Communication Technology and Senior Living Coming of Age
When I first entered the senior care and housing industry I came from the world of technology. I was involved with a high-speed Internet start-up. I also worked for what is now one of the largest communication companies in the world, Verizon. Hence, it was natural for me to want to blend my previous and current careers.
I knew from traveling abroad how well the Instant Chat functionality worked because that is what we used to communicate with family on a regular basis. Pay a dollar or two for Internet access in anywhere-that-had-a-connection location, and “Hi mom and dad!”
Today, it is less unusual to find those aged 50 and better with iPADs and other technical wonders. For one thing, this demographic has the ability and wealth to support discretionary technology spending. Second, technology companies are getting smarter and smarter about making products very easy to work with regardless of age. Add in that more and more families are efficiently staying connected through sites like Facebook where family picture albums can be viewed by many, and clearly communication technology is coming of age in the senior living industry.
Three big opportunities: One, those 50 and better are looking for education on how to engage with technology. Recently, my parents (who fit this demographic) signed up for several hours of tutorials regarding their cell phones. More and more lifestyle communities for those 55 and better are scheduling Facebook Tutorials as part of their scheduled programming. Learning is big!
Two¸ keep it simple technology companies. Jitterbug phones have done well by staying focused on large buttons and easy access to the main functions a user may want.
Three, it is time for the youth of the world to learn how to knit in exchange for a lesson on how to use the computer. Inter-generation engagement is bolstered by technology and both groups involved in such an exchange feel great by the end of the sharing.