Technology use among older adults often requires more than just buying an iPad or a smartphone. A recent study from the Design Lab at the University of California San Diego found that “frustration” with new technology often was a barrier to use. In addition to a lower level of technology literacy, respondents also reported design obstacles and physical challenges.
“Older adults want to use technology just like everyone else,” Park said.
Just showing someone how to text isn’t enough.
“You have to introduce the innovation and show them how to use it, but also give them the meaning and the purpose. If you provide that they will light up and get excited about the technology. Curiosity is key,” Park said.
For example, GrandPad tablet is ideal for the older technophobe who wants to connect with family and friends. The highly customizable tablet with large font and icons is easy to use with no typing or passwords required. Just touch the screen to access music, games, news, weather, photos, camera and email. Users can only receive calls or emails from approved contacts, and activity can be monitored by a caregiver.
For those with disabilities
One area where technology is making a momentous difference is in the lives of people with disabilities.
Technologies making a difference include adaptive switches that work by voice command, sensory enhancements for people who are hard of hearing, and augmented and virtual reality platforms that open up the world to someone not able to travel.