We’re cozy with tech like never before. Thanks to the pandemic, we’ve created uses for technology that any generation prior to ours would never have dreamed of….or even knew they wanted. Exercise, security, convenience, connection, medicine, school, and even spiritual nourishment…we’ve turned almost all aspects of our lives over to technology, out of necessity. And along with that, not surprisingly, there’s an age group near and dear to our hearts that’s new to all this online abundance this past year – senior citizens. That’s right, our grannies and granddaddies might appear to be newborns when it comes to tech, but they’re taking to it so freaking fast. Take note how the aging seniors of our generation are adopting technology like never before. Stats like this chart from Statista show that 73% of seniors are online now. Which was a massive relief for all of us when it came time for this aging population to isolate themselves and stay safe from COVID-19.
So first, we’ve gotta clear the air of any misnomers, scandals, and stereotypes. Technology may be challenging for some older folks to grasp, but they aren’t opposed to it. It’s now a lot less likely that you’ll see someone’s grandpa screaming at their smart-tv. Since having to quarantine, old folks have turned to the internet out of basic necessity for a buttload of stuff, just like the rest of us. Online shopping and virtual doctor visits are their new normal. They’ve figured out that yes, they can still learn some new tricks! And since technology is constantly evolving, these seniors are rolling with it. Grammy is no longer content with staying married to her crappy flip phone. She’s a smartphone-using, smart-watch-wearing bad-ass. I mean like, how else can folks check their Bitcoin stock while waiting for their knee surgery, duh.
Our aging population has a stake in all this new technology, just as much as we all do. Cause, like, they need it for a lot of things! It’s no secret that as we age, our needs and abilities change. That’s why most recently the demand for technology in senior care homes and personal medication management has shot through the roof. Technology capable of assisting seniors with medication dispensing, devices that alert loved ones of falls or changes in biometrics, and even managing their pets is proving to be a welcome life upgrade. This gives the elderly not only the ability to stay independent and healthy, but it also gives a lot of peace of mind to their family members as well.
One thing you can bet on staying the same is the importance of human interaction especially when it comes to our older folks. Without Facebook, Zoom, Google hangouts, and everything in between, this last year would have been nearly unbearable. And the seniors are loving it! Being able to still participate in weddings, parties, birthday songs, and seeing all the new babies while separated by quarantine, or continent, has been huge. And now that they’re used to it, when eventually we’re past all the virus drama, video calls will continue to be a habit.
Along with healthcare systems, personal safety and home security tech products for seniors are quickly becoming fan favorites. Home automation and smart technology are surging, and it can benefit the elderly in particular, with things like automatic lights, doors, windows, and thermostats. Let’s not forget home security too. Can you imagine being able to tell grandpa that he can see who’s at the door, without having to leave his LazyBoy? Cameras planted at security gates and front doors are phenomenal for older folks who live in a more vulnerable state. To be able to screen visitors or those who might be potential intruders is the kind of home modification technology that brings peace of mind and relief.
Heading towards the future, we’re in a special position to help our senior adults stay connected. Clearly, the interest and need are there. The rest of us can help get these folks situated by building into our lives some next-level compassionate care. Not only does it boost our humanity to extend our knowledge to the most vulnerable in society, but consider that we’ll all be in their age group someday. It’s in our best interest to observe what the seniors of today need. As the creators and tech geeks continue to flood the tech industry, those with an elderly person in their lives need to stay aware of their needs and of products that can help them. If we can stay patient enough to get them online, get them an account, and get them connected, we will all benefit. That is what you call the circle of life, kids.