More seniors using technology


February 10, 2011

A recent gathering at a community center in San Jose, California, revealed that technology is not just for savvy twenty-somethings or garrulous teenagers. Around 60 people gathered at the Willow Glen Community Center to discuss Gmail and almost everyone was older than 50, according to The Seattle Times.

This highlights a national trend – computer use among seniors has doubled over the past decade and baby boomers are even more technology-driven than their parents. This is largely due to the fact that many spent much of their working lives on computers and are already familiar with the technology.

Christiana Clem, spokeswoman for AARP, noted that, seven years ago, most members of the organization didn't have email addresses, but now everything has changed and the digital divide has narrowed.

Many older adults are using web-based platforms such as Facebook and e-mail to stay in touch with distant family members.

Computers aren't the only technical product that can benefit seniors – many older adults who live far from their family members may also want to consider installing a medical alert system in their home. These devices allow users to instantly send personal emergency response messages if they require assistance, which can be beneficial for older adults living alone.

"The real trick is getting them over the initial hump [of using computers,]" Aaron Smith, a senior research specialist with Pew Internet, told the news provider. "Once they're involved, they are as active or more active than other users."