Moderation: S. Zank, Köln
Two major demographic trends underscore the importance of considering technology adoption by older adults: the aging of the population and rapid dissemination of technology within most societal contexts including work, education, healthcare, communication and entertainment. At the same time the population is aging. Worldwide people aged 65+ yrs. are expected to increase to about 1.5 billion by 2050, representing 16 percent of the world’s population. With respect to older adults, interacting with technology is a necessity but also affords potential benefi ts in terms of enhancing their health, well-being, safety and security, and quality of life. Sensory monitoring systems and cognitive coaching tools can enhance the ability of older adults to remain at home; email, Skype and social media enhance opportunities for socialization, e-health applications can aid health management activities; the Internet can aid the performance of tasks like shopping and banking, and online programs foster opportunities for new learning. Unfortunately, despite increases in technology uptake among older adults, recent data indicates that a digital divide remains especially among the older cohorts or those from lower socio-economic status.
Not having access to and being able to use technology may put older adults at a disadvantage in terms of their ability to live independently. This presentation will focus on: ways in which technology can help foster “successful aging”; current challenges to widespread adoption of technology; and strategies to foster access and use of existing and emerging technologies among older adults. Examples from the CREATE Center will be presented to illustrate how a user-centered design approach can enhance technology access and use by diverse populations of older people.
Sara J. Czaja Ph. D.
Sara J. Czaja is a Leonard M. Miller Professor of the Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and has secondary appointments in Industrial Engineering, Psychology and Neurology at the University of Miami. She is also the Scientifi c Director of the Center on Aging at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and the Director of the Center on Research and Education for Aging and Technology Enhancement (CREATE). CREATE is funded by the National Institute on Aging involves collaboration with the Georgia Institute of Technology and Florida State University. The focus of CREATE is on making technology more accessible, useful, and usable for older adult populations.