The myth that seniors don’t want to use technology and apps.

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Over the course of the last 18 months, at times we have been met with apprehension about seniors using apps, iPads and technology. We’ve heard a range of statements including:

Seniors don’t use apps or know what they are. 
Older people don’t want to use an iPad , smart phone or tablet.
I tried to teach my mum/dad but we gave up.

More often than not these comments are coming from someone in a much younger age bracket.

From the outset it’s important to accept a couple of things:

  • Technology is not used in the same way by seniors as it is for younger users.
  • Broadly speaking, over the course of the last several decades, younger users have gained a greater comfort with using technology.
  • There are groups of seniors who don’t have any desire to use technology...and that’s perfectly ok.

The tide is changing

Having said all that, there is plenty of research indicating that seniors are now embracing technology, with a growing number using tablets and iPads.

We have also heard a number of stories from people of all ages talking about how a family member enjoys using facebook, google or shopping online.  

At the Tea, Toast and Technology sessions we run, many participants come to these to gain confidence. We’ve had feedback such as:

‘The workshop really made me less fearful of making a mistake’  and
‘Thank you, I really enjoyed the session.  There was so much that I didn’t know.  Very interesting.’

Even the NSW government recognises the importance of technology for this part of the population.

A 2014 Report into the Tech Savvy Seniors Program (NSW) indicates that for every $1 invested in Tech Savvy Seniors program to date, returned $10.98 in social value. This is more than $17 million in social value for the 3 years since the commencement of the program.

Cementing the value of digital inclusion and literacy for seniors, in the recent NSW State Budget, the State Government allocated funds for an extra 3500 placements for Tech Savvy Seniors program.

Technology is used differently

So why do some people think that seniors don’t use technology?

The reality is that as we grow older we learn the technology differently. However even once someone has embraces technology, you most likely won’t see them 'glued' to their phone or tablet. There is still incredible value placed on real world contact more so than digital. Something that is also not a bad thing.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. There are men and women of all generations who have embraced all technology platforms and why shouldn’t they.

We believe that technology is a great enabler for all generations and that the investment in time supporting any person who has an appetite to learn technology is invaluable.

Share your experience and what you think.