As senior living providers become more tech-enabled, it’s critical to understand what seniors think about emerging technology and how they use health and wellness capabilities from devices. From wearable monitors that track activity to sensors in assisted living rooms that can alert staff to movement, health and wellness technology is complementing the senior living industry.
But are older adults into the trend?
Not really, according to a recent technology report by Link-age Connect, a research and consultancy firm that conducts market research on the aging population 65+, and Aging in Place Technology Watch, a market research business that focuses on technologies and services that enable seniors and baby boomers to remain longer in their homes.
Compared to just a few years ago, older adults are more connected. Most seniors in the survey were online and had access to the Internet, compared to 33% in 2011.
While many seniors realized the benefits of health and wellness technology, they noted several issues with using new devices and programs in the survey. Just over 40% of seniors said they owned a smartphone, though more than 65% did own a cellphone of some kind. Respondents who were older than 80 were the least likely to own a smartphone compared to younger baby boomers.
“I am quite old and new technological gadgets seem to be programmed by young people who grew up with computers and, consequently, assume that the user will know what to do in a confusing situation,” a respondent older than 85 said. “My friends often mention how frustrating this is.”
Compared to a previous survey in 2011, most responders were still unwilling to pay for health and wellness technologies, even if they recognized the benefits of their utilization. More than 60% of respondents said they weren’t willing pay any amount for these technologies on a monthly basis. However, more than 10% said they already do. The results reveal that if seniors are going to own health trackers, they will choose free applications that can track their data over paid services.
Senior living providers have an opportunity to engage seniors in these technologies by providing training for older adults, either online or in-person, to teach them how to use wearable technology, smartphones, laptops and tablets.
Written by Amy Baxter