WASHINGTON – Many digital health startups don’t consider the growing population of seniors in the U.S. when developing new products and technologies—but they might want to re-think that now that a recent Pew Research report has found the rate of technology adoption among seniors to be growing.
“It’s easy to understand why health technology companies don’t see seniors as likely consumers,” said David Inns, CEO of connected health company GreatCall. “This shouldn’t be the case, considering the broad spectrum of benefits technology can offer them.”
The Pew report found that half of people age 65 and older now have broadband in their home for the first time, and at the same time America is graying, seniors are also moving toward digitally connected lives. Connected home health devices are part of that technology adoption and older adults are looking to find ways to stay healthy at home while they age, especially tech-savvy baby boomers.
Inns said that digital health startups should keep these statistics in mind when developing new home health care technologies because the senior space can offer huge opportunities.
The Pew report, which was based on multiple national telephone and in-person surveys, found that younger seniors are embracing technology at a faster rate than their older counterparts. Smartphone ownership among seniors ages 65-69 grew to 59%, but only 17% of those ages 80 and older said they own a smartphone, for example.
While seniors are warming to smartphones and other home health devices, the report found that this population faces some unique barriers to a wider embrace of technology, ranging from physical challenges to a lack of comfort and familiarity with different technologies.
Inns said that to help combat these barriers to the senior population, digital health startups should demonstrate the benefits of their product to older adults and make it easy to use.