Fitting Technology into the Senior Community

Most people believe the narrative that senior citizens hate technology, when in fact they may just dislike how it doesn’t match their needs. That’s why creating tech that fit the needs of senior citizens and has a low barrier of entry is crucial in terms of grabbing a seat at the table in this industry.

According to the Pew Research Center, when seniors were asked how they would learn how to use new technology, only a small proportion of seniors—18%—express comfort with learning how to do so without assistance, while 77% indicate that they would need someone else to help them. This shows that there is already an initial barrier to entry, as adoption of new tech for seniors is already a more arduous process.  Getting seniors to adopt and to use tech isn’t impossible by any stretch. A 2013 study published in the Journal of Gerontological Nursing showed that seniors are willing to adopt new technologies when their usefulness and usability surpassed feelings of personal inadequacy and general negativity toward new technology.

Technology based around basic concerns involved with aging have been able to hurdle the barriers mentioned above. The reason for this is that the technology is developed with senior users in mind, meaning that everything involving the elderly operator is designed to be straightforward and simple, two qualities that seniors’ value in technology.  For example, let’s take a look common issue in the senior community, isolation and loneliness. According to a University of California, San Francisco study, participants 60 years old and older who reported feeling lonely saw a 45% increase in their risk of death.

With isolation and loneliness being a massive issue in the senior community, a company called GrandPad designed an innovative device with features for connecting with loved ones, without the complicated features of other tablets. The large buttons and intuitive interface make using the tablet much easier and natural for seniors who are ready to start video chatting and sharing memories with family and friends, no matter how far away they are. This is an excellent example of how technology was designed to fit naturally into the life of a senior citizen.

GeriJoy is another example of tech that is simple for seniors. Their Caregiving Companion is built to address many of the unique challenges faced by seniors and their families. The GeriJoy Companion uses a special tablet, a remote team of human caregivers and advanced computer intelligence systems, to provide personalized, around-the-clock emotional support and real, stimulating social interactions. Seniors involved with Gerijoy tend to be less lonely, because they always have someone to talk to. Their health improves, because they always have someone reminding them about important things like medication and exercise. And their family relationships and mental function improve, because they’re happier and more engaged with their environment.

Technology like this is invaluable to the insurance industry, as it will lower long term health costs related to common senior issues. With better care and tech based on prevention, health concerns will lessen for seniors willing to adopt technology.

Everything above is why Upward Labs has created an Aged Care specific incubation program. We want to help nurture the next wave of innovation in this industry by providing first-rate resources to startups that are working hard to make a difference for senior citizens. By offering knowledgeable mentors, pilot programs and so much more, we believe that the future of this industry will be happening right in our space in downtown Hartford, Connecticut.

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