According to Census Bureau, the senior population has grown over a third since 2010, and the number will keep growing for the foreseeable future. Therefore, seniors do account for a significant portion of the US population. This makes it essential to keep them in consideration while making a product for the majority.
Most of the focus of the world today is advancing in technology. So, while you design any technology or upgrade technology, it is vital to remember the seniors. But exactly how much do you need to modify technology for them?
Seniors today are from the baby boomer generation, and they are assumed to be a little behind in technology. So most companies simplify the products when designing them for seniors because they think they won’t catch up to the complexity. Are they enabling them by doing this or disabling them?
The adults over the age of 65 living at the assisted living facilities use the technology of today. They have smartphones and use the same apps that the younger generation has without inconvenience. So, why is it assumed that they wouldn’t adapt to other technologies as well?
As per the survey of HealthInsurance, 60% of Medicare-eligible seniors claim that they have embraced technology. The reason is that it makes their life easy and enables them to feel independent in their routine tasks. They can manage their health, medicine, physical health, etc., without any help.
The other 40% resist using technology because they believe it is not beneficial for them or they are too long gone to learn any of it. So they don’t make an effort in learning to operate it. Adding value to the use of technology for seniors is the key. They can use any complex technology if there is a purpose to it. For instance, they’ll use a social application if that’s where they get to see their children’s life updates every day.
So the lack of purpose in technology may become a barrier in allowing the seniors to adapt to technology.
Design Technology For All, Not Just For Seniors
Disregarding the factors that are affecting the lack of adaptation to the technology for seniors, the tech developers focus more on simplifying and designing technology for seniors in a way that isn’t challenging. Instead, they really should be adding more purpose to their product instead of oversimplifying it because complexity is not the enemy here.
According to the chief medical officer at AARP, the problem is that the technology is designed specially to target older people when it should be targeting all. They think the tech developers need to keep the three Ps in mind while developing new technology – purpose, people, and possibilities.
Just making a technology designed for older people to cater to their condition can increase the negative stereotypes against seniors. When they have a purpose, social interactions to look up to, and the possibility of embracing a positive view of aging, they’ll find the courage to enjoy new technology.