A new era in senior wellbeing - Hindustan Times
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A new era in senior wellbeing

ByRajagopal G
Apr 09, 2024 03:06 PM IST

This article is authored by Rajagopal G, co-founder and CEO, KITES Senior Care, Bengaluru.

As per the India Ageing Report 2023, there were 149 million persons aged 60 years and above in 2022, comprising around 10.5% of the country’s population. And, by 2050, this population will double to 20.8%, with the absolute number at 347 million. Thanks to the constantly evolving digital world we live in, there's a heartening shift among seniors aged 50 and above. Despite the current digital literacy standing at just 11%, and health literacy rates ranging from 3% to 27% across various domains, we are witnessing positive changes among this demographic.

Old age (representative)(Unsplash) PREMIUM
Old age (representative)(Unsplash)

Far from the stereotype of being technologically handicapped, seniors are stepping into a new role as pioneers of tech adoption. In today’s world where technology has seamlessly woven itself into the fabric of our daily lives, it's not just the younger generation that is reaping the benefits. From streamlined communication to simplified everyday tasks, technology has become an unexpected ally in enhancing the well-being of seniors, challenging preconceived notions and showcasing their remarkable adaptability to the digital age.

The surge in tailored tech for seniors is not merely a response to their comfort with gadgets but a strategic recognition of the unique needs of this demographic. As technology continues to evolve, it becomes a valuable tool not just for convenience but for actively contributing to the health and lifestyle of seniors. This change marks a significant shift in the narrative, acknowledging that technology is not just a luxury for the younger generation but a fundamental aspect of aging with vitality and independence.

The conventional narrative depicting seniors as hesitant to adopt technology is rapidly changing. Today, seniors aged 50-plus are not merely adapting to tech; they are becoming proficient users. The familiarity and comfort with digital devices are no longer exclusive to the younger generation, as seniors seamlessly integrate technology into their daily lives. The increased familiarity with digital devices, coupled with a shift in the tech industry towards more user-friendly designs, is contributing to this newfound comfort.

A recent AARP report on "2024 Tech Trends and Adults 50+" brings a lot of insights into the adoptability of tech among the seniors. A critical aspect of the success of tech adoption among seniors is the ongoing user-friendly revolution sweeping the industry. Gadgets are now designed with simplicity in mind, addressing concerns of complexity that seniors may have faced in the past. The emphasis is on intuitive interfaces, clear instructions, and support systems that cater to the unique needs of the older generation.

Despite the parity in tech ownership between the senior and younger age groups, a cautious undertone persists among seniors. They may be comfortable with what they know, but there's often a 'wait-and-see' approach when it comes to embracing new technologies. This hesitancy is rooted in the perception that today’s technology is geared towards younger generations, is too complex, and lacks the necessary instruction or training.

The report underscores how tech infusion enhances seniors' lives. With the 50-plus age group now comparable to 18-49 in tech device ownership, seniors widely adopt technology. The data highlights active engagement with digital services, predominantly through apps, emphasising tech's role in social connections. Notably, half of adults aged 50-plus recognise tech's potential for a healthy life. However, there's an underutilisation of technology for health management, signaling untapped potential.

Recognising the unique needs of seniors, the geriatric industry is undergoing a transformative phase. New devices are being launched with a primary focus on senior well-being. This shift goes beyond conventional gadgets, catering specifically to the health and lifestyle requirements of the older demographic.

The acknowledgment that technology can enable a healthy life is a crucial step forward. There is immense potential for tech solutions in managing chronic health issues, urging seniors to view technology not just as a convenience but as a proactive tool for enhancing their well-being.

This paradigm shift signifies a recognition that technology can be a powerful ally in promoting a healthier and more active lifestyle among seniors. In a world where four in five seniors say they use technology to stay connected with friends and family, this expansion into health-centric tech is a natural progression. Key findings from the AARP report highlight that despite seven in ten seniors having one or more chronic health issues, there is a gap in using technology for effective health management, signaling untapped potential in this realm.

The soon to be launched KITES Senior Care tech platform aims to bridge this gap. The platform is aimed at promoting healthy and active aging for seniors based on our learnings from caring for seniors over a few years. This comprehensive platform includes a personalized health hub for seniors, provides engagement opportunities and allows them choice of products and services that adds to their quality of life. For this, we have partnered with India's leading and reputed wearable brand that will facilitate data capturing.

It's clear that seniors are not just getting used to technology; they're leading a change. The positive impact of technology on their well-being is a crucial step towards making their lives better. The user-friendly revolution goes beyond simple interfaces; it helps seniors feel more confident and independent, opening the door to a new era of well-being.

In this journey together, seniors are the ones making choices about their digital future, and their use of technology signals a promising sign. As seniors get more comfortable with tech, we can look forward to many new and innovative devices designed to keep our older generation healthy and active. The future looks good, promising a time where technology will play a big role in keeping our seniors well and helping them lead a full life.

This article is authored by Rajagopal G, co-founder and CEO, KITES Senior Care, Bengaluru.

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