According to Pew Internet Research, Baby Boomers are using tablets and mobile devices in a big way. According to their recent report, a third of American adults own tablet computers and 38% of all adults age 45 to 54 years of age use tablets to connect to the internet. Another 28% of adults age 55 to 64 years of age own tablets and use them to browse, shop, and research on the internet. Even more interesting, the number of adults age 65 and older owning tablets and using them increased from 8% in 2011 to 18% in 2012. that is a significant jump and shows just how open the older generation is to learning new technology – especially if it makes their lives easier and more interesting.
Baby Boomers are considered by technology companies to heavily influence their industry. Over 41% of Apple’s customers are Baby Boomers. It’s not a good idea to plug all Boomers in as ultra-savvy in all things tech. Like their children and grandchildren, they are selective in which elements of technology they like to use. A recent Nielsen report paints a picture of “techno-Boomers” — a subset of the senior crowd who are far more likely to own an electronic reader or an iPhone than the rest of their generation, who tend to gravitate toward desktops and laptops. These techno-Boomers, like their kids in Generation X, are 40% more likely to own an iPhone.
“Internet users over the age of 50 are driving the growth of social networking as their usage of the social net has nearly doubled to 42% in the past year. 53% of Boomers are on Facebook,” Nielsen reports.
Just after the iPad tablet was released in 2010, wave after wave of anecdotes came out about how fast seniors were adopting the new platform so readily. While the iOS interface was designed and built for the smaller iPhone device, it is probably no accident on the part of Apple’s design team to come up with an interface that requires such a small learning curve to operate, making it very marketable for the over-50 crowd.
This comfort with tablets and mobile media means Baby Boomers will also be comfortable with health technology as it becomes more common. In many instances Baby Boomers are already playing the role of caregiver for aging parents while still working full time and health technology can help tremendously to relieve some of this burden. For example, there are Fall detection sensors are essentially gyroscopes that measure a person’s sway, orientation, and impact with surface. Automatic fall detection devices, including monthly monitoring, are available for around $75 a month from companies such as MyHalo and Philips LifeLine.
Sensor technology is even embedded in chairs. “Health-e-Chair” by Commwell Medical incorporates biosensors to measure basic vital signs such as blood pressure, temperature, heart rate, lung sounds, blood oxygen saturation, motion and reflex response time. The basic Health-e-Chair costs $3,500, which enables patients to self-monitor their vital signs. The ability to transmit data to healthcare professionals adds another $3,250 to the price tag. The full system (including chair, bio-metric sensors and transmitter) can be leased for $595 per month from Commwell Medical.
These are just a couple of the new technologies that will help caregivers support their aging loved ones and also help our older friends and neighbors and eventually ourselves maintain our independence and live the way we want as we age. As Baby Boomers we have always done it our way and that is exactly how we will continue on! Remember, Live Out Loud!!