Technology has infiltrated and integrated into every facet of modern life. This doesn’t hold true for the younger generations alone; it applies to everyone of every age group. While previously, the elderly were generally considered unaffected by modern tech, it is no longer the case; the older age groups are adopting the technology just like everyone else.
So how does it impact their lives? Modern tech, like anything else, comes with both the good and the bad. While technology complicates lives and the fast advent of tech widens the generation gaps, it also, no doubt, provides a range of facilities and conveniences for senior citizens too.
We talked to experts and found out various ways technology affects the elderly.
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Technology creates a huge impact on the elderly in terms of belongingness. With technology, elders are able to join communities and be a part of them without feeling that age will detach them from the present.
Seniors are able to enjoy technology as they are able to connect with their loved ones from afar and feel their presence even in the virtual landscape. Seniors embrace technology with excitement, given how much happiness and entertainment it brings them. When you are already at your old age, there's not much that you are obliged to do already, which makes these socials a huge help to keep them engaged.
Ahmed Mir, Managing Editor Sip Coffee House
There are certainly some benefits to technology for the elderly. Hearing aids, walkers with bases that light up automatically as they approach stairs, and back braces with sensors all assist in daily activities. Monitoring heart patterns via changes in blood pressure enables doctors to detect irregular heartbeat before a stroke occurs.
Morshed Alam, Founder & Editor at Savvy Programmer
Technology development has a great impact on elders. The older groups have started to spend their leisure on gadgets and computers instead of spending time with their grandchildren. Family time has vanished with the advent of technology in recent times. The intrusion of technology in the older group’s lifestyle has isolated them from family, and gradually it creates a depression in them.
Harriet Chan, the co-founder and marketing director of CocoFinder.
One major way by which technology has impacted elderly care is the rise in the development of smart homes that have now enabled elderly people to depend on various devices in their homes to handle jobs that they may no longer be able to deal with by themselves.
For instance, a smart refrigerator has the ability to tell users when there isn't enough food and order items from a local grocery store or supermarket. This, in turn, makes it easier to compensate for mobility challenges like arthritis.
Moreover, there are even camera systems that can be installed in a home to allow family members and caretakers to check in on an elder remotely, thereby ensuring that urgent medical care is not too late.
Eden Cheng, Co-Founder PeopleFinderFree
Despite what you'll hear around the table over the holidays from your cantankerous grandpa, technology has been a massive net positive for the elderly. While many will say that they can't use technology, I always considered this as a failure of design rather than the elderly not being able to learn technology.
Social media has allowed the elderly to more easily connect with their families, voice-activated technology has simplified how to use the web at large, and VR is making massive strides in helping the elderly with low mobility to experience more of the world.
More technology providers need to take a page out of the design book that gave us touch screen tablets - a much lower barrier to entry for the elderly than computers because they're simpler, do fewer things, and require little to no know-how to customize.
Alex Kus, CMO Buddy
Technology has greatly improved a wide variety of medical devices. Something that immediately comes to mind is medical alert devices. The traditional alert button necklace isn’t the only option anymore.
There are wristbands and portable smart devices that can detect when medical attention is needed, which is necessary because not every elderly person who falls or needs help can actually hit the alert button. They can alert family members as well as emergency services and keep users better protected overall.
Christen Costa, CEO of Gadget Review
Just like the two sides of a coin, everything has its good as well as destructive impact. Similarly, technology also affects the lives of older adults positively as well as negatively.
Positive impacts of technology on the elderly
Nowadays, people are busier and busier with their work schedules, so they cannot give time to older adults. Meanwhile, technology acts as a significant time pass for the elderly to fight their loneliness.
Many mobile apps help in keeping a record of your daily health activities. These apps assist in maintaining proper healthy schedules with the best exercises and diet charts according to the user's requirement.
Negative impacts of technology on the elderly
Not all older people are comfortable with technology. They want to spend some quality time with their close ones. But this technology has made today’s youth self-centered.
They prefer to spend their time on social media and online games rather than spending time with their grandparents. This has led to depression among older adults; as a result, their bodies are more prone to many harmful diseases.
David Reid, Sales Director at VEM
In my opinion, technology has a huge impact on the elderly. It brings them into a world that is rapidly changing and offers new ways for them to stay connected with their loved ones. It also helps them live more independent lives while giving them new ways to enjoy their free time.
One major way that technology has helped the elderly is that it has made it easier for them to communicate with their family members. This is not only good for the elderly, but also for their families, who want to stay connected to them even when they are far away.
Even simple things like e-mail and Skype can help bridge the gap between loved ones who are living far apart. The elderly can talk with their grandchildren or great-grandchildren or catch up with long-lost friends whenever they want.
Stephen Curry, CEO at CocoSign
Nathan Justice manages community outreach programs and forums that help many senior citizens. He completed a counseling program at the University of Maryland’s Department of Psychology.