Contribution: Seniors are not averse to technology. We’re not just designing for them

The elderly are certainly less technically savvy than the younger generation who grew up with it. My parents come from the World War II generation, the Internet can be said to be long before personal computers. Trying to help my elderly mom with email is a challenge. But just because someone doesn’t know how to use TikTok, just because a nonfangible token or how WiFi works doesn’t mean they’re tech-savvy.

Of course, it is difficult for seniors to adapt to the new technology. Even so, most older people have a smartphone and often post on social media and video chat with their grandchildren.

Many digital health companies mistakenly assume that some older people first struggle with new technology, they are the complete opposite. The problem is that digital healthcare companies often fail to design products with seniors in mind.

With the virtual health boom, a wave of innovation and new technology is making it possible for older adults at home. This explosion of consumer-centric digital health is primarily about reversing the delivery of healthcare – from patient periodic healthcare system inspections to a system where healthcare is in our back pocket 24/7 in our terms.

For seniors who are physically less mobile and may lack transportation and companionship, this concept is even more important. The technology can greatly benefit older people, making it convenient and secure to connect with healthcare professionals and follow virtual health plans in their own home. Indeed, the use of technology among people aged 50 and over has skyrocketed during the epidemic, according to an AARP report. Over the past decade, older people have increasingly embraced technologies such as smartphones and tablets and used social media, according to the Pew Research Center. Commercially, the elderly make up a good portion of the population, and by 2020 the cost of Medicare will make up about 20% of the total national healthcare expenditure of about $ 830 billion.

The growing definition of ‘adult’

The definition of “old” is not the same as before. The next generation of seniors will spend most of their middle years using the Internet, smartphones, tablets and various software applications, leaving them in a better position to navigate the next iteration of high-tech gizmos and gadgets. Soon there will be no generation that is not involved in the day-to-day operations of technology.

For better or worse, the guarantee of retirement is not the same as before, because more people continue to work after 65 – either they have to, or they want to. According to a 2021 survey, about one in five seniors said they plan to work after age 70, and another 12% said they would work full time for the rest of their lives. The image of a senior sitting in a rocking chair drinking lemonade all day is no longer accurate, if it ever was. For those who are working on their golden year, many will continue to use new and relevant technology on a regular basis.

Seniors use technology that is helpful to them

Trying to grasp the latest technology can be overwhelming and frustrating for seniors. But then coming to the conclusion that most older people hate technology is completely wrong.

Two years into the epidemic, older people, like everyone else, had to get more comfortable with virtual health technology. Elderly people with chronic health conditions, mobility problems or other healthcare risks are willing to turn to virtual healthcare services and products so that they do not have to give up. Home. Aging at home is a trend that is expected to grow in the coming years, and digital health care providers are targeting the elderly population.

Digital health needs to be easy, non-abrasive for seniors

There is a need for digital health to improve the lives of seniors, and there is a growing interest among seniors to use technology. All that is needed for digital health companies is to meet this moment by designing non-friction services and products. That means clever sensor out. In fact, the hardware is completely bass. Forget about telling a senior to violate with sensors that require Bluetooth or WiFi. The user interface should be simple, straightforward, straightforward.

In addition to making digital health as easy as possible for older people to use, a human-centered approach to product care needs to be taken. Covid-19 is not just an epidemic; It has also fueled the epidemic of segregation, especially in the elderly. Digital health technology should not disconnect fuels but connect connections. With one click or finger tap, a senior should be able to communicate with a health instructor, initiate a video call with a medical professional, or follow a practice routine from their phone, tablet, or desktop computer. Relationships and trust building are essential, as is the need to have a virtual support team who can monitor seniors and intervene if necessary.

Sadly, American culture does not value its older population as much as possible, giving rise to the negative stereotype that seniors are less capable, especially when it comes to technology. Yes, there is a generation gap, but that does not mean that digital health care providers will regard seniors as irrelevant. The epidemic has highlighted the need for more digital health solutions targeting seniors, and research shows that they are willing to embrace new technologies. Older people deserve new digital health technology just as much – if not more – than younger people.


Mark Luck OlsonMark Luck Olson is the CEO of RecoveryOne, a digital health innovator dedicated to improving the cost and quality of recovery from all types of muscular (MSK) injuries. A 30-year healthcare veteran, Olson has worked closely with executives in the healthcare market to accelerate efficiency and top-line growth. He has built a reputation as a health technology strategist who can reveal the potential of an organization. He holds an MBA from the Sloan School of Business at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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