The Elderly and Modern Technology

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The elderly have been the key consumer group for developers of newer tech products that can meet their needs. Modern technology has been improved to satisfy the different demands of the maturer population. New technologies have shown their effectiveness in increasing this group's independence and well-being. Older adults who use different devices have had such advantages as decreasing anxiety levels and feeling of loneliness. On the other hand, some of the older people ignore tech products completely. Some obstacles prevent them from using the latest technologies, even though they could make their lives more convenient. Notwithstanding the barriers, older people are able to fascinate any technology they have an interest in and use it to their advantage. Such kind of step can be possible if old people get the right kind of technology that addresses their needs and receives proper training in it. The number of old people in the world is increasing and will continue to grow in the coming years. Changes in lifestyle come in due to aging. Many old people suffer from chronic diseases and even physical impairment. There is, therefore, need for technologies to aid them in their day to day living. Because of this, many researchers are aware and they have shown interest in it. It is also worth noting that, most of the technologies developed back then for the elderly were to primarily adapt to increase the quality of life of the old by meets their needs (Peterka 45).

The use of technology in older adults has shown lower rates of use in the computer, the internet, mobile phone and other related technologies. The adoption and use of technologies among older adults have been associated with need, interest, and relevance. There are other issues related to the use of different technologies by older people like the lack of training and support, design and interface issues, and cost depending on income (Gell, Resenberg and Demiris).

However, use of technology by older people is currently on the rise. There is a significant increase in the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in the daily life of older adults. The use of technology by this population is both on personal and professional levels. In respect to this, the use of new technologies for leisure and entertainment, development of social relationships, lifelong learning habits, and access to services and care could be a consideration for the autonomy and aging in the life of older people (González, Ramírez and Viade).

Other areas to be explored in the relevance of technology to the elderly population is the social aspect of life. Today, all ages of people are using current technology trends in communication to get connected with one another. Use of internet, mobile phones and other technologies for communicating with family and friends has proven to be among the most exciting ways to keep in touch. Communication has been so efficient and fast by use of these technologies. The younger population has always been in the lead in the utilization of this technology. However, the older population is also catching up. Many older people use the internet and social media, and cell phones to get connected with their families and friends (Staying Conneted: Technology options for Older Adults).

The elderly population is ever growing each and every day. The percentages are adding up day in day out. With this growth and bearing in mind that everybody grows old, future trends in technology for old people should be considered. Technologies to meet the needs of the elderly should be developed so as they are not left out. Researchers should, therefore, focus on coming up with innovations that will not only apply to the general population, but also to the elderly (Watering).

In this research paper, a study is done on the relationship between technology and the old. The study focuses on how technology has been used to improve the older population’s state of living. A Study is also done on various research and technologies, with an exploration of the future research and trends in the same technologies. The study is done through the analysis of different materials, produced and published by various people, focusing on technology with the elderly. The results and findings are discussed in the light of the purpose of technology in improving the quality of life of the old.

Literature review.

Different studies carried out by various people show that use of technology among the elderly is low compared to the young population. Zickuhr and Madden, 2012 found out that different percentages of the older population go online for various reasons (Zickuhr and Madden). A National Health Interview Survey by Choi in the U.S indicates a below average percentage of the old age of 65-74 years use the internet for health related issues (Choi).

There have also been multiple theoretical frameworks which proposed adoption of technology for the elderly. The Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) by Morris, Davis, and Venkatesh has recently been applied in the context of the older adult adoption of technology (Venkatesh, Morris and Davis).

Other studies have shown that the use of technology among older adults is low because of the perception the younger population has towards them. Most young people think that the elderly might not find a gadget simple to use as they do, which to some extent could be true. As Jane Wakefield, puts it, some gadgets like touch screens might not be operated with ease by the elderly because of their less sensitive nerves (Wakefield).

