There are those seniors who feel very uncomfortable with too much tech in their lives. Or maybe I should say are content without tech in their lives. They are used to be a simpler way to communicate and life has moved on so fast for some, it seems impossible to catch up. Also privacy concerns ride very high on their list of what is really important.
The simple truth is that as our bodies start to wane in their efficiency, everything is harder. That includes seeing tiny print, hearing the little beeps that mean so much in a phone screen the size of an index card. Just having the eye hand coordination to handle the minute keyboards and its layers of commands is daunting.
That raises a problem in that with the emerging shortage of human caregivers available at home, you will have to make yourself tech savvy at least at a nominal level. But again some good news, industry is paying attention to the fact that tech has to become more age friendly. Period. Someone out there has yet to create the perfect easy to read hear and navigate all purpose device. But they are working on it.
A recent article highlights this change in focus.
… older Americans who use the internet tend to view technology in a positive light and are likely to increasingly incorporate digital and voice-activated technology into their daily lives. According to Pew Research’s Tech Adoption Among Older Adults, fully 58% of adults ages 65 and older say technology has had a mostly positive impact on society, while roughly three-quarters of internet-using seniors say they go online on a daily basis – and nearly one in 10 go online almost constantly.*
These numbers are definitely an improvement from statistics I had seen three to four years ago when I started keeping track of aging in place trends. It should not just reflect younger seniors who have had more experience with computer and communication technology in the workplace. It should also be a sign that the newer the tech the easier it should be to use.
As tablet screens became kid friendly they should also become older adult accessible with simpler intuitive commands. Very young children who have been exposed to the finger swipe of getting to the next thing are frustrated when everything does work on that principle including the TV. Older adults should be direct about expressing frustration and ask for age friendly training if they are really going to be use AI or robotic interfaces for care-giving. Being comfortable with devices can push away social isolation and add to safety in the home. We need to be ready like the very young to enjoy the discovery and magic of what devices can do for us.
Let us hope the usability gap keeps up with the push to get products to market.