Boomers See Tech as Barrier to Aging in Place

Boomers and their Generation X children want to age within the comforts of home, however, many fear that current technology might not be up to the task.

While both generations place high value on technology as they age, 95% believe today’s technology needs to be better developed to help them successfully age at home for as long as possible, according to a joint study conducted by Phillips and the Global Social Enterprise Initiative (GSEI) at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.

Although 73% of Boomers and Gen-X surveyed said they want to age in their own homes, they believe they will have significant barriers to achieving this through the aid of technology, such as access and adoption cost, privacy, complexity of use, product integration and public policy.

These barriers, which survey respondents agree need to be addressed for future generations, already have an impact on how seniors currently use technology today.

For example, only 18% of those over 65 own a smart phone and only 56% of seniors use the Internet, according to Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project Spring Tracking Survey conducted April 17 – May 19, 2013.

Boomers and Gen-X want their parents to utilize monitoring technologies, such as home health monitors (45%) or security systems (43%), however, only 17% and 12% of seniors are using these technologies. 

Low percentages of utilization, the study suggests, could be due to a lack of coaching on how to use certain technologies.

“For peopler to live independent, fulfilling lives in their own homes and communities as they age, technology must continue to become easier to learn and use while also being better integrated with adjacent technologies, including patient care,” said Bill Novelli, professor at Georgetown University McDonough School of Business and member of the Phillips Aging Well Think Tank. 

“Philips is helping lead the way to make aging well a reality for more people,” Novelli said. “Together, Georgetown, Phillips, and others are working towards a full continuum of care for our aging population.”

Written by Jason Oliva

Jason Oliva