In college, I waited in line each Sunday to make my weekly long distance call to check in with my parents. I was allowed 10 minutes for two reasons – I shared the phone with 100 other students and it was too expensive to talk longer.
My term papers were written on an electric typewriter. I changed cartridges to correct typos.
One year post graduation, my world changed as the tech revolution launched cell phones, remote-controlled flat screen televisions and computers that accessed the World Wide Web.
Honestly, it seems like my formative and early adult years took place in another lifetime. How is it possible that I ever lived without the Internet, mobile computers and fit-in-your-pocket phones?
I – along with most of my Boomer friends and colleagues – have chosen to go with the flow and embrace the change! We are adaptable. We use Facebook, Twitter, tablets and super-duper bandwidth cellphones to keep us forever in touch with others. We are fearless; technological advancements will not hold us back.
Boomers and Technology Statistics
According to Pew Research:
♦ 81 percent of younger boomers(those born between 1955 and 1964) go online
♦ 76 percent of older boomers (those born between 1946 and 1954) embrace the Internet
We turn to the Web for:
♦ Music downloads
♦ Research travel destinations
♦ Charitable giving donations
♦ Social engagement with family and friends via social media
As Boomers continue to look for ways to stay connected, transition to an active retirement and virtually monitor their health, tech firms will need to work to keep up with this generation, rather than the other way around.
According to Jody Holtzman, senior vice president of thought leadership at AARP, “Tech that enables independent living is relatively new.” Furthermore, she reports that the 50 plus demographic stands poised to be a goldmine of revenue for new technologies.
Technology Meeting Boomer Needs
The 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) featured many devices specifically dedicated to senior living. Device designs featured:
♦ Oversized buttons
♦ Minimal need to recharge
♦ Smart solutions(one button access to video) to reach family members
♦ Long lasting batteries
♦ Simple, user-friendly interfaces
Pre-production items displayed at the show included:
ActiveProtective. For aging populations, simply falling down can cause life-changing injuries. Devices like the ActiveProtective airbag – a wearable airbag similar to a belt – could save lives. 3D motion sensors map the wearer’s daily activities to determine if an activity deviates from normal. If an accident occurs, the garment sends a call for help.P
The Vigour. A rehabilitative smart cardigan, The Vigour uses built-in stretch sensors to collect movement data and then send it to an app, allowing caregivers and therapists to design custom care programs. The cardigan works for many types of therapy. And, its specific audio feedback component makes it ideal for dementia treatment.
Independa. Today’s aging Boomer chooses to live independently. This virtual alert technology reminds people to take medications or attend appointments. The system features video-calling capabilities, access to Facebook, remotely managed calendars and the ability to record video diaries.
QuiKiks shoe. The CES Everyday Health Innovation Award winner, Quikiks are hands-free shoes that allow seniors to slip on shoes without bending down, reaching or tying laces. The shoes are an ideal solution during recovery from joint replacement surgeries. A back flap on the shoe opens wide to allow ease in putting on shoes. As the user steps in, the heel pushes on a magnetic flap that closes the shoe around the foot. When it’s time to take the shoes off, a heel strike opens the back flap so shoes comfortably slip off.
What Do You Think?
If you were advising a technology company, what device would you suggest they make? What type of technology would make your life easier?
Let us know if you think technology is keeping up with our generation in the comments section below. Or go to our Facebook page and start a discussion there.