July 27, 2020

How Technology Is Helping Seniors Live Better Lives

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Technology has become such a major part of individuals’ lives, that it’s becoming increasingly challenging to function without it. Whether it’s getting driving directions from an app, or keeping in touch with friends on social media, almost every aspect of day-to-day life is influenced by technology.

Much to some people’s surprise, it’s no different for older adults, who, while they have the reputation for being technological luddites, are much more “tuned in” than expected. 

Research shows that over half (three in five) seniors consider themselves “tech savvy,” and while two thirds consider a downside to technology–they’re worried that it will have a negative impact on future generations–it’s actually helping them to live longer, healthier lives.

How senior citizens using technology, image from seniors.com/au
Senior citizens use technology just like many of us do! Image from: Seniors.com/au.

Take, for example, medical advice. Seniors need to be aware of health concerns and spot symptoms early, and it’s important that they’re able to find the information that they need regarding their health, through taking advantage of telecare and telewellness.

Almost half of older adults (two in five) check symptoms online before consulting a doctor, and while three quarters will eventually seek the advice of a doctor after checking online for a potential diagnosis, almost all seniors would trust the word of their doctor over the online diagnosis.

This access to information is helping seniors better understand what is happening with their health, and to have more productive discussions with their doctors.

Senior Citizen Technology Usage Statistics

Healthcare isn’t the only area where seniors are embracing technology; in fact, 84% of seniors say that they’re willing to consider adopting new technologies, 71% say they’re comfortable learning how to use new technology on their own, and 69% are comfortable that they’ll be able to keep up with future technology innovations.

Why Do Seniors Use Technology?

What are they looking to technology for? Well, information, such as the medical advice mentioned above, but also to stay connected with friends and family online. Seniors love social media: four in five report that they use social media platforms, and those that do spending 12 hours a week on average on social media.

Seniors use social media for three particular reasons:

1)     It helps them stay in contact with family and friends (87%)

2)     It keeps them informed on news and current events (66%)

3)     It reduces feelings of isolation (62%)

Seniors are traveling and exploring the world in greater numbers than ever before. Many are choosing to spend retirement overseas, or at least spend substantial amounts of time away from home. Social media is an important tool in enabling seniors to be more flexible with their movements and use of time, by ensuring they still have that link back to home and the news.

And social media isn’t all. Live streaming is a huge attraction for older adults. More than a third of seniors would be happy to attend a wedding online via a stream (34.9%), and birthday (37.7%). Twenty-seven percent would even be use technology to watch a funeral if they had to. When seniors say that social media enables them to stay in touch, they do mean with regards to even the most significant events, that they might otherwise miss out on.

Senior Citizens Technology Fears

Despite the elderly using technology more than ever before, that doesn’t mean they aren’t wary about technology at times as well. In fact, seniors share many of the same base concerns about technology as everyone else does, including:

1) Scams:

Seniors know that there are scams out there, from malicious emails, through to promotional deals that are too good to be true. However, seniors also recognize that their technology understanding might not be up to immediately spotting every scam directed at them.

2) Limitations from Disabilities:

Many seniors suffer from joint pain in the hands, or declining eyesight, and, without necessarily knowing that there are solutions to these issues in technology, this might stop them from embracing technology.

3) It’s Time Consuming:

Many seniors develop a sense and frustration in using social media, finding that it takes up too much of their time and energy to keep across everything that is going on. They can also suffer from FOMO (fear or missing out) because of this. 

4) Privacy Concerns:

Seniors know that when they’re on the Internet, their data can be collected, and that sense of surveillance can make them hesitant in how they use the Internet.

Seniors & Technology: We're All in This Together

The idea that seniors don’t embrace technology is a myth. Seniors love technology for what it brings to their lives, while maintaining the same healthy concerns for the safety of the Internet, that we should all share.

from blog

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