Survey: Older Adults Adopt Tech at Steady Pace

CAST | September 13, 2021 | by Donna Childress

Hear the full results at the LeadingAge Annual Meeting + EXPO!
 

While conventional wisdom questions whether older adults’ use of technology changed during the pandemic, survey results from Link-age Connect indicate tech adoption continues. The “2021 Technology Study, Older Adults Age 55-100” report presents recent technology use of adults primarily between ages 70 and 100.
 
“The data reinforces what we saw before the pandemic: older adults are adopting new technologies, especially if they are affordable, functional, and simple to use,” Link-age Connect’s Executive Director Suzanne Viox said in a statement released on PRNewswire and picked up by Yahoo! Finance.

LeadingAge Annual Meeting + EXPO Session

Link-age Chairman/CEO Scott Collins will share the results in detail at the LeadingAge Annual Meeting + EXPO, to be held Oct. 24-27, 2021, in Atlanta. Be sure to catch session 1-A. Accelerating Technology Innovation after COVID, Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021, at 3 p.m. Register today!
 
Link-age Connect conducts the survey periodically and released its previous report in 2019. This year’s questions remained the same, with a few new questions added. The survey was conducted from April to June 2021.

Key Findings

The statement shared several key findings:
 

  • The apps most downloaded and used for the first time over the last 12 months were those dealing with banking and finance, followed by social media.
  • Willingness to allocate financial resources for technology is declining as more respondents find themselves on a fixed income. In 2019, almost 30% said they were not willing to allocate any financial resources for technology; this year, the number rose to 38%.
  • Cost, complexity, and security concerns were the top barriers to greater technology adoption.

The report included additional statistics of interest.

Tech Usage

  • Participation in virtual medicine is up 15%, to 19%, since 2019.
  • Older adults are spending more time online. In 2019, 47% of respondents spent one to three hours per day on the internet or apps. In 2021, a similar amount (42%) spent four to six hours online.

Device Ownership

  • Smartphone ownership has climbed 9%, to 83%, since 2019.
  • PC ownership increased by 11%, to 72%.
  • 40% of respondents own a streaming device.

 Connection

  • 89% of respondents have Wi-Fi in their home.
  • 73% of respondents have cable or satellite, which is about 13% higher than the national average.
  • 57% of respondents own a landline, up 3% from 2019.

Next Steps

The report shared these and other thoughts from the authors:

Consider Adoptability: Affordability or the perception of it always plays a key role in ownership and adoptability of technology.

Highlight the Power of Smart Devices: Older adults do not want devices that highlight their declining health or advanced age. The industry needs to do a better job of educating physicians and other healthcare professionals of the features and benefits of smart devices.

Partner to Educate about Health and Wellness Tech: Older adults learn about health and wellness tech from physicians and healthcare professionals, and 32% of respondents are extremely interested in this technology category. The industry needs to better educate professionals, including providers and payers, on the tech’s capabilities.
 
Don’t miss Collins’s presentation on the full findings. Register today for the annual meeting!