Many young adults don’t know life before the internet. They grew up with technology, and using it became second nature to them. For older generations, however, the experience growing up was entirely different. Because of this difference in experience from one generation to the next, stereotypes about older adults and technology persist, which permeate everywhere from popular media to the healthcare industry. Like any stereotype, these false beliefs are misleading and even damaging. Here are some common myths about older adults and their relationship with tech — and more importantly, why you should think twice next time you hear them!
MYTH 1: Older Adults Dislike Technology
Just because older adults might not use technology as much as younger generations doesn’t mean they dislike it. In fact, a recent report by the AARP found the following:
- 70% of older adults made a new tech purchase within the past year
- 64% expressed interest in at least one upcoming tech advancement
- 75% of older adults use technology to stay socially connected
The report emphasized that older adults used tech as a primary way to handle daily living, stay entertained, and socialize — similarly to how younger adults choose to use it. However, many older adults don’t feel it’s inclusive. 2 in 5 people over 50 feel like many technologies are not designed for all age groups in mind, citing poor user experiences and designs. It’s not that older adults dislike tech; it’s that they feel it sometimes isn’t optimized for their demographic.
MYTH 2: Older Adults Don’t Use the Internet
Another common myth about older adults isn’t that they don’t browse the internet, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. A Pew Research discovered that over 75% of adults over 65 with an internet connection use the internet daily! Here are some of the statistics the research team shared:
- Social media use for older adults has increased fourfold over the past decade, with Facebook being the most popular social media site among them
- Since 2021, nearly half (49%) of adults over 65 use YouTube
- 1 in 3 older adults use video chat to connect with family and friends
The primary difference between internet use among younger and older adults was that older adults spend less time on it: half of adults aged 18-29 reported being online “almost constantly,” while the number was far less for those over 65. Nevertheless, this research indicated that despite spending less time online than their younger counterparts, older adults do use it regularly and even visit many of the same sites that younger adults frequent.
MYTH 3: Older Adults Don’t Understand Smartphones
Another ongoing myth about older adults is that they don’t own, use, or understand smartphones. The AARP reported that approximately 90% of adults aged 50-59 own a smartphone, and even 72% of adults over 70 own one, so this clearly isn’t the case. Additionally, they found that:
- 92% of adults over 50 use text messaging to communicate
- 1 in 3 older adults have ordered food delivery on a smartphone
- 30% of older adults post online reviews with a smartphone
However, research showed that a primary reason older adults use smartphones is for telehealth, medical appointment scheduling, and prescription ordering, indicating a trend in older adults managing their healthcare through smartphones. In addition, one poll suggested that over a quarter of adults between 50-80 use mobile health apps on their smartphones. Among those health app users, 25% have even used these apps to share health data with their providers.
How DocResponse Dispels Myths About Older Adults & Tech
Since evidence shows that many older adults turn to tech to enhance their healthcare, it only makes sense for healthcare software to cater to their demographic. Unfortunately, many digital health companies are falling short in this regard. The desire to use technology among older adults is there — it’s the tech that isn’t answering the calling.
Conversely, DocResponse is a software company that keeps older adults in mind. In fact, DocResponse’s digital check-in and clinical documentation solution yields an 80% patient adoption rate, many of whom are older adults. Here are just a few of the ways DocResponse is friendly for all demographics:
- Their login and download-free telemedicine solution is simple for anyone to use with the single click of a button
- Their digital check-in tool is not app or patient portal-dependent, allowing people to simply click a link to complete all pre-registration information
- The clean, simple, easy-to-understand user interface requires minimal clicks with clear instructions every step of the way
One common objection providers have about switching to a more digital patient workflow is they are concerned about how older adults will adapt to the tech upgrade. However, time and again they’re proven wrong when they see how easily every patient – young or old – is able to use DocResponse! Schedule a demo to learn more about how this patient-friendly software will improve your practice.