Today’s older adults recognize the benefits of technology in maintaining their health, independence, and connection to others. The pandemic has only amplified this adoption of technology, with 61 percent of adults 65 and older owning a smartphone now, up from just 13% in 2012. In fact, three in four people age 50-plus say they rely on technology to stay connected, with those in their 50s (76 percent), 60s (79 percent), and 70s (72 percent) all exceeding 70 percent.
“Technology has helped older adults, and everyone really, stay connected with family and friends during the pandemic,” states Tabatha McKay, area vice president/general manager for UScellular in New England. “The comfort level with technology over the last several years has increased. From smartphones and tablets to smart homes, older adults are proving they are willing and able to use technology.”
While older adults may not be using their smartphones as much as their younger counterparts, they are using their mobile devices more often for video chatting, online searches, entertainment, and social media. According to the AARP, seniors are helping to drive the growth in smart home technology as well.
UScellular experts offer the following insight on how Maine older adults are using technology today.
• Connection. By far, staying connected to family and friends using smartphones and tablets has increased dramatically the past two years. Forty-five percent of adults 50+ reported using video chats, like Zoom, Facetime, or Skype, to chat with family and friends. Older adults are also emailing (89 percent), texting (92 percent), and video chatting (74 percent).
• Smart Homes. Smart home devices, like the Google Nest Hub Max, serve as a command center for other smart home devices and have the added benefit of providing a video screen that allows people to stay in touch with family, friends and caregivers in a more personal way than a just phone call. Older Americans are increasingly using smart assistants at home to help them manage everything from turning off appliances (42 percent) to controlling their thermostat (38 percent) and even setting appointment or medication reminders.
• Security. A smart home can offer numerous ways to keep safe both outside and inside a home. In fact, 59 percent of older adults use home and security technology, like Google Nest Outdoor Camera, to see who is at the front door and 48 percent to monitor their doors and windows. Google Nest Protect is a smoke and carbon monoxide detector that warns of danger by voice and siren and sends smartphone alerts to as many as six contacts. Thirty-nine percent of seniors also rely on fall detection and emergency help detectors.
• Entertainment. Adults 70-plus have a particular fondness for tablets with more than half (53 percent) owning one — up from 40 percent in 2019 — with 69 percent of them using them daily. Devices are being used to attend a live, virtual event like an exercise class, and older adults are logging in more often to streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and Disney+, with 58 percent saying they are streaming weekly.
For further information about how technology can benefit yourself or an older adult in your life, visit http://www.uscellular.com or stop by one of UScellular’s local retail stores.
UScellular is the fourth-largest full-service wireless carrier in the United States, providing national network coverage and industry-leading innovations designed to elevate the customer experience. The Chicago-based carrier provides a strong, reliable network supported by the latest technology and offers a wide range of communication services that enhance consumers’ lives, increase the competitiveness of local businesses, and improve the efficiency of government operations. To learn more about UScellular, visit one of its retail stores or http://www.uscellular.com. To get the latest news, visit newsroom.uscellular.com. Connect with UScellular on social media at facebook.com/uscellular, twitter.com/uscellular, instagram.com/uscellular, YouTube.com/uscellularcorp and linkedin.com/company/uscellular.