Have you ever noticed that most devices designed to assist older adults, whether it’s hearing aids, canes, orthotic shoes or a medical alert system, are devoid of any style? It’s no wonder that getting mom to wear her panic button in case of a fall is a hard sell. Not only are assistive devices often clunky, but many also haven’t changed in decades and the design screams “I’m over-the-hill!” But recently, small groups of “Longevity Explorers” are sharing their struggles and their wish lists for technology with the developers. And it’s about time; the older tech market is rapidly growing as aging baby boomers continue to work well into retirement age and are eager to stay relevant, sharp and engaged.
By embracing technological advances, older adults can not only remain independent longer, but they can also help companies develop products that will enhance their aging experience. With product evaluations and analysis, older adults or the families of seniors can explore what devices or apps might be most helpful, what housing options are available to older adults or how to prevent falls that can lead to functional decline.
With the help of medical advances, older adults are living longer. But the key to enjoying these added years is to be able to live an active and fulfilling life well past retirement age. And technology can help seniors stay part of the conversation; gradually tech is catching up with the needs of seniors and soon contemporary and less detectable assistive devices will be the norm. The future of aging is so bright, you may have to wear (prescription progressive) shades!
Learn more about current Longevity Explorer “circles” throughout the United States by following this link to the Tech Enhanced Life website. Companies developing products for older adults can also gain paid access to information or connect with senior “explorers” who are paid a fee to take part in focus groups and other projects. The results to date have surprised developers whose often stereotypical views of seniors have been busted wide open.