A post in The New Old Age Blog (NY Times) entitled “Elder Tech: What’s Important” (by Karen Stabiner) prompted me to write a brief post about future trending in technology for seniors. As we get closer to the launch of CES 2011 (The Consumer Electronics Show produced by the Consumer Electronics Association), I’m hoping we get some answers to some looming questions.
Tech Trends: Boomers & Seniors
There is a buzz in the air about the impact of technology on aging adults today. Perhaps it’s brought on by the recent baby boomer milestone… Where the oldest of the Baby Boomers just turned 65 (as of January 1st, 2011). We’ve written at length about Senior-Friendly Cell Phones and Medical Alert Systems here on The Senior List.com. Boomers and Seniors (like everybody else) are interested in keeping in touch with loved ones, remaining independent in their own homes, and taking advantage of the many conveniences the new gadgets provide us today.
I’ll be following CES closely this year from Oregon, as my schedule won’t allow me to be in Vegas this week. Among other things, I’m interested in the following areas as it relates to seniors:
- Medical Alert Systems and PERS (personal emergency response systems) - Have these devices taken the next step in mobility? Until now, most of these devices require the user to be “tethered” to a 600 ft. radius (of a base unit). Though there are a few exceptions, we should be beyond this limitation by now. The future of medical alert systems will include; mobility beyond the home, fall detection, an extra long battery life, and GPS location services (for emergency personnel and families).
- Senior Friendly Cell Phones – Will senior-friendly cell phones adapt beyond 2 or 3 leading brands aimed at seniors? Necessary features must include big buttons, ease of use, an emergency button, compatibility with hearing devices, and easy volume controls.
- Senior Friendly Computers – There’s a bit of chatter out there about computers with a streamlined OS (operating systems), that will enable easy email, social sharing (like facebook, etc.), integrated web cams, and more. If you read the comments in the above noted article (from the NY Times) you’ll see that most seniors today have been around advances in technology their entire lives. They’re not scared of technology, they just want technology to be intuitive (as it should be).
Other areas we’ll be watching include advances in hearing aid technology, smart TV (internet ready), total home monitoring, and tele-health. (More on these items at a later date.) If you’re at CES, or just returning, please let us know what you were looking for… and what you found!