Flash forward to 2014. You can get a ton of information about the moon landing and future space exploration on the internet. The web also is a treasure chest for sports statistics enthusiasts. Google works wonders for researching both. Most households now have two or more color televisions, and in many cases smartphones and tablets allow viewers to access programming on their mobile devices as well. This all leads to the question about how older seniors are adapting to the new technological choices. According to the Pew Research Center, seniors have tended to embrace the technology up until around age 75, then usage tails off due to health and other factors. Interestingly, tablets and e-readers are the devices of choice among seniors — perhaps because the screens are more reader-friendly and larger than on smartphones.
Here are some noteworthy items from the Pew study:
- 55% of all adults own a smartphone, but just 18% of those age 65+
- 43% of all adults own own a tablet or e-reader, versus 27% for those who are 65+
- 59% of those age 65+ go online, up from 53% in 2012; the figure is 85% for all adults
- 77% have cell phones, compared to 91% for all adults
- 47% have high-speed access at home, versus 70% for all adults
- Nearly three-quarters (74%) of adults age 65-69 go online, dropping off substantially to 37% for those age 80+
- Higher income and a college degree increase the likelihood of internet usage among seniors
- Older adults are divided over whether the lack of internet access is meaningful or not, with strong opinions on both sides
- 77% would welcome assistance in using the new digital devices
Interestingly, when Apple last week announced new upcoming features for its operating systems, the ability to answer iPhone calls on a Mac or an iPad was mentioned. It will be interesting to see if this increased user-friendliness will resonate with seniors in new ways.