When older eyes see the world through a different lens, something magical happens. Yet, many people see stereotypes when it comes to seniors, thinking they’re averse to new technology. Revera’s landmark Report on Ageism highlighted many of these biases, but also indicated that, according to Canadians, one of the top three changes suggested to combat age discrimination is to invest in technologies that can help older people live independently for longer.
Research from the Pew Research Center on Technology Use Among Seniors in 2017, showed 80 per cent of people 65 and older in the US owned a cell phone and 42 per cent owned a smartphone. Those numbers continue to rise, and though these adoption rates aren’t as high as millennials or other cohorts, they do show that seniors are more digitally connected than ever before – and the numbers are only growing.
Why Tech is Ageless
Older adults use technology to keep socially active and remain informed about news and world issues. They appreciate the ease of connecting with friends, family and the world around them as technology improves, particularly in the world of virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR).
Revera retirement homes are ideal for exploring some of these new technologies. For instance, Rendever is one company that specializes in virtual reality platforms designed for older adults to combat social isolation. In some retirement homes, they work with seniors to create experiences they can share with their fellow residents, friends and families. These kinds of possibilities can make a big difference in the lives of seniors eager to stay connected through technology.
Seeing the (Virtual) Possibilities for Seniors
Imagine the joy of exploring a bucket list of places or experiences. How about taking journeys through time and visiting places someone has always dreamed about? A safari in Tanzania? Paris in Spring? With VR, they’re accessible for anyone.
A seemingly simple headset can make a world of difference to older adults. Augmented reality (AR) has even more promise to assist older adults. Unlike virtual reality, augmented reality is an interactive experience of your real-world environment so what you are seeing is enhanced by a computer program.
Think of it this way, if you’re trying to build a piece of furniture it can be confusing to keep having to go back and read the instructions and find all the pieces. With AR, instructions would be displayed right on your glasses in a way that would highlight what piece fits where so you wouldn’t need to keep referring to a set of instructions – think of all the Ikea frustrations that could be avoided! Of course, there are many other applications to this technology and some that have yet to be explored.
The shared experience of trying something new together also has enormous value in building community and fun. It is an exciting time to find new uses for technology that will support older adults maintain their independence and assist them in their daily lives.