Digital communications designer at Sanoste
Technology and elderly people are often seen as an impossible combination. We tend to think that the elderly do not understand how to use technology and digital devices, and that they are unwillingly to learn these skills. On the contrary, elderly people’s attitude towards new digital solutions is in fact curious and positive.
The elderly have already adopted social media as a way to keep in touch with their family and friends. The use of tablet devices and mobile phones is also increasing among senior users. Furthermore, with new digital services, care, rehabilitation and even activities can be brought easily to those who live far away from services.
When examining how elderly people are using technology, a lot of resemblance with young people’s behaviour can be seen. Both the elderly and young people are seeking technological solutions that will ease their everyday life. If they do not instantly see the benefit of a new product or service, they will not adopt it.
One way to ensure that the elderly benefit from new technology is to develop digital solutions and services together with them and listen to their wishes and needs. More so, we should focus on how to make the technology adapt to the lives of elderly people instead of trying to get the elderly to adapt to new technology.
The elderly have already adopted social media as a way to keep in touch with their family and friends.
As the population is ageing rapidly alongside digitalisation, many associations have started to offer digital education and guidance for the elderly on how to use computers and mobile devices.
In Finland, we have great ways to support the elderly in the digital transformation. One example are senior mentors, voluntary elderly people who are teaching digital skills to their peers. The support they are providing lowers the threshold of using technology and encourages the elderly to see that age is not a limit when it comes to learning new skills.
Digitalisation is a big part of today, and the use of digital solutions and services will keep on growing in the future. Although there are still a lot of elderly people that do not use technology, a positive change can be seen. With the digital guidance and support given to elderly people in Finland, we can expect them to successfully make the digital leap.