I’m a big proponent of technology and the usefulness
that it affords. Maybe it’s because I’m
a member of the Gen X crowd – those of us in the 30-something
literally grew up with computer, way before those ‘millennials’
did. In fact, the personal computer was introduced into our
homes during the 1980s and we were the first folks to learn
about this ‘Internet’ thing that Al
But in the decades since
the first introduction of something called a Macintosh or computers
that ran a form of household standards of ‘Windows’,
technology has advanced further than we probably could ever
Ironically, the people
who have probably benefitted more from technology isn’t
those of us who are able to keep in contact with our friends
through Facebook, find jobs from LinkedIn, or even follow our
favorite celebrities thanks to Twitter and Google+; no,
the people who are benefitting the most is that of our grandparents.
In the past, technology
was seen as something hard to understand and not really worth
the time to learn for not only seniors, but many baby boomers.
Social networking, for instance, was seen as something the young
kids did, to match our weird tastes in music and our unhealthy
obsession with watching kitties and puppies do adorable things
through online videos.
But in the last six
months, the growth in users 65 and older has skyrocketed. Think
about it – in the midst of a Great Recession, many college
age kids moved away and some baby boomers may have as well,
going out to find better paying jobs in order to support themselves
and their families. This often means that seniors are left in
their homes or have been placed in assisted living communities
in order to get the help they need when no one is around.
With so many kids, baby
boomers, and seniors residing in other places, keeping in contact
wasn’t as simple as just calling or even sending a piece
of snail mail. Now, thanks to technology, more and more seniors
are drifting towards it in order to speak with grandchildren
or great grandchildren; many baby boomers have been thrust into
the digital age, thanks to their current or maybe even previous
Much of the business
world has come about to technology albeit slowly, however the
impact that it has on their consumers and partners has been
a big boost to helping baby boomers learn about the growing
digital life that many of my generation and younger have known
about for years.
Really Help Seniors?
When looking at technology,
you need to look at the impact it has on various age groups
and demographics. Again, my generation and younger have grown
up with computers, the Internet, email, smartphones, etc, so
taking the leap in learning more and more about technology isn’t
that much of a stretch. However, for the generation above mine
– baby boomers – some of the technology is new and
I’ve come across
several in the baby boomer age group that are in one of three
groups – those that find it unnecessary to embrace technology,
those who embrace it enthusiastically, or those who are into
between both groups. The first group are those who don’t
like the cold personification of, well, personable relations;
the idea of communicating with someone through a computer screen
or mysterious wires doesn’t make sense and isn’t
The second group, of
course, are those who have joined the ranks of the early adopters
sometimes, those that want to stand in line for the latest and
greatest technical device.
I think the most common,
if not the first group, is the last group, those that like some
of the aspects of technology, but don’t want to be using
it every day. This group has mostly been introduced to technology
thanks in part to their work or even their kids and in many
cases, they may turn around and teach their own parents how
to use the same technology to keep in contact.
Seniors will usually
fit into the first group, those who don’t see any use
to this Facebook thing, but as I said, this demographic is steadily
growing. And it’s not just in the use of online technology
– consider the devices that can alert medical and health
personnel to a home in the case of a fall or even the new technologies
of having a personal robot to keep them company and even remind
them to take their medications.
With the growing numbers
of baby boomers and seniors heading to the digital life, does
this mean that the older generation will unseat us as the tech
lovers we grew up to be? Not very likely, however the push does
help to keep seniors connected, as well as provide some companionship,
if the trend continues.
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- Article by Regina
Woodard exclusively for Assisted Living Directory