Today’s older adults recognize the benefits of technology in maintaining their health, independence, and connection to others. The pandemic has only amplified this adoption of technology, with 61% of adults 65 and older owning a smartphone now, up from just 13% in 2012. In fact, 80% of older adults say they rely on technology to stay in touch with family and friends.
While older adults may not be using their smartphones as much as their younger counterparts, they are using their mobile devices more often for video chatting, online searches, entertainment, and social media. According to the AARP, seniors are helping to drive the growth in smart home technology as well.
UScellular experts offer the following insight on how older adults are using technology today.
· Connection. By far, staying connected to family and friends using smartphones and tablets has increased dramatically the past two years. Forty-five percent of adults 50+ reported using video chats, like Zoom, Facetime, or Skype, to chat with family and friends. Older adults are also emailing (26%), texting (37%), and talking more on their smartphones (29%).
· Smart Homes. Smart home devices, like the Google Nest Hub Max, serve as a command center for other smart home devices and have the added benefit of providing a video screen that allows people to stay in touch with family, friends and caregivers in a more personal way than a just phone call. Older Americans are increasingly using smart assistants at home to help them manage everything from turning off appliances (42%) to controlling their thermostat (38%) and even setting appointment or medication reminders.
· Security. A smart home can offer numerous ways to keep safe both outside and inside a home. In fact, 59% of older adults use home and security technology, like Google Nest Outdoor Camera, to see who is at the front door and 48% to monitor their doors and windows. Google Nest Protect is a smoke and carbon monoxide detector that warns of danger by voice and siren and sends smartphone alerts to as many as six contacts. Thirty-nine percent of seniors also rely on fall detection and emergency help detectors.
· Entertainment. Adults 70-plus have a particular fondness for tablets with more than half (53%) owning one – up from 40% in 2019 – with 69% of them using them daily. Devices are being used to attend a live, virtual event like an exercise class, and older adults are logging in more often to streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and Disney+, with 58% saying they are streaming weekly.
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