As technology adoption grows in senior living, providers may want to consider residents' reactions to technology. While recent research from Link∙age Connect found that older adults own growing numbers of devices, two recent studies highlight areas where older adults are resistant to new technology.

Older Adults Reveal Mixed Feelings about Telehealth

A recent National Poll on Healthy Aging by the University of Michigan found that adults aged 50-80 have mixed feelings about telehealth. More than 80% of older adults polled expressed at least one concern about seeing a doctor or other provider virtually rather than in person.
The poll, conducted by the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation with support from AARP and Michigan Medicine, the University of Michigan’s academic medical center, sampled 2,256 older adults nationwide.
Respondents shared concerns that healthcare providers would not be able to do a physical exam (71%) and that quality of care would not be as good as a face-to-face visit (68%). They had concerns about privacy (49%), not feeling personally connected to the healthcare professional (49%), difficulty using the technology (47%), and difficulty seeing or hearing the healthcare professional (39%).
Of the 4% polled who had a video-based telehealth visit with a provider via smartphone or computer in the past year, most preferred in-person visits. More than half indicated that in-person office visits were better in terms of overall quality of care (58%), feeling cared for (56%), communicating with the healthcare professional (55%), and spending enough time with the healthcare professional (53%).
Yet two in three of all respondents indicated they would be interested in a telehealth visit for an unexpected illness while traveling (64%). A majority (58%) have interest in doing a return visit by telehealth, and 55% would use it for a one-time follow-up after a procedure or surgery.

Alexa’s Robotic Voice Distresses Patients Who Are Living With Dementia

In the U.K., the "Better Care in the Age of Automation" report, by technology think tank Doteveryone, found that Alexa's robotic voice distresses individuals living with dementia. Alexa can also be difficult for people who cannot raise their voice loud enough or who have had a stroke and cannot form questions in a way that artificial intelligence understands.
The study, conducted through interviews with more than 100 patients and caregivers throughout the U.K., found that new devices often confused older adults.
Seniors worried that technology would replace human caregivers, and people with disabilities worried that they could become trapped if smart home features such as self-opening doors and windows broke down. A recent article in The Telegraph shared the findings.

Voice Tech Featured at LeadingAge Annual Meeting

Learn more about voice technology at the upcoming LeadingAge Annual Meeting & EXPO, to be held Oct. 27-30 in San Diego, CA.

Review the full schedule, and be sure to catch these sessions:

9-D. Voice-First Technology: Privacy and HIPAA Considerations: Learn about the privacy and HIPAA considerations surrounding voice-first technology in various regulated and non-regulated aging services settings. Mon., Oct. 28, 3:30-5 p.m.

12-F. Is Voice Technology a Viable Interface for Older Adults? Learn how a life plan community in Chicago offered Amazon Echo Dots to all independent residents, and beta-tested an enterprise management tool to configure and manage the devices. Tues., Oct. 29, 3:30-5 p.m.

Register today!