Longevity Network
  • Aug 21, 2018
  • Nick Baily, The Longevity Network

Do older consumers want to learn how to use new technology?

Not to mention that the longevity economy includes a large number of Baby Boomers who are completely comfortable using technology in their day-to-day lives. These boomers will be the next wave of older consumers who not only want, but EXPECT to have technology designed for their health needs.

The short answer is yes. Technology use of all types by U.S. adults 65+ is growing, from smartphone use to social media. According a 2017 Pew Research Study, 42% of adults aged 65 or older own a smartphone, which is a 24% increase from 2013. 34% of adults 65 and up use social networking platforms. With technology adoption increasing across all age groups, it makes sense that older adults would have more access and exposure to new technology that can help them connect to others, get news and entertainment, and make certain parts of their lives easier.

However, there are barriers to adoption. Some older adults may have dexterity or strength challenges that make it difficult to use some of the functions on a smartphone or hold a heavy tablet. Designers may not think about how a device or program will function for someone with these physical constraints, or just someone who hasn’t grown up understanding how to navigate a web browser. Older adults may not feel confident in their ability to navigate new devices; 73% of adults 65+ report that they need someone to set up and show them how to use a new electronic device.

Older adults are not incapable of adopting new technology, and there are many ways that tech can have a positive impact in their lives. But in order for most older consumers to feel comfortable using technology, they need products that are designed with age-specific needs in mind, and human support to help them get up and running.