Jorge wakes up early. At his age, sleeping above 6 hours finds it increasingly difficult. A coffee is served while turn on the tablet given to him by his grandson; briefly after begins to browse the digital financial section of the New York Times; pays your taxes online and gives you time to roam Amazon before your calendar notifies you of the video call you’ll have with your child in a few minutes.
Jorge, 75, never thought to get to this point. For him, the technology was just to send messages by Whatsapp; Unthinkable then was to perform the tasks that he currently accomplishes, to such an extent that today he mentions “Tomorrow I will start my cooking classes online” with a smile on my lips.
Television, radio, browser ad, people around you and speakers from the city where everyone lives mention it. In all media they emphasize it and send the same message: “Older adults are the vulnerable group in this pandemic” there is no way to deny it.
Technology is key to addressing this situation
In addition to the risk of contagion, the loneliness in which most older adults are immersed is palpable. It can trigger feelings of anxiety, sadness, or depression. For this reason it is vital that we take steps to get closer and somehow generate the feeling of “closeness” and support for our loved ones.
In an ideal world this is how the “support” scheme for the risk group would work, but let’s look a little further beyond the emotional needs of the “vulnerable sector.” Consider the offer of products, services and solutions that should be useful to this unattended market segment, in accelerated growth, ready to be surprised and pending everything that can be offered. However, no one has understood the fair measure and how the product should be adjusted to the particularities of the segment for further adoption and, in particular, which represent substantial aid. Let’s look at some examples.
They give the feeling of companionship, it is very useful when performing small tasks or quick consultations, however, for most older adults it is still an under-exploited and complex tool. A clear example of these assistants is the infallible Siri in Iphone models, which is wasted since no one has explained in detail the scopes it has and are therefore unfamiliar with that technology.
Devices and video calls
Mrs. Irma is very happy after she posted the video call she had with her daughter after not seeing her seven years ago. They remained “marked” every month, either on the cell phone or tablet to stay in touch, however, it called the process of adopting new technologies to communicate with their loved ones “horrible” and is that… it’s not for less:
Where’s the icon I was told I had to squeeze? What platform did I have to enter? For starters, what is a platform? Zoom, “Escaipe” or what was that thing called?
I already entered a password Why do you ask me again for the key?
What a different version is this from the computer I have on my cell phone!
My mail again? Gee!
What number did I have to place? Have you noticed how difficult it is to find the numbers or lowercase letters to write?
Simplifying the above, we should think about improving the UX of our older adults in such a way that “connecting” to the digital world is as simple as possible.
Increasingly the number of older people who have a Facebook account but being frank, have you ever seen advertising in these media focused on this segment? Vintage costumes, classic car models, activities for a pensioner in their spare time. It is something that we do not see advertised on the platforms and that obviously needs to be disseminated in this segment.
Games and online entertainment
Vanguard is a subjective term. Our older adult can have the latest generation iphone T-1000, some gadgets and quite a few toys and have barely minimal knowledge about technology and the Internet. It is not the same to lower the chess game to beat the artificial intelligence to connect and face different opponents in real time all over the world. The problem is that there is no one able to advise you on entertainment apps and platforms, games or streaming services, not even manufacturers.
We can even go into more detail, according to the annual report of the “The Information Society”, over-65s are becoming the new millennials, with their internet use increasing 11 and 219 tablet use growth in recent years. However, we find little data in the marketplaces of apps focused on over 60s.
What they need are innovative brands, aware of the impact they have on society and also patients with the segment they are focusing on, as are the following brands that deserve a star:
- Prime Alert. GPS alert app that alerts family and doctors where the person is located.
- Medisafe or Pillboxie. Applications that tell when to take medications, and informs family members if they have.
- Memory Trainer. Free APP consisting of exercises to strengthen the mind. Made by professionals in psychology and education.
- BIG Launcher. Application for people with reduced vision. The icons and keyboard is much larger.
The pandemic has become a catalyst for digital growth. The adoption by a segment of the population that did not originally use it provides growth and opportunities. It is just a social responsibility of all to support the vulnerable group and offer practical and useful solutions. Let’s not see it as a sales opportunity but in a long-term strategy to develop technologies that provide an improvement in the quality of life of the human being at this vulnerable stage.