Thrive In Place Blog

How can technology be made more accessible to older adults?

When we think of technology and the use of digital devices, images of young adults, often with their eyes glued to the screen, tend to come to mind. One demographic that is often ignored but would deeply benefit from more technology is individuals at or above retirement age. 

Technology firm Cisco Systems along with Independent Age, a British nonprofit that advocates on behalf of older adults, recently published a report praising technological solutions and discussing ways in which older adults can be encouraged to embrace digital technology. 

Here are some of their suggestions: 

  • Create age-appropriate designs – Products with small screens and tiny buttons are not going to attract many older buyers. They want devices that are simple and uncomplicated. Special equipment and additional accessories are usually unpopular with this demographic. 
  • Emphasize the need for technology – Some older adults are of the idea that technology is something for young people and serves no purpose for folks a bit more advanced in age. These individuals will need to be convinced that technology can improve their well being by keeping them connected with friends and preventing social isolation
  • Improve marketing – Technology advertising seems to be at two extremes. At one end, young consumers are courted with gimmicks that would only make sense to their generation. At the other end of the spectrum are ads for frail and elderly people. Older adults in good health — no matter their actual age — are unlikely to identify with such people. 
  • Relieve anxieties – Many older adults are excited about the prospect of using a computer or tablet but at the same time are apprehensive. Fears about breaking a device or using it "wrong" can deter them from becoming more involved in learning about the benefits of technology. It's important for caregivers and family members to be patient and supportive while introducing older adults to technological devices. 

"Our view is that technology, if deployed in the right way, as a supplement to and an enabler of direct contact, can help older people to maintain and develop social support networks," the report states. "Some aspects of technology have obvious benefits. Email and voice over internet calls can enable quick and cheap contact with friends and relatives across the globe."

Independa's CloudCare solution has been designed with the needs of seniors in mind. By using a technology that seniors are most comfortable with, the television, and designing an easy-to-use interface accessible by the standard TV remote, Independa offers a one-of-a-kind platform to coordinate care and social engagement for older adults. With our solution, older adults can chat with friends directly on their TVs, as well as get gentle reminders for appointments or medications and much more. Contact us today through our online form to learn more or request a demo.

How are the older adults in your life embracing technology? Tell us on our Facebook page!

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  • Our guests use the video chat and photo and message sharing features of Independa to stay connected with their families. In fact this week we admitted a guest who has a daughter in Georgia and another in Italy. I spoke with the daughter about how to share photos and messages and to make video calls from her Independa device, and later went to see the guest about how it was going. She said to me “Kelly this video chat is so cool! I don’t care how long I have to be in here now because I can see my daughters!” It’s just amazing to see one of our guests be able to connect with a loved one all the way from Italy!

    Kelly Miles, Director of Rec Therapy
  • You don’t need to keep calling me now to remind me, my TV just told me to take my medication!

    93 Year Old Independa User
  • I love that Dad can get digital photos now. He didn’t want a Facebook account so the only time he would see any photos was when we came over to visit and we’d show him on our iPhone. Now he gets them himself on the TV all the time, and when people come to visit him he proudly shows them his photo album on the TV.

    USA Properties
  • I’ve been using video chat and it has opened up my world – my family who live close by still visit once a week, but now I get to see them every day. I also get to see the rest of the family who live interstate and can’t come to visit. I also video chat with old friends who I haven’t seen for years. It has made such a big difference to my life, I don’t feel isolated anymore. I highly recommend this to other people; it really does change your life.

    USA Properties
  • I live in California, my 80 year-old dad lives in Texas and my 21 year-old daughter lives in Colorado. My daughter spends all her time on social media using her smart phone, whereas my dad spends all his time watching TV, he doesn’t understand social media and doesn’t have a smart phone. Independa is great because not only does it bring us closer despite the geographical distance between us, it bridges the gap between the generations because it uses the technology they are most comfortable with.

    USA Properties
  • We use the video chat feature in the resident’s TV to get the entire circle of care together at once; we will have the nurse and the physical therapist in the room with the resident, and we will then video call their family. That way everyone who is involved in their care gets the same message at the same time and can ask questions while we are present so there is no confusion. One time when we were working with a deaf resident, we were able to arrange for her daughter to sign via video chat and translate what we were saying and the questions her mother had; it made such a huge difference.

    Wellbridge at Brighton
  • My dad was on the Honor Flight to DC today. An amazing trip for a veteran. I was able to meet him at the Korean War Memorial. He is a Korean War veteran. I was able to send pictures of the entire experience to my mom at home throughout the day. Mom was thrilled, and when my dad gets home he has all the pictures from his trip on his TV and can even play a slideshow. Amazing!!! Thank you!

    Kendal At Home
  • Video chat on the TV is great! I was using FaceTime on my iPad to see the grandkids and I thought that was the greatest thing, but seeing them all on the big TV is truly incredible, it’s like they are in the room with me. I love it!

    USA Properties
  • When Lillian broke her hip a week before her Grandson’s wedding, she and the family were broken hearted because they thought she would have to miss this very special day. Thankfully, she had chosen Wellbridge of Brighton for her short-term rehab. “I’m going to my Grandson’s wedding” she proudly told the staff as she received the video call through her TV and was instantly ‘seated’ in the front row for the ceremony!

    Wellbridge of Brighton
  • I travel a lot for work. I used to worry myself sick about not being able to be there if Mom needed me. She says the smartphone I got her is too small, too complicated, and hard to see, but she loves using Independa. Now she can see all her shows and we can video chat so I can make sure she’s taking her medicine. It’s such a relief to check in anytime and know she’s OK.

    Laura P.