What’s app with that?
How seniors are embracing technology

The very fact that you’re reading this blog shows that you’re in the technology loop. Maybe you’re reading it on a desktop computer or a laptop. Or you could be accessing it through a tablet or smartphone. No matter what route you’re taking, more and more seniors are embracing technology.

In fact, according to a new analysis of Pew Research Center data, 67% of baby boomers (age 54 to 72) now use smartphones—up from 25% in 2011. Of those age 73 to 90, 30% now use smartphones—also a significant increase. As for the internet, 83% of boomers go online, as do 52% of the 73 to 90 age group.

Importantly, the vast majority of those who go online think the internet has been good for them personally. There’s no doubt that we’ve come a long way in technology over the last 70-80 years. The progression is nothing short of amazing:

  • Rotary phones, party lines and telephone operators è cordless landline phones è mobile flip phones è smartphones
  • Visiting in person è visiting over the phone è live video phone chats with people across the globe
  • Going to the library to do research è “Googling” any question about any subject and getting an instant response

Experts say that roughly 10% of seniors are completely onboard with all the latest technology—and are as up-to-speed as the younger generation. On the other end of the spectrum, roughly 10% have no interest in technology—and probably would still use a rotary landline phone if they could! That leaves 80% of seniors in the middle who have adopted at least some technology, such as a mobile phone or email.

 

Learning two modes of communication in one lifetime

Unlike Millennials (those currently age 23 to 38) who either grew up with computers or at least got a taste of computers while in school, older adults are starting from scratch. Though a computer keyboard is basically the same as the old manual Remington typewriter on which seniors learned to type, that’s where the similarities stop. There’s a whole new language to learn with computers, including cut and paste, creating files and saving documents…not to mention learning how to use a printer.

Though the learning curve for new technology can be a bit steep at times, the benefits pay off in multiple ways.

  • Email and text messages make it easier to stay in touch with friends and family.
  • Video conferencing like Skype and FaceTime make it possible to have a live “face-to-face” chat with loved ones who live far away.
  • Apps such as MyFitnessPal, Smart Blood Pressure and Medisafe medication reminder help seniors manage fitness, health and medications.

Many seniors learn how to use new technology from their children or grandchildren. Others take classes, like the computer classes offered at Sierra Winds. The important thing is to keep an open mind, because technology offers real benefits for users.

To learn more about the technology and computer classes available to residents at Sierra Winds Life Care Retirement Community, call 623-977-0807. We welcome you and your family to join us for a tour and complimentary lunch in the Sierra Bistro.

 

Source: “Millennials stand out for their technology use, but older generations also embrace digital life.” Pew Research Center, Washington, D.C. May 2, 2018. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/05/02/millennials-stand-out-for-their-technology-use-but-older-generations-also-embrace-digital-life/