There is a new face of technology, and it comes with years of wisdom (and maybe some wrinkles). The 2014 census report predicts that the 65 and older population in America will reach 98.2 million by 2060; out of that number, 19.7 million will be 85 or older.[i] With the aging boom, more tech companies are considering the senior population an untouched market for new product development to help keep seniors healthy and independent. So what do seniors think of using technology to help them age in place? Many would say that seniors are resistant to technology and unmoving in their ability to change and adapt. Research shows otherwise. New studies are showing that more seniors are willing to learn new technology and are finding it very beneficial. [ii],[iii],[iv]
Attitude Towards Technology
With the desire to stay independent yet still connected, more seniors are open to the idea of using or are already using technology in their everyday lives. A 2017 study showed 4 in 10 adults in the U.S. age 65+ own a smart phone, a number that has risen 24 percent since 2013.[v] More seniors are going online as well, with 67% of adults 65 and older reporting that they use the internet.[v] According to AARP, for those over 50 who own a smart phone, 28% use it to manage or receive medical care and 29% use it to learn information about health and fitness.[vi] Moreover, the age group using their phone the most to help focus on their health is 60-69 year olds.
Besides using technology for health-related reasons, most seniors (91%!) who use technology report that they use it to stay in contact with friends and family, with more women than men in this age category using social media and texting.[vi] As more research is conducted, studies are showing that seniors want to use and engage with new technology, with 79%of seniors responding that those who do not use the internet are at a disadvantage.[vii]
In addition to seniors using the internet or smart phone to improve health and independence, there is a surge in other new technology and equipment to help keep seniors safe in their homes. Many can remember the Life Alert commercial with the slogan, “Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” Since the 1980s and ‘90s, advances have been made beyond wearing a pendant around your neck. Older adults now have the option of bracelets, shoe inserts, or even wall mounted sensors in their home, and there is an emerging field of “passive monitoring” with data analytics that can monitor a senior’s location in the home, frequency of bathroom trips, sleep quality, and appetite.[vii], [ix]
There are also new devices, not created specifically for the senior market, that can be used to help seniors more safely age in place, such as motion detection lights, video doorbells and smart thermostats. All of the data from these devices can be viewed by the user or by a designated family member through a smart phone.7
A different type of monitoring, called “automated hovering”extends to devices that monitor medical symptoms such as blood pressure or glucose levels for those with chronic conditions, with the goal of addressing changes in symptoms before they become an emergency.[x], [xi] Some may resist both of these as feeling too invasive, but more are seeing themas ways to stay safer and healthier in their own home while providing their family greater peace of mind.
Benefits of Using Technology
Beyond helping seniors safely age in place, there are other important benefits for seniors using technology. It can increase the ability to socialize by talking, texting, and video chatting with friends and family members, as well as making social media websites accessible. This can be very beneficial for seniors who are socially isolated due to physical ailments or living in rural areas, or for those whose loved ones live far away.[iii] Monitoring technology also can eliminate, lessen, or delay the need for in-home help or a move to a higher (and much more expensive) level of care, such as assisted living. The goal for all of these products and services is to support aging place with dignity.
ConnectedForYou: A Stand-out in theSenior Technology Market
While passive monitoring devices can be helpful, ConnectedForYou (CFY) provides older adults with the benefits of both technology and human connection. Seniors are paired with a dedicated CFY health partner, who will connect with them remotely on at least a weekly basis to assess and address issues around the senior’s wellbeing.
Using an iPhone (provided by CFY, if needed), the older adult is empowered to increase his or her connectivity to the world while having a dedicated health partner to help navigate the everyday issues and challenges that often come with aging. ConnectedForYou uses a customizable, simple app that the senior adult not only can use for well-being reporting but it helps seniors feel more comfortable trying and using other apps on their phone, boosting their confidence in using their phone for reasons other than the CFY program. Then, CFY’s weekly video chats between the older adult and their CFY health partner not only allow for practical guidance and a reduction in social isolation but can open a new world in which the senior is able to video chat with their grandkids or other family members who live far away.
With the burgeoning elderly population, new approaches to senior care must be evaluated and new tech-based solutions weighed. ConnectedForYou offers a high tech, yet personal, approach to helping keep seniors independent in their homes. With more seniors open to using technology in their everyday lives, consider ConnectedForYou for yourself or for the older adult in your life who needs extra support but wants to remain independent as they age in place.