This is an illustration of an older man & woman using a laptop.

Technology Use Among Older Adults

Technology use among older adults is becoming increasingly popular as the population ages, and the rewards of technology for older adults are vast.

In a survey conducted by Home Instead Senior Care, over 90% of seniors agreed that technology could help them stay independent as they age. 

This indicates that many older adults are open to adopting new technologies for health, safety, and quality of life improvements.

With advancements in modern technology, older adults can stay connected with friends and family, access information quickly, and find new ways to engage in their interests.

By understanding the different types of technology available to them, older individuals can take advantage of the many opportunities that technology can provide.

We will explore:

  • how technology is being used by older adults
  • the benefits it can provide
  •  possible challenges technology could pose for older people 
  • how to overcome the challenges of technology 

This site contains affiliate links. We may receive a commission if you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links.

The benefits of using technology

Older adults can benefit greatly from incorporating technology into their everyday lives. 

Here are some benefits of technology use for seniors:

  • Helps alleviate loneliness and isolation
  • The ability to communicate with friends and family.
  • Access online resources and services.
  • Feeling safer because of safety alert devices.
  • Enhanced mental health.
  • Increased independence.

How older persons are using technology:

Here are a few of the many devices and platforms to help older adults utilize technology.

  • Video communication devices: such as GrandPad (as an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying  purchases.) or Meta Portal, can help an individual see their families’ faces and communicate directly with them.
  • Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter provide a means for them to stay connected with their loved ones and participate in shared activities.
    They can also access the following online resources and services, by utilizing computers or their smartphones:
  • Financial services
  • Online learning courses
  • Shopping opportunitiesAccording to a survey by TheStrategist, older adults shop online frequently & 69% say they find Amazon as their best place to shop online.
  • Tele-health services-allow older people to connect with doctors or other healthcare providers from the comfort of their own homes. They can offer patients immediate feedback. 
  • Many older adults embraced technology for virtual doctor’s appointments during the pandemic.The number of tele-medicine visits increased by approximately 300% between March and July of 2020.
  • You can learn more about other available tech products for seniors in my post The Best Self-Care Products for Older Adults.

Seniors can also access information on health and medical topics and utilize wearable technology.

Fitness trackers and smartwatches can help monitor their health and wellness.

The Amazfit Bip 5 Smart Watch, is a popular smartwatch choice for older persons. This model has an ultra large screen. It can track your heart rate and monitor your blood oxygen.

Some types of wearable tech can track things such as: 

  • heart rate 
  • sleep patterns
  • physical activity levels.
  • All of these provide the benefit of valuable insights for them to stay healthy and active. 

Yet another benefit includes the use of medical alert devices & systems that can be life-savers for seniors when they fall or have an emergency.

Some of these medical alert devices, include wearable devices, and systems that are wall-mounted in the home and voice activated. 

You can find more information at https://topmedalerts.com  

social worker and older woman looking at a laptop.

The challenges of using technology

For older adults, using computers and other technology can be intimidating and challenging. 

Many older adults may not be familiar with the latest technology, making it difficult to understand how to use it.

Thus, it can be hard for them to adapt to the ever-changing digital world.

Other common obstacles that older people may face when using computers are physical disabilities, such as poor vision or decreased motor skills. 

This is where assistive technology can help.

Assistive technology such as voice-to-text typing, can eliminate the need for manual typing and is commonly available through accessibility settings on most devices.

This technology can greatly benefit individuals with physical disabilities, arthritis, or hand pain.

Individuals with visual impairments may benefit from a larger screen and further assistance through accessibility settings.

Another challenge is that many older adults may lack the financial resources to purchase the latest devices or access the internet.

Fortunately, there are some government sponsored programs available for seniors that offer very low cost telephone and internet benefits.

One such program is the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program.

More information on this specific program can be found at https://www.affordableconnectivity.gov/

Ways to overcome the challenges

 
  1. Ask for help. Most people have family members or friends who are more familiar with technology and they can be a great resource when learning how to use devices.
  2. Attend a class. Many libraries, senior centers and other organizations offer classes on how to use various types of technology, from basic computer skills to more advanced topics. 
  3. These classes are typically offered at a minimal cost or even for free, so don’t hesitate to take advantage of them.
  4. Take it slow. Technology can be overwhelming for some, so it’s important to take it step-by-step. Don’t try to learn everything at once – start with the basics and gradually work your way up.
  5. Make use of tutorials. Tutorials are a great way to learn how to use a particular device or program. There are plenty of resources available online as well as in books and magazines.
  6. Join online groups. Connecting with other people who use technology can be incredibly helpful, as you can get advice, tips, and support from experienced users.
    There are many online forums and social media groups that cater specifically to older adults and technology users.                                                                         

Conclusion

Using technology doesn’t have to be intimidating . 

By following these tips and asking for help when needed, older adults can easily become comfortable with the technology they need to stay connected and engaged in today’s digital world. 

It’s important to note that not all seniors have the same preferences or level of tech adoption. 

Some may be more tech-savvy and open to using a wider range of products, while others may prefer simpler and more specialized devices tailored to their specific needs.

Overall, it’s clear that technology has a lot to offer seniors! 

illusration of 2 older people taking a selfie.