Digital Divide – Seniors Embracing Technology – The Path Ahead For India!!

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Technology has occupied a significant place in all our lives. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that technology has become an inevitable power. Right from the start of the day to the moment we close our eyes in the night (even when we are sleeping) we are surrounded by technology. Every movement of ours is directly or indirectly assisted and at times governed by technology. It has made our lives easier than we could imagine.

It’s so welcoming to know that senior citizens are adopting technology at a faster rate than ever before. There’s little doubt that digital innovators are trying to figure out how to advertise their platforms and products to them. However, there is at least one senior citizen who struggles to text, let alone navigate smartphone apps. So, despite the fact that they are acquiring computers, smartphones, tablets, and other gadgets they intend to use them for, many older individuals claim they are still hesitant to use them.

Many apps have been developed for the welfare of the elderly. Now the senior citizens need not take much burden in any of the major concerns. Technology has reduced the dependency of the elderly on anyone for any of their chores. Medicines can be bought online, medical centers these days produce the complete medical history of their old patients online, medical check-up reminders are all available online. Through various technical advancements elderly can sit at home and meet the doctors through the screen. Doctor consultations, especially after the spread of covid, have come to online mode. Additionally, net banking has made the lives of the elderly convenient. Online money transfers, account statements and etc. can be done with few touches on smartphones.

One of the perturbations of the elderly is loneliness. The elderly feel stranded due to several reasons. The distance between them and their children is bridged by various digital platforms these days. These apps and technologies keep the adults engaged with their favorite activities and entertained. Socializing with people across the world and sharing opinions online are some of the perks of technology.

For individuals in their 60s, 70s, 80s, and beyond, screen usage has climbed. This increase in screen time corresponds to a considerable increase in older people’s embrace of digital technologies. In this 21st century, there is a significant rise in the number of smartphone owners among the elderly. However, the issue isn’t with possessing them; it’s with using them. There is no denying that a large majority of the elderly continue to struggle with technology.

Mature people and technologies concept frustrated elderly couple looking at smartphone using Premium Vector

Recent research looked at the viewpoints of older persons on technology that allows them to age in situ, for longer periods of time. The study’s authors discovered that discomfort with new technology often caused older persons to doubt their abilities to utilize it, leaving them unwilling to attempt.

Despite their interest to adapt to new technology, the elderly find the process hectic and quit up midway. This is due to technical incompatibilities with the demands of the elderly. Low technological literacy, particularly a lack of awareness of technical terminology and physical limitations, were the most significant barriers to seniors embracing new technology, contributing to a lack of enthusiasm among the elderly.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has initiated a program to build age-friendly communities in response to the rising number of senior people. They also recommended consulting elderly people on the technologies that may be involved with these communities.

Technology businesses should focus on the demands of this rising demographic as more individuals hit their 60s in the coming decades. Additionally, smartly designed and specialized technology-driven goods for the Older Adult sector will be beneficial to new enterprises and the Indian economy.

Shreenithi KC

Creative Content Intern at Aapkilathi.