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computers, broadband, and social networking

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computers, broadband, and social networking

AARP 2021 Tech Trends Survey -- is the tech glass half empty?

First the ‘good news’ about tech adoption…  According to AARP’s newest technology adoption report, just published, older adults are positive about the role technology can play in their lives during and after Covid-19. They are chatting via video, using social media livestreams and modernizing their technology. They are buying smart TVs, costly smartphones, and earbuds.  The survey reports that 20% of the 70+ age range owns a wearable, possibly a smartwatch. Also notable, considering that most wearables are still paired with them, smartphone ownership, according to this survey, has risen most sharply among those aged 70+, with 77% of responders indicating they own one. This is a number worth questioning, however, since Pew Research's most recent mobile fact sheet indicates that only 61% of the 65+ have smartphones.

PEW: 25% of seniors age 65+ are not online. That's a problem.

Pew Research just published its periodic survey about Internet use. Let’s assume consensus that growing the percentage of those using the Internet was a social good. Let’s assume that many are now concerned that older adults may have missed vaccine sign-up opportunities without access to the Internet.  Pew’s survey categories included: Age, Rural/Urban, Male-Female, Income, Race, and Education.  The result is pretty much ho-hum – if you look only at the headline – 7% of Americans Don’t use the Internet.  Let’s say that 77% of the American population are adults (using Census data). Translating the Pew number to non-users of the Internet  results in nearly 23 million people.  Not a trivial number.  Too bad there were no correlations between Age, Education, Income with Internet use.  But we can guess what we could find.

Four Aging and Health Technology Blog Posts from February 2021

Looking out toward the future – what trends matter most?  The lack of broadband access among older adults is worrisome in these days of online-only vaccine registration.  In years past, getting older adults online was a lower priority for senior advocates, social service agencies or healthcare organizations. News organizations rarely discussed tech adoption among seniors.  And survey frequency about Internet access had dwindled over a decade. Now even the Wall Street Journal tech writer searches ways to get elusive vaccine appointments scheduled for older friends and relatives. The New York Times notes that some older adults don’t have computers.  When the 2022 surveys of broadband access for the 65+ are published, will the numbers be much higher?  New government efforts are underway to offer cheaper broadband -- will older adults participate?  Stay tuned. Here are four blog posts from February 2021:

Getting Older Adults to Tech Parity in 2021

More programs are emerging to get older adults to tech parity.  Maybe 2020 was the tipping point and 2021 is the year. The first eye-opener was the OATS/Humana report about the 22 million adults 65+ who lack home broadband. Then AARP and OATS joined together to teach tech to older adults. This followed late-year 2020 activity, including the $10 million in funding for tech training company GetSetUp. And note the $18 million of funding for Papa from Comcast Ventures to combat social isolation in older adults and launch tech-enabled health offering called Papa Health. And there are efforts here and there to help seniors get or upgrade computers.

Aging and Health Technology blog posts from January 2021

Time for the Market Overview Technology for Aging 2021. It’s a new year and the baby boomers turn 75. It took the combination of 73 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. Learn more.

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.

K4Connect Unveils Digital Content Suite for Older Adults + Announces Three Partners

01/27/2021

RALEIGH, N.C., Jan. 26, 2021 — K4Connect, a mission-driven technology company that integrates the best in technology to serve and empower older adults and individuals living with disabilities, today announced partnerships with three leading content creators – Coro Health, CuriosityStream and Spiro100. All K4Connect customers will have access to these curated offerings delivered through K4Community Plus, the company’s advanced mobile and web application.

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