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computers, internet and social networking

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computers, internet and social networking

The Digital Divide -- Why haven't all older adults crossed it?

A hot topic now – crossing the so-called ‘Digital Divide’.  It’s ironic – the topic has been under discussion forever. Long ago, in a world far, far, away – it was easy for the oldest to say that they don’t see the benefit in technology, Internet access or other devices.  That was pre-pandemic of course. In 2020, the divide looks like a chasm, depending on how it is viewed. What will close it?  What is the missing link? More training?  Discounted devices?  Free Internet?  Grandchildren photos?  Worsening social isolation?  Telehealth visits?  And do we mean ‘Digital Divide’ – or do we really mean Internet Access Divide? Or is it the smartphone ownership divide? The how-do-I-use-this-thing divide? And what does it mean for one's life to be on the wrong side?

Four Technology and Aging Blog Posts from November 2020

November revealed a growing sense of urgency about older adults. What has been the impact on them of the daily onslaught of Covid-19 statistics? What about nine months of ceaseless updates about case counts? Has this produced a permanent fear of contact with others, including families, especially on holidays? Public-private partnerships are forming to bring devices and products to older adults, now isolated for as much as 9 months. Will that help? Tech firms are trying to boost access to the internet and devices – will this become 2021 action priority for non-profits and government? And much more will be different for an older population – the real seniors, aged 75+, perhaps previously unnoticed by media. In fact, older adults have often been ignored by marketers even as boomers have all the money.  Here are four blog posts from November:

Remote Care Technology and Older Adults - Filling in the basics 2020

Technology was essential for many adults stuck at home during the pandemic, providing some social connection, access to online shopping, home delivery services, and requests for transportation. But it also became apparent that some older adults were shut out from these due to limitations in vision, hearing, dexterity, and even dementia.  And for some, technologies were not affordable – median income of a household age 75+ is $34,925. Yet it is also becoming apparent that organizations that serve older adults realize that gaps exist. They are  increasingly motivated and will strive to ramp up efforts to deliver a greater degree of access than the numbers show today. What are the key dimensions that need to be addressed moving forward?

Future of Remote Care Technology and Older Adults 2020 -- Themes Emerge

What is the status and future of remote care technologies? As the research interviews for the 2020 report “Future of Remote Care Technology and Older Adults” wind down, a few themes become apparent. This work began in the summer of 2020 as the Covid-19 lockdown was underway. The pandemic has likely transformed the senior-focused ecosystem. It triggered ingenuity of senior care organizations and vendors; and it energized innovators and prospective investors. Reimbursement of technology was a key policy change in 2020 that fueled adoption and investment in telehealth. That change super-charged growth in telehealth-related companies that had been growing incrementally. And as senior living executives agreed early, from a technology investment standpoint there’s no turning back.

Social isolation of older adults – a problem and an opportunity

Life has been worsening for older adults – in senior living and at home.  Every day there is some new article about the impact of Covid-19 on older adults -- or another study turns up that you missed. Residents in senior living communities are having a tough time, cut off from activities and visits from family.  Isolation has produced an increase in mental health issues, loneliness and depression – and that would be for those who have a good grasp of what is going on – for those in long-term care, for those with dementia, unable to be hugged by family, it is far worse. What’s been going on with older adults in the context of social isolation and loneliness?

Five Aging and Health Technology Blog Posts from September 2020

The boomer-and-beyond market has caught the eye of the tech industry.  As a busy September wound down, new announcements in the voice first category were of particular interest. These include GreatCall’s new Lively Flip phone with voice services and the announcement that Amazon’s Alexa has added 80,000 answers to healthcare questions through a partnership with Digital Health company Sharecare. And on 9/24 Amazon announced CareHub, a way to monitor family members from afar. As if that weren’t enough, a tech track at Argentum’s annual (now virtual) conference included a session on Voice First (with Ryan Elza and Nick Patel, sponsored by CDW Healthcare) in a long list of tech enablement session entries. Also at Argentum, existing tech players added features for Covid-19 and more.  Finally, a new report details access limitations and disparate costs for high speed Internet across the US. Here are five other posts:

iN2l: 60% More Senior Living Execs Rank Engagement Tech Higher

09/22/2020

DENVER, Sept. 10, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Senior living community leaders believe engagement technology is more important now than they did last year, according to a new research report released today by iN2L, the leading provider of person-centered digital engagement to the senior living market. The report, Senior Living 2020: The State of Engagement and Technology, examines how community leaders view and value senior engagement technology now versus before the COVID-19 pandemic.

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