Technology and Aging in Place

We all hope to not only live a long life, but a meaningful one. Along with that hope however comes aging - something easily forgotten in this fast-paced age of smartphones and Wi-Fi.

With more and more of the baby boomer generation reaching the age of retirement, technology is turning its eye on how to help future retirees and those over the age of 60 maintain a good quality of life.

According to a May 2014 report published on the U.S. Census website, the number of people aged 65 years or older in the United States was estimated to be 43.1 million in 2012 - about 13 percent of the total U.S. population – or one in every eight Americans.

Furthermore, the Pew Research Center reports 59 percent or six out of 10 seniors, those over the age of 65, go online. Of those users, 47 percent of households had adapted to broadband usage. As evidenced by the multitude of YouTube videos showing grandparents accidently recording while setting up their webcams, or the infographics detailing what Internet services those more than 65 are visiting, it’s clear that the older generation is making it a priority to adapt.

Several forms of technology can be helpful to elderly who are aging at home. Whether it's being able to keep in touch better or more regularly, or just understanding daily essentials such as banking information, the benefits of using technology are vast.

Some of the benefits include:

  • Daily life ease - According to the Pew Research Center’s report, 74 percent of Americans over the age of 65 use the Internet and even 37 percent of those 80 years or older do so. That usage can help the elderly age in place more comfortably. Seventy-one percent of users take advantage of online banking and shopping. Instead of using gas, risking a drive across town or perhaps worse, not checking on accounts or purchasing essentials at all, those more than 65 years old can easily do so right from their own homes.
  • Keeping in touch made easy - Skype can allow elderly to keep in touch with family, rather than travel to them. It can also allow friends or family to connect on a more regularly basis. That kind of connection is important to keep the mind active and engaged while aging. Forty-six percent in the Pew Research Center’s survey said they use the social networking sites such as Facebook to keep in touch. Additionally, the report states that 79 percent of those over the age of 65 who use the Internet agree that those who do not are at a disadvantage.
  • Devices made easy - As technology progresses, it may appear unfriendly to those who are older. However, several apps have been created to help by making buttons larger, operating systems easier, camera actions simpler while retaining the look of any other smartphone. Silverline is a series of apps that will work anywhere in the world, on both Android and Apple products. IPad and tablets of any brand usually offer text size customization as well.

It may have started out as science fiction to the generation that now uses it, but technology that helps you age gracefully and in place is now very much a reality.

Posted by admin on Thu, 19 Mar 2015 18:03

 

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