If we want to know if elderly are interested in technology or not, we could better ask them. So I did a little survey on the market friday morning to have an idea of their point of view. My target group were elderly from an age 70 or older. I interviewed 44 persons.
These were the questions:
1) Which technology are you already using these days?
- Personal computer
2 a) If you ever are less mobile, would you use following technologies that could improve your way of living ?
- Internet ( for instance online shopping,…)
- An aid for mobility (wheelchair,…)
2 b) Would/ are you receptive to medical applications (for instance: a hearing aid)
2c) What is the maximal learning period a new technology may be?
3) Suppose your muscles are too weak , so you can’t walk anymore. Which of the two following techniques would you prefer:
- An exoskeleton. A new technology that measures the signals of your brain to your legs.This measurement is painless. This technology controls an appliance (sort of a robot around the knee) with you can walk again.
66% of the elderly has a cellphone, and 47,73% has a personal computer and internet. The reasons that some elderly haven’t one of these are mostly the same: they don’t want to be accessible at any time (for the cellphone) , some find it to difficult and think they are too old for learning these technologies.
When the elderly have problems with their mobility, only 38,63 % will use internet as an aid. The majority prefer family, friends, neighbours to help them with their basic needs (food, …). These percentage is lower than the percentage (47,73%) of people who has internet. Reasons? Elderly prefer the social contacts, and they are aware of the extra cost of internet shopping and delivery at home.
Technology as medical applications are more accepted. 87% of the target group would use these medical applications if there is no other choice.They know the consequences of getting older, but as long as they could have their socials contact and mobility the majority is happy. I think that the urge of social contacts and mobility is the reason why medical applications are more accepted for them than luxury goods like cellphones and PC’s. This sounds strange because PC’s and cellphones could also improve your social contacts. (Read the blogpost of karelvanderelst “On social networking”). 73 % Of the elderly prefer an exoskeleton in stead of a wheelchair (if cost is not an issue), and most of them would have patience to learn these medical applications.
I think a lot of the elderly are receptive to technology, especially if there is a medical problem that attacks their urge of social contacts and mobility. Simplicity of the applications, and price are also important factors.