March 26, 2023

Developments and advancements in enabling technologies must be paired with the appropriate design associated with products and services that address older adults’ needs and wants, support for improving awareness and availability, efforts to create effective messaging regarding potential benefits, and the development of education and technical support programs.

A more complete plus holistic understanding of the particular decision-making processes of old adults may help to facilitate awareness and the adoption of new digital systems and their applications. Characterizing older adults using stereotypes and assumptions has led to gaps within truly knowing users, and prevented designers, developers plus marketers from fully considering the breadth and dynamic nature of various factors that will drive adoption and use. Design efforts and research focus have been centered around the needs of physical health, safety plus simplicity, and older grownups have often been categorized as a single user group without a full description associated with the social settings plus environments in which technology services and products may become used. Although target end-users may end up being older adults, designers and producers of technology can also consider reaching family caregivers plus community members, as these individuals frequently act as intermediaries who obtain necessary information, support technology adoption decisions, and assist in choices related in order to home and housing (Fig. 1 ). Understanding such social dynamics may also help to uncover untapped distribution plus delivery channels. Furthermore, better outcomes will follow through increased attempts to include older adults and related decision-makers in the design process for an improved understanding of needs, idea generation, concept validation and design evaluation. These initiatives can take many forms, including facilitating the direct inclusion associated with older grown ups in describing needs plus goals, creating solution ideas, developing and prototyping product concepts, conducting pilot user experiments, plus more 16 .

Fig. 1: Multi-stakeholder dynamics supporting technology ownership by older adults.
figure 1

The successful use of technology-enabled products and services by old adults might be supported in numerous ways by multiple entities, including families, caregivers and social communities; technology providers; as well as the surrounding infrastructure.

In the area of public policy, governments, businesses plus non-profit organizations should support universal access to platform technology and systems such as broadband and smartphones or tablets, as these serve as enablers plus channels with regard to services and applications (Fig. 1 ). Equity and inclusion should be a goal for the particular development plus distribution associated with new technologies to ensure that benefits are delivered to older adults and family members in different areas and situations. The digital divides that exist between generations, socioeconomic groups plus geographical areas may persist and even expand without commitments to improving technological infrastructure and assisting the addition of older adults and other groups who are less likely to be digitally connected 17 . Equitable plus universal entry to adequate technologies platforms and reliable connectivity is not only an enabler in order to facilitate technology use, but should also be a key consideration regarding infrastructure advancement as it could act as a public wellness requirement.

Education is an important element for producers of technologies and companies of associated services, while well like for consumers and end users. Although few studies provide recommendations to incorporate technologies plus accommodate related services (for example, ref. 18 ), many commercial guidelines and practical principles intended for aging in place focus on architectural design and elements of the physical environment (for example, doors, floors and handles) to make sure safety. Similarly, design recommendations for creating age-friendly user interfaces have traditionally been focused around increasing readability and efficiency within graphical plus menu-based interfaces, many of which may not be readily applicable to systems that are usually embedded into the home. As new technologies continue to enter our aging society, design principles and requirements need to evolve and expand in order to be compatible with different possibilities such because naturalistic interfaces (for instance, using speech or motion), increased automation, and integration with everyday products and services. Caregivers — both formal plus informal — are also not really equipped with the particular necessary knowledge to recommend and make use of technology services and products that may be helpful for their job, as well as to get the well-being of the recipient of their own care. Possibilities for technology use and integration, as well as the implications of potential advantages and risks, need to be considered in more detail.

Lastly, the standardization of key terminology plus definitions (Box 1 ) might help in order to facilitate communications among developers, across stakeholders, and among producers and users. For example , although the concept of the particular ‘smart home’ has received popular attention and promises benefits to improve safety and convenience in the home, numerous older grown ups as well as much of the general public cannot easily define what constitutes a smart home, plus inconsistencies are found even among practitioners and researchers in associated fields 19 . Effective communication to improve knowledge of new technologies and their capabilities among old adults seeing that well as other population groups will help to reduce understanding gaps in between users of different demographic, socioeconomic and experiential characteristics, and will help future consumers in order to easily incorporate technologies into their everyday lives.

A technology-enabled future has the potential to improve convenience, connectivity and care for older grownups and households in the rapidly aging world. But for brand new technologies to truly aid older adults in remaining in their homes for longer, a holistic approach to address current plus anticipated challenges — along with support from public and private sectors, efforts through multiple industries and disciplines, and considerations that span technical plus social dimensions — will be necessary.

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