Aging and Adopting Technology
Technologies that address population aging must ensure they are clearly understood by older adults in order to minimize any knowledge gaps that might impede its adoption and usage across a broad spectrum of demographic, socioeconomic and experiential characteristics.
Technology must also be recognized as being subjective and subjective in value; it has the power to alter relationships between humans and their environments, with potentially wide-reaching ramifications for well-being. As evidenced during the COVID-19 Pandemic, technology can help track contacts of infected individuals, report vaccination histories and record health symptoms; however, such apps will only prove beneficial if available and accessible.
While new technology holds great promise, its adoption remains limited and widespread. A major contributor is its “top-down” design process which relies on technologists’ and/or geriatricians’ preconceptions of what older adults require without taking into account real world constraints or user perspectives.
An approach to technology design and development that includes users from its inception can increase its uptake and impact among older adults. Engaging both older adults and their close family caregivers in the design process may facilitate improved understanding of needs, ideas, concepts and designs. Furthermore, intermediaries who provide sources of information, support technology adoption decisions as well as assist in purchase/delivery processes are vital resources.