Senior care is serious business. Consequences can be grave when things go wrong. There are significant existing and emerging technologies that offset risks and improve the independence and safety of Seniors. However, many Seniors will never receive the benefits of these new technologies.
Why is adoption still lagging in this critical age group? Costs? Too complicated? Not aware of the wide range of technology that exists? Wellbeing challenges? Security concerns?
All of the above are barriers to adoption but dealing with setup is often sited as a particularly significant barrier. According to a recent Pew Research study, the majority of Seniors indicate that they usually need help setting up new technology. Once they are set up with the technology, however, more than half report mostly positive experiences.
Many Seniors will reach out to a family member or friend for help while others will simply avoid technology due to the lack of help.
As we look forward, emerging technologies will push in 2 opposite directions:
1. Technologies such as IoT sensors and artificial intelligence require as little as zero knowledge from the benefiting Senior. Growth in this category is significant but just getting underway.
2. New technologies such as voice-first devices and Robotics have some learning curves and direct engagement is required of a benefiting Senior. Voice-first is already seeing some niche specialization for the Senior community and Robotics are still nascent but hold significant promise for this age sector.
Accessible technology backed by an affordable adoption model is needed with increasing urgency as the aging population grows at a pace faster than the growth of available caregivers. We believe current models of support are often too narrowly focused to take a Senior from start to finish for many technology setup requirements. New comprehensive support models are needed to support an ever-increasing volume of technology solutions. Even seasoned technologists can find it challenging interfacing with disconnected technology companies in trying to setup new technology.
What are your own experiences, observations and ideas on removing barriers to Senior technology adoption?