Technology: Not Just for the Chronologically Under Enriched

There’s a well known stereotype that says that older adults and technological advances don’t mix. Admittedly, some of us can be a bit change averse. If it ain’t completely 100% rusted out, doorstop-worthy broken, don’t fix it! Maybe it’s just that we’ve been around long enough to have seen our share of “hot new things” turn out to be duds, and would just prefer to wait until the kinks are worked out. We’ll let the kids be the beta testers; version 2.0 is just fine with us!

But that doesn’t mean that those of us of a certain vintage reject new technology altogether. Many smart companies are cluing into the huge market that seniors offer for products and services that truly make their lives better. Here’s an article from Today contributor Keith Wagstaff about a few tech companies that are working to serve our demographic.

Savvy Tech Companies Find Seniors Embrace New When Its Useful Too, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” These days, senior citizens have access to technology that is light years beyond the old Life Alert bracelets.

From specially designed smart watches to advanced sensor systems meant to detect falls, tech companies are designing products with seniors in mind. It’s a trend that some in the industry think is long overdue.

“There was a stereotype earlier that seniors weren’t interested in technology,” Marjorie Skubic, director of the University of Missouri’s Center for Eldercare and Rehabilitation Technology, told NBC News. “Seniors are willing to embrace technology as long as it has a function that’s helpful to them.”

Yes, seniors do lag behind other demographics in adopting technology. Still, 59 percent of American adults age 65 and older used the Internet in 2014, according to a study published by the Pew Research Center, which is six percent higher than two years earlier. The overall number of seniors is also set to grow. By 2050, that population could double to 84 million people, according to a forecast by the U.S. Census Bureau.

That is a huge market — and plenty of companies want a piece of the pie.

Sexy Gadgets Are For Everybody

Iggy Fanlo, CEO and co-founder of Lively, didn’t like the way people looked at him when he wore an emergency pendant around San Francisco for a couple of days.

“I felt like a special needs person,” Fanlo, 53, told TODAY. “People pitied me.”

He was trying to get a feel for why senior citizens might buy something like Life Alert, but then decline to wear it. A study published in the Journal of Gerontology and Geriatrics in 2010 found that only 14 percent of people who bought an emergency pendant wore it after purchase.

Fanlo wanted to make something senior citizens would actually want to put on. He came up with a simple, waterproof watch that displays time, counts steps and calls for help when users press a big, orange button.

It doesn’t really look that different from other smart watches — which is exactly the point. Nothing about it screams “medical device.” If a 30-year-old wore it on the street, nobody would think it was weird.

“Seniors aren’t any different from everyone else, ” he said. “Whether you’re eight or 88, you still want nice things.” Continued at

Have you discovered a great new tech tool, piece of software or website that you’d like to share with the community? Leave a comment below, or start a thread in the forums! 



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