Innovative Design, Education May Lead Baby Boomers to Embrace In-Home Technology

By Shafer, Brent; Novelli, Bill | Aging Today, November 1, 2014 | Go to article overview

Innovative Design, Education May Lead Baby Boomers to Embrace In-Home Technology


Shafer, Brent, Novelli, Bill, Aging Today


Where do you want to live as you age? For most of us, the answer is, "In my home." In fact, 90 percent of Americans between the ages of 50 and 80 years old-a majority of which are baby boomers-have this desire.

At Philips and at the Global Social Enterprise Initiative (GSEI) at Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business, we believe technology will help achieve this goal. However, according to our research (http://goo.gl/jlMlqt), many older Americans are not planning to take advantage of advances in technology to help them age independently.

Baby Boomers Not Embracing In-Home Technology

Today, a technology-capable home will have security systems, automated thermostats and Wi-Fi-services familiar to many of us. However, many American baby boomers don't use these technologies in their homes. While more than half have Wi-Fi in their residence, only 21 percent have security systems and 27 percent use automated thermostats. Surprisingly, 12 percent admitted to not having at least one form of technology in their home.

Given some of the challenges that come with aging, such as decreased mobility and dementia, it's concerning that baby boomers are effectively choosing not to better equip themselves with tools that can improve and simplify their everyday lives. Nearly 80 percent of 60- to 80-year-olds are not thinking about, or are not sure, whether they will update or upgrade their homes to aid aging in place.

Clearly, baby boomers have an aversion to adopting tech, which stems from reasons such as the perceived high cost that 42 percent of respondents mentioned, the complexity of integrating technology into the home and concerns about finding a reliable contractor for tech installation. This cohort is not considering the potential benefits of using technology to maintain independence for as long as possible, as well as alleviate stress and daily tasks that become too onerous as older adults age.

Identifying Barriers to Tech Adoption

Philips and GSEI are busy identifying and breaking down these barriers to using technology to enable people to age independently. …

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