Critter Corner: How Do Seniors Use Devices to Age-in-Place?

Dear Angel,

My father wants to age-in-place for as long as possible. He’s not sold on the idea of using assistive technologies, and frankly doesn’t know much about them. I am trying to get him to open up to the idea, for his safety and my piece of mind. Is there any data out there about how many seniors are using assistive technology and how they are using it?

Thanks so much,

Dee Vices

Dear Dee,

U.S. News & World Report recently surveyed 2,000 U.S. adults age 55 and older to learn how they are using assistive technologies in their homes and the ways they plan to use these devices to help them age-in-place. The survey looked at which technologies they use the most and some of the experiences they’ve had while using these technologies.

Here are some of the findings that you can tell your dad about:

  • Why seniors use assistive technology: Nearly half (49%) of the respondents claim that general aging is their primary reason for using assistive technology. Mobility impairments (28%), such as arthritis and fibromyalgia, and hearing impairments (22%) are the second- and third-most-reported reasons for using assistive or health-related technologies.
  • Why some seniors don’t use assistive technology: Of the 47% surveyed who say they don’t use assistive or health-related technologies, the overwhelming majority (70%), simply don’t feel that they need them yet. Another 16% share that they can’t afford the technologies, and 14% reject the technologies because they don’t want to lose their independence.
  • Which technology are seniors using the most? 53% of respondents use some type of assistive or health-related technology. The technologies that have made it easiest for them to age in place are medical or health-related mobile apps (45%), service-related apps like grocery delivery apps (43%), wearable medical or health-related trackers (33%), and assistive smart home technologies (30%).
  • Barriers for older adults to overcome when adopting these new technologies: When using assistive or health-related technologies, respondents say the things that matter most are that it’s easy to use (75%), easy to set up (50%), accessible using a mobile app (38%), and wireless (37%). To learn how to use their devices, respondents say they rely on product guides (30%), family and friends (22%), and health care workers (19%) to help them.
  • How technologies made respondents feel: 88% of respondents said that assistive or health-related technologies have improved their quality of life. Using assistive or health-related technologies from home not only makes life for older Americans easier, but it also provides a sense of independence for more than half of survey respondents (55%). They also feel notably safer (44%) and healthier (33%) when using these technologies.
  • Privacy concerns: Just over half of all respondents (53%) have privacy concerns over an increased dependence on assistive or health-related technologies. While these devices offer a variety of benefits, they also rely heavily on the collection of personal information, which presents potentially serious privacy and security risks.

Most people want to stay in their home for as long as possible, and assistive technology will certainly be helpful to enable that.  To learn more about technology for seniors, please read my articles on the subject. For some examples of AI technology for aging-in-place, please read today’s article.

Hope this is helpful!


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About Renee Eder

Renee Eder is the Director of Public Relations for the Farr Law Firm, and gives the voice to the Critters of Critter Corner. Renee’s poodle, Penny, is an official comfort dog who she and her children bring to visit with seniors who are in the early stages of dementia at a local senior home once a month.

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