Sally Perkins, Freelance Writer and Content Manager.
As members of the 21st century, we come into contact with technological advancements every single day, but they’ve been so beautifully integrated into our daily lives that we tend not to notice them. For the elderly however, who have lived a great proportion of their lives without such advancements, the daily use of technology can seem unnecessary and even alien.
Technology and the elderly
Despite the initial fears or rejections, the benefits of senior-specific technologies are undeniable. New products and services are being developed for seniors all the time, offering improvements related to mobility, safety, communication and personal growth. A recent poll undertaken by Gransnet, an over-50s social networking site, claims that almost three-quarters of older people in the UK are lonely, with more than half choosing to hide how they feel from loved ones.
The poll also reveals interesting findings related to the elderly and technology. Figures state that 59% of the elderly don’t feel so lonely thanks to social media and 82% find talking about loneliness much easier when anonymous and online. The good news is that technology for the elderly is growing into quite a healthy industry with solutions that promise many benefits for the target audience on a daily basis.
1. Technologies for independent living
One of the most liberating areas of elderly tech development relates to independent living, with designs and inventions that allow the aging population to live in the comfort of their own homes without placing themselves at risk. Pensioners can choose between devices and systems that remind them to take medication, keep their homes safe and reduce the need to pay for home help or special care.
A number of companies offer innovative technologies that place discreet sensors in the home so that adult children can monitor their ageing parents through a wireless monitoring connection and be on hand to offer help if necessary. These technological advancements offer peace of mind and allow seniors to remain completely independent for as long as possible.
2. Educational technologies
What’s particularly interesting about the current climate is that senior technologies are not confined to simply keeping pensioners safe. New ideas related to personal growth are being developed to show the senior target audience that life begins at 65. The adoption of technology as part of the daily routine is a trend that’s growing among older adults, with women aged 75 and online in the UK almost trebling since 2011.
For this reason online learning opportunities for the elderly are becoming more and more popular, making it possible for students of any age to develop a new skill, or learn about a new area of study, and receive tuition from some of the most accredited educational institutions located all around the world. Indeed, many of the virtual courses offered to pensioners are free, taking the difficulty of financing these opportunities out of the equation.
3. Social Technologies
Similarly, love and friendship can knock on our doors at any age, which is why special social media platforms for the elderly are becoming more attractive.
One particular case, as reported by the UK Telegraph, confirmed that one in four over-65s use social media after a huge rise in what’s been deemed “Instagrans”. According to the Telegraph’s review, a number of charities working with the elderly believe that Facebook is a convenient place to connect with family and friends, and keeps the elderly in touch with grandchildren. There are a number of senior social media sites designed to help seniors find friends to go on holiday with, to go out to dinner with, or to attend activities of interest with. Some of the older population use these sites to search for romantic companionship as well.
As even more systems and devices find their way onto the market, and technology becomes easier to use, it’s likely that interest among the elderly will also continue to rise. We wonder what treasures might be in store for this demographic in 2018!