The Role of Technology in Aging: New Resources on How to Integrate Technology into the Lives of Seniors

June 4, 2021
Policy Snapshot
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance and versatility of technology, especially in the medical field. The significance of technology for senior Americans was discussed in “The Role of Technology in Aging,” a webinar hosted by Home Instead Inc. and the American Society on Aging. April Ibarra, a gerontologist, and Laurie Orlov, a principal analyst, were the presenters. The presentation focused on how technology is impactful and how to get older individuals to adopt the technology. Ms. Ibarra highlighted information about the Older Adults Technology Services (OATS), which has been working on methods to get technology integrated into the lives of senior citizens. The research highlighted in the presentation shows that this demographic must have access to multiple forms of connectivity. For example, telehealth has been crucial for millions of Americans throughout the pandemic. Furthermore, mental health is improved when seniors can play music, send messages, and video chat.
While research has shown that seniors in the upper age range are less likely to partake in online activities and use smartphones or tablets, there has been an increase in the number of older individuals who are using tablets and social media. Barriers to adoption such as a lack of access to broadband, income, education, age, training, and more have contributed to the small numbers of seniors using technology. Ms. Orlov described the numerous devices that benefit seniors, such as medication dispensers, tablets, care management, fall prevention devices, medical alarms, and more. Periods of evaluation must be undertaken when it comes to integrating technology into the lives of seniors. This period can include reading reviews and conversing with experts. If you are interested in aiding seniors with connectivity, you can participate in the Senior Planet from AARP or the Aging Connected campaign held through the Human Foundation and OATS.