Seniors, Technology Adoption & Wi-Fi

By Mark Tomzak
President, CareWorx

I recently came across a May 2017 article in McKnight’s Senior Living referencing a Pew Research Center study on technology adoption rates among seniors. Like most of the population, internet adoption by seniors has risen steadily over the last 15 years. When the Center began tracking internet adoption in early 2000, only 14% of seniors used the internet.  Today, 67% of adults 65 and older go online.

That’s quite the jump. Some other interesting stats from the report:

  • While 80% of seniors aged 65 and over have a cell phone, 42% use a smartphone.
    • Almost 60% of seniors 65-69 use a smartphone
  • 32% of seniors 65 and over own a tablet – with the largest group of users being 65-69 year olds at 41%

So what do these stats mean for the senior care sector? It means seniors are increasingly discovering that internet connectivity is important to them.  And that’s having a major impact on the senior care community.  While staff access to the right mobile technology and solid, secure Wi-Fi is now generally accepted as mission critical, resident access is quickly going down that path as well.

In senior living environments, access to Wi-Fi enables tech savvy seniors to continue to make the lifestyle choices they’ve become accustomed to:

  • using social media like Facebook to stay in touch with family and friends,
  • using Skype to chat with their grandkids, and
  • enjoying books or streaming movies on their tablet.

Even in skilled nursing environments, good Wi-Fi can assist in establishing a better resident environment:

  • helping resident stay connected to family,
  • encouraging social interaction through activities like Netflix movie nights, and
  • even promoting wellness and activity by using game consoles like Wii or Xbox.

The emphasis on staff engagement and retention through providing the right technology tools, coupled with increased need to ensure resident internet access means, if solid, secure, wireless infrastructure isn’t on your technology roadmap, it should be.

CareWorx provides complete technology solutions for the senior care sector.  Contact CareWorx for more information on how we can help ensure your wireless infrastructure is in sync your technology plans.