Most senior citizens in the U.S. are already cell-phone-and-computer-savvy; nearly 80 percent of seniors 65 and older own a cell phone, while more than 60 percent own a computer or laptop. However, the use of other tech gadgets (i.e. smartphones and tablets) have yet to catch on in the “gray market,” as no more than 25 percent of U.S. seniors use either device.
With 10,000 Americans turning 65 daily—a trend expected to last for the next 17 years—the number of seniors using more tech devices should increase, as well. This bodes well for seniors, their families and friends and the digital market. For seniors not yet plugged in, making the transition from analog to digital is becoming simpler and is more practical now that tech and digital development experts are catering more to the needs of the boomer generation. Below are just a few ways that technology is benefiting seniors.
Apps for Everyday Use
There are other helpful apps, as well. One app—EyeReader—actually allows a person to use his or her smartphone as a magnifying glass for reading. Park’n'Forget is an app even younger generations might find useful, as it helps users remember where they parked their cars. It also has a timer on it to keep track of how long you’ve been parked, which is helpful when you’re in metered parking.
Apps for Safety
Start-up company Lively is a remote monitoring system for seniors that learns daily routines like taking pills, sticking to meal times and exercise. The sensors connect to a smartphone app, so family members can keep track of their loved one without compromising his or her privacy. Certain sensors are attached to items in the house, like pill boxes, the pantry or refrigerator and can even keep track of a user through a key fob that uses a Bluetooth low energy transmitter, in case one wanders past a certain range from home. Through the app on family members’ smartphones, they are alerted and updated on progress and activities.
What keeps seniors more independent is the ability to be mobile without their loved ones worrying about them falling or getting into an accident without them knowing. Devices like the GreatCall Splash are new, mobile-esque gadgets that allow a senior the freedom of leaving their home to shop or visit friends without worrying there could be an emergency and no way to call for help. While other press-a-button alert devices are still useful for the home, this device provides seniors security beyond their houses, giving them the ability to travel with only a button-click away from getting assistance from a 5Star Agent with the GreatCall Splash plan.
Support is Always Available, Just In Case
For many seniors, new technology can be so overwhelming that some people avoid it all together. In order for seniors to become more tech-savvy, new age companies have not only made devices more user-friendly, but many are offering easy “how-to” sites for seniors to help them learn new tech with step-by-step processes.
For example, the FaceTime app is a wonderful way for seniors to see and talk to faraway relatives through smartphones and iPads. How to even get to that app can be somewhat frustrating for some seniors. Dummies.com is really just a site that makes things simple for users. For instance, it has step-by-step directions for helping new users FaceTime using an iPad 2.
One reason many seniors avoid using technology is that, unaware of the options for protecting personal information and financial data, many of them are susceptible to identity theft. Big wireless corporations like Google, Apple and Samsung, as well as the four national service carriers have started a campaign to push the importance of data security for devices—with seniors specifically in mind. Lawmakers are lobbying for local and state governments to make “kill switches” mandatory on phones. The campaign is seeking laws where all phones manufactured in the U.S. after July 2015 be equipped with anti-theft features that include data wipe and lock capabilities, which can be reversed with the user’s password.