Jan Dubauskas is the Vice President of Healthinsurance.com.
When we think of Medicare-eligible seniors, tech-savvy isn’t the first term that comes to mind — but maybe it should be. Today’s seniors own smartphones, smart TVs and tablets; they use wearables and may have even cut the cable cord. This generation of seniors is not like our grandparents; they are mobile and more connected with their kids and grandkids.
Although seniors may have been slower than the younger generations to adopt technology, 2019 AARP research suggests that they are now keeping pace and using technology to help them remain comfortable in their homes. And Covid-19’s social distancing is likely only accelerating their adoption of tech as seniors combat isolation with technology solutions.
My company recently released a survey that shows just how tech-savvy seniors are becoming. Insurtech and health tech companies have a large and growing market for their products. If your business markets to or works with seniors, or if you have a senior in your life, check out these three ways seniors are more tech-savvy than you expected.
Seniors own smartphones.
While we may have an image in our heads that all seniors own flip phones with large buttons, the reality is that nearly nine in 10 seniors my company surveyed have a smartphone — and they know how to use it. Instead of talking on their landline, 71% prefer to talk or text on their cell phones. The AARP survey found that 77% of adults aged 50 and older have smartphones. With so many seniors using smartphones, we can expect health care monitoring via apps on a smartphone to increase.
We also found that seniors are using their phones to conduct telemedicine appointments during the coronavirus pandemic and that 43% are so pleased with telemedicine that they plan to continue using it after the pandemic.
Seniors video chat.
Do you think of seniors as video chatters? While it may not be expected, seniors are likely driven by the pandemic’s extreme social distancing and motivated to interact as closely to as in-person as possible with their family and friends. Interestingly, more than half of seniors we surveyed are video chatting with their kids and grandkids at least once a month on their smartphone or tablet. The AARP survey found that 21% of respondents were interested in purchasing technology that allowed them to have a video conference with their health care provider. As seniors become more comfortable with video chatting, I expect more health tech applications to become available to seniors.
Seniors ‘like’ social media.
Social media seems like it is dominated by the younger generation, and it seems like a new platform is cropping up every day. At the same time, seniors are adopting social media at a strong rate: My company found that 73% of seniors are on social media, and 83% use Facebook as their primary social app. In AARP’s research, 55% of respondents used their smartphone to access a social media app. As an example, my parents are on Facebook to keep in touch with family and friends. Because they’re on social media, they have reconnected with former neighbors we haven’t seen for 20 years, a distant cousin, and high school classmates. Social media is opening windows for seniors, and it’s creating opportunities for them to expand their networks.
Senior adoption of social media is an area ripe for marketing and advertising campaigns that target the senior market, especially campaigns that provide value and enhance their experience.
Seniors are embracing technology during the pandemic, and it’s a great surprise to learn just how tech-savvy they are becoming. Insurtech and health tech opportunities are growing, so the next time you consider seniors and what they need, remember: silver tech.
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