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.
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