George wakes up early. At his age, sleeping for more than 6 hours seems increasingly difficult. He pours himself a coffee while turning on the tablet his grandson gave him; a few minutes later he begins to leaf through the financial digital section of the New York Times; You pay your taxes online and take time to roam Amazon before your calendar notifies you of the video call you’ll have with your child in a few minutes.
George, aged 75, never thought he would get to this point. For him, technology was just sending messages on WhatsApp; It was then unthinkable to carry out the tasks that he currently achieves, to such a degree that today he mentions “Tomorrow I am going to start my cooking classes online” with a smile on his lips.
The television, the radio, the ad in the browser, the people around you and the speakers in the city where you live all mention it. In all the media they emphasize it and send the same message: “The elderly are the vulnerable group in this pandemic” there is no way to deny it.
Technology is key to face 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 allow in some way to generate the feeling of “closeness” and support for our loved ones.
In an ideal world, this is how the “support” scheme would work for the risk group, but let’s analyze a little beyond the emotional needs of the “vulnerable sector”. Let’s think about the offer of products, services and solutions that should be useful to this neglected market segment, in accelerated growth, ready to be surprised and aware of everything that can be offered. However, no one has understood the right measure and how the product should be adjusted to the particularities of the segment for greater adoption and especially, that they represent a substantial help. Let’s look at some examples.
They give the feeling of company, it is very useful when carrying out small tasks or quick consultations, however, for most older adults it is still a little exploited and a complex tool. A clear example of these assistants is the inevitable Siri in Iphone models, which is wasted since no one has explained in detail its scope and therefore they are not familiar with that technology.
Devices and video calls
Mrs. Irma is very happy after ending the video call she had with her daughter after not seeing her 7 years ago. They agreed to “dial” each month, either to the cell phone or to the tablet to keep in touch, however, he described as “horrible” the process of adopting new technologies to communicate with their loved ones and that is … no wonder:
Where is the icon that they told me to press? What platform was it that he had to enter? What is a platform to begin with? Zoom, “Sky” or what was that thing called?
I have already entered a password. Why do you ask me for the password again?
What a different version in the computer is from the one I have on my cell phone!
My email again? Wow!
What number did he have to enter? Have you ever realized how difficult it is to find the numbers or lowercase letters to write?
Simplifying the above, we must think about improving the UX of our older adults in such a way that “connecting” to the digital world is as simple as possible.
The number of older people who have a Facebook account is growing more and more but to be frank, have you ever seen advertising in these media focused on this segment? Period costumes, classic car models, activities for a pensioner in his spare time. It is something that in short, 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 may have the latest generation iPhone T-1000, some gadgets and quite a few toys and have only minimal knowledge about technology and the Internet. It is not the same to download the chess game to beat artificial intelligence than to connect and face different opponents in real time all over the world. The problem is that there is no one capable of advising you on applications and platforms for entertainment, games or streaming services, not even manufacturers.
We can even go into more detail, according to the annual report of “The Information Society”, those over 65 are becoming the new millennials, with an increase in their internet use of 11% and a growth in the use of tablets of 219% in recent years. However, we hardly find data in the marketplace of apps focused on people over 60 years old.
What they need are innovative brands, aware of the impact they have on society and also patients with the segment they are targeting, such as the following brands that deserve a star:
- Prime Alert. Alert application through GPS that alerts family members and doctors where the person is.
- Medisafe or Pillboxie. Applications that warn you when to take medications, in addition, informs family members if you have done so.
- 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 the keyboard are much bigger.
The pandemic has become a catalyst for digital growth. Adoption by a segment of the population that did not originally use it provides growth and opportunities. You just have to remember that it is everyone’s social responsibility to support the vulnerable group and offer them practical and useful solutions. Let’s not see it as a sales opportunity but rather as a long-term strategy to develop technologies that provide an improvement in the quality of life of human beings in this vulnerable stage.