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Contribution: Seniors are not averse to technology. We not justdesigning for their needs 2022

Seniors are definitely less tech savvy than the younger generation who grew up with it. My parents are from the World War II generation, long before I had personal computers, let alone the Internet. Trying to help out your aging mom by email is a challenge. But just because some people may not know how to use TikTok, what is a non-fungible token or how WiFi is supposed to work doesn’t mean they are fascinated by the technology.

Of course, it’s harder for seniors to adapt to new technology. Still, most older people have a smartphone and often post on social media and video chat with their grandchildren.

Many digital health companies mistakenly assume that because some older people struggle with new technology in the first place, they are completely against it. The problem is that digital health companies often fail to design products with superiors in mind.

With the boom in virtual health, a wave of innovation and new technology is making aging at home possible for senior citizens. This explosion in consumer-focused digital health is basically about turning healthcare delivery upside down – from patient visits to a healthcare system from time to time to a system where healthcare is available on our terms 24/7. Is in the back pocket.

For senior citizens who are less physically mobile and may lack transportation and support, this consideration is even more important. Technology can greatly benefit older people, making it convenient and safe to connect with healthcare professionals and follow virtual health plans from the comfort of their own homes. In fact, according to an AARP report, technology use among people aged 50 and older has skyrocketed during the pandemic. According to the Pew Research Center, over the past decade, older people have increasingly adopted technology such as smartphones and tablets and have used social media. In business terms, senior citizens make up a good portion of the population, and Medicare spending of about $830 billion in 2020 accounts for 20% of total national health care spending.

The emerging definition of ‘elderly’

The definition of “old” is not what it used to be. The next generation of seniors will spend most of their middle years using the Internet, smartphones, tablets, and various software applications, which will put them in a better position to navigate the next iteration of high-tech gadgets and gadgets. Soon there will be no generation that is not used to the technology associated with daily activities.

For better or worse, retirement isn’t as guaranteed as it was before, because more people continue to work after 65 — either because they have to, or they want to. According to a 2021 survey, nearly one in five seniors said they planned to work after age 70, and another 12% reported they would work full-time for the rest of their lives. The image of a senior sitting in a rocking chair drinking lemonade all day is no longer accurate, if it ever was. For those working in their golden years, many will continue to use new and relevant technology on a regular basis.

Seniors use technology that’s helpful to them

Trying to catch up on the latest technology can be overwhelming and frustrating for seniors. But then jumping to the conclusion that most older people hate technology is absolutely wrong.

Two years into the pandemic, older people, like everyone else, have had to become more comfortable with virtual health technologies. With fewer in-person healthcare options combined with the risk of COVID-19, older people who have chronic health conditions, mobility problems, or other health needs are increasingly turning to virtual healthcare services and products. willing, so that they do not have to leave. House. Aging at home is a trend that is expected to increase further in the coming years, requiring digital health companies to target the aging population.

Digital health for senior citizens should be simple, frictionless

There is a need for digital health to improve the lives of senior citizens, and there is a growing desire among seniors to use technology. What is needed is that digital health companies rise to meet this moment by designing frictionless services and products. This means that the difficult sensors are out. In fact, remove the hardware altogether. Forget about fooling a senior with sensors that require Bluetooth or WiFi. The user interface needs to be simple, simple, simple.

In addition to making digital health as easy as possible for older people, products need to adopt a human-centered approach to care. COVID-19 is not only an epidemic of disease; It has also given rise to an epidemic of isolation, particularly affecting older people. Digital health technology should not further fuel segregation but drive connectivity. With a click or a tap of a finger, a senior should be able to communicate with a health coach, start a video call with a medical professional, or follow an exercise routine from their phone, tablet or desktop computer. . Building relationships and trust is essential, as is a virtual support team that can keep an eye on superiors and intervene when needed.

Sadly, American culture doesn’t value its aging population as much, which breeds negative stereotypes that seniors are less capable, especially when it comes to technology. Yes, there is a generational gap, but that doesn’t mean digital health companies should treat seniors as irrelevant. The pandemic has highlighted the need for more digital health solutions aimed at senior citizens, and research shows they are more inclined to adopt new technologies. Seniors deserve new digital health technologies – if not more – than younger people.

Mark Luck OlsenMark Luck Olsen is the CEO of RecoveryOne, a digital health innovator dedicated to improving the cost and quality of recovery from all types of musculoskeletal (MSK) injuries. A 30-year healthcare veteran, Olsen has worked closely with executive teams in the healthcare market to accelerate performance and top-line growth. He has built a reputation as a health tech strategist who can unleash an organization’s potential. He has an MBA from Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Business.

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