age 65 to 100, Extending Technology Past the Boomers.  In 2011, 71% of the responders were older than aged 75. 

10 barriers to boosting tech adoption by older adults in 2021

Technology access is a vital sign.  Non-adoption is not an option. Post Covid-19 we have reached a technology dependency level that is worrisome (see remote hacking), problematic for young people (see social media impact), positive/negative impact on depression in older adults. But when viewed in aggregate, lack of access may be worse. Consider categories like smartphones and text messaging, voice assistants, wearables, cameras, computers, tablets, digital health, medication management, home security services, fall detection, fintech, hearables, location tracking, online shopping and more. What? You know older adults who could use a few of those categories, but likely are not. Why not? Perhaps they are worried about barriers, from A to Z:

A new data source to help track technology adoption and interest

It’s a slog searching for data about tech adoption of older adults.  So many years of searching and trying to understand gaps in adoption, less and less usable data. Survey organizations exist that track adoption by age (think Pew Research, Nielsen, AARP) – but the frequency with which they publish surveys about technology has diminished over the years.  Checking out the main page of Pew, for example. See how so many other topics are more click-worthy than their Internet and Technology material.  AARP’s tech surveys are annual – and this year slipped into April. Others like Forrester, Gartner, and Parks Associates survey, but do very little analysis based on age.

Five intriguing new offerings for older adults

Innovation is booming in categories to help older adults.   Perhaps it’s not surprising that innovation focused on older adults is ramping up – mitigating issues of social isolation, wander risk and safety, engagement, caregiving, financial management and many other categories. Not only was last year a bad year for older adult life expectancy at 65, the older adult (65+) population is still growing and a sizable number, particularly women, will live an average of nearly 20 additional years.

AI, Broadband, Privacy and Flip phones – Four blog posts from July 2021

Nobody wants to live in a nursing home. Yeah, yeah. We get it. The NY Times offers up an opinion echoing what Politico writers and all older adults believe -- until the need actually arises. You’ve read those echo chamber opinions (and about the Green House alternatives with 10 residents each) for the past 19 years. The traditional nursing home model of 100+ residents (funded by Medicare for rehab and Medicaid for long term stays) was declared dead in 2009. Still, there are at least 1.4 million seniors who live in traditional nursing homes today. Why? You know why. Older adults with dementia or other high-care health issues, economies of scale for staffing, cost of private pay assisted living, cost of private pay home care, no near-by or any family members. No news there. Changing the subject, here are four blog posts from July 2021:

Flip phones make no sense for older adults

Consider AARP’s list of flip and smart phones. AARP just published a puzzling guide article about smartphones targeted to older adults.  Note the article and the commentary that accompanied it – (and don’t get distracted by the paragraph explaining megapixels).  You may be struck by multiple aspects of this article – in addition to the phone makers you haven’t heard of. The IDC VP refers to older adults as senior citizens, for one, the T-Mobile exec lumping older adults into 55+ segment in a sweeping generalization of being ‘value conscious.’   Okay, enough being snippy.

The A’s have it: Amazon and Apple surprise/dismay this week

Apple recognizes that aging is at the core of a device/health strategy.  Several features were announced at Apple’s developer conference this week that were specifically relevant for an older demographic. Perhaps that population, likely aged 70+, may not (yet) have an iPhone or an Apple Watch. Noting the tech adoption gaps cited by AARP (wearables) and Pew (smartphones), Apple wants to change that, whether via family member gifts and/or pressure, possibly from healthcare providers. iPhones will offer real-time assessment of walking steadiness and fall risk, based on balance, stability and coordination while carrying the phone, not the watch. In addition, Apple added ‘opt-in’ health data sharing with other iOS users, such as aging parents, so that caregivers or family can see any worrisome trends like fall risk. No, data can’t be shared with Android or PC users. Why not, since, oddly, those users can launch a FaceTime call? Just because.  

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