Methodology

The methods used in this study was a detailed research that falls under the category of quantitative research. A descriptive analysis was used. In this methodology, a study of available materials depicting the same topic is done. The description of findings from the materials is done, and a documentation of the results is done as well. A collection of data about technology and the elderly in this study is from secondary sources which include books and, articles and multimedia materials from the internet.

Findings and discussion

As technology advances, designs in different gadgets, machines, and equipment for older generation are also being availed. Such models include hearing aids fitted with GPS to enable the user to know his/her location and adjust volume accordingly, Toyota robots to carry the elderly, wireless sensors, computers, tablets and mobile phones. All these technology equipment for the elderly are to ease their lives by meeting their needs as appropriate (Wakefield). Other old people use technology for some reasons. Linder Butler, a 72-year-old woman, say she is a frequent user of computer and internet for a variety of reasons (Technology with the elderly).

There are various areas which the elderly can use technology to their advantage. The old can use technology to find advice on health and health care services, online shopping, connecting with family and friends, etc. The use of social networks by the elderly is a good example of current technology use by the elderly. Internet and emailing, text messaging, Skype, Facebook and other social networks have proved to be good connectors for the old and their family and friends (Staying Conneted: Technology options for Older Adults).

However, the elderly have at some point found challenges in the use of technology. The elderly who cannot use technology feel excluded by technology. Lack of knowledge on how to use technology has made some of the not to buy gadgets that could be essential in their day to day lives. Other individual challenges that arise out of old age such as insensitive nerves and shaking makes it difficult for old people to use current technology (Wakefield). However, various researchers and technologists are addressing this issue.

Future trends in technology have drawn the interest of different people to address the topic of technology with the elderly. Jeh Kazimi, a company founder, says, “Our goal was to design software that makes the online environment considerably more accessible for people with little or no technological nous and to do so without patronizing or limiting them." His focus is majorly on the elderly and technology, an inspiration that came from his mother as he puts it (Wakefield). Apple Company has also invented designs that address challenges of technology use by the elderly such as shaking and insensitivity and strives to improve in these areas in the future.

Conclusion

Technology use cuts across the board, from the young to the elderly. Different technologies are available today for the elderly. Technology for the elderly helps them to make their day to day life comfortable and ease their activities. There are some old people who use the current wide range of technology for some reasons. However, there are some who also rarely use it or ultimately do not use it. Such old people are not much associated with technology because of different reasons and challenges. Some companies, individuals, and researchers are in the field of coming up with technologies can be suitable for the elderly.

Works Cited

Choi, Hyon K. "Prevalence of gout and hyperuricemia in the US general population: The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2007–2008." Arthritis & Rheumatism 63.10 (2011). 14 3 2017. .

Gell, Nancy M, et al. "Patterns of Technology Use Among Older Adults With and Without Disabilities." The Gerontologist 55.3 (2015). 14 3 2017. .

González, Antonio , María Paz Ramírez and Vicente Viade. "ICT Learning by Older Adults and Their Attitudes toward Computer Use." Current Gerontology and Geriatrics Research 2015.2015 (2015). 14 3 2017. .

Peterka, David. The Senior Sleuth's Guide to Technology for Seniors. South Turkey: Conifer Books, 2009. Print. 14 3 2017. .

"Staying Conneted: Technology options for Older Adults." Eldcare Locator (n.d). 14 3 2017. .

Technology with the elderly. n.d. 14 3 2017. .

Venkatesh, Viswanath, Michael Morris and Gordon Davis. "User Acceptance of Information Technology:Towards a Unified Law." Management Information Systems Quarterly 2003.3 (2003). 14 3 2017. .

Wakefield, Jane. The generation that tech forgot. 25 May 2015. 14 3 2017. .

Watering, Mareck. "The impact of Computer Technology on the Elderly." Essay. n.d. 14 3 2017. .

Zickuhr, Kathryn and Mary Madden. Older adults and internet use. 6 June 2012. 14 3 2017. .

October 12, 2022
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Elderly Modern Technology

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