Brave New World - Seniors and Technology
Those over the age of 65 have traditionally been slow to embrace technology whether it be the Internet, broadband or even cellphones. It's certainly understandable as the Silent Generation and older Boomers are total immigrants to technology. It's even more difficult to keep up with a technology that morphs at warp speed! But all that is beginning to change.
Seniors are deepening their engagement in technology at a faster rate than ever before. The Pew Research Center conducted a study in the last year on seniors and technology and found that six out of ten folks over the age of 65 are now on line and almost half are broadband adopters. GPB's Tech reporter and host of "Sci Tech Now", Renay San Miguel, says social media was the catalyst that got many seniors engaged. "Facebook,", he says, "turned into the quickest way for families to get in touch, to view immediate family pictures that ten years ago you would have had to mail."
Pew also found that within the senior population, there are two levels of technology involvement. Younger, more educated and affluent seniors tend to have relatively substantial technology assets while older, less affluent and physically challenged seniors remain largely disconnected. And the simpler the device, the better. Seniors tend to shy away from laptops and smartphones, but feel more comfortable with tablets and Kindles, and cellphones.
Older people face a number of obstacles on their way to embracing technology, both physical and psychological. For many, it's a young person's pursuit and not suitable to their generation. Fear of technology, user interface issues and even the size of keyboards can all be hurdles for the elderly. Once seniors are on line, though, Pew found technology to be an integral part of their lives.
Listen to Bobbie and "Sci Tech Now"'s Renay San Miguel talk about older adults and technology use: