By AFRO Staff

In 2023, technology is advancing each day. Between work-from-home opportunities that rely heavily on virtual meeting platforms to artificial intelligence, now is not the time to fall behind– especially if you are a senior citizen. 

According to the Pew Research Center, in 2021, “96 percent of those 50 to 64 use the internet, compared with 75 percent of those 65 and older who report being internet users.” 

As more senior citizens embrace technology, advocates are calling for engineers and developers to innovate with their elders in mind. According to a study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, senior citizens are open to technology and all of the benefits–once they have overcome the learning barriers. 

“Technology now supports or streamlines many day-to-day activities. This continued technological development is occurring alongside the aging of global populations, creating opportunities for technology to assist older people in everyday tasks and activities, such as financial planning and connecting with friends and family,” read the study. “New technology also has the potential to provide timely interventions to assist older adults in keeping healthy and independent for longer.”

According to the Pew Research Center, “96 percent of those ages 18 to 29 own a smartphone compared with 61 percent of those 65 and older, a 35 percentage point difference.” (Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash)

Common barriers for senior citizens looking to integrate technology into their lives include confusing instructions, “lack of knowledge and confidence,” cost, “feelings of inadequacy, and comparison with younger generations.” 

This week, the AFRO worked with Amera Bilal, vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion at Broadmead, a not-for-profit retiree facility for continuing care, about technology and senior citizens. 

Read below to get tips on how to keep up with the digital age- even in the golden years.

AFRO: What advice do you have for senior citizens who might be apprehensive about learning how to use new technology?

AB: Do not be afraid of new technology – tablets, smartphones and laptops are great devices to use for personal and professional tasks.  It is okay to ask for assistance in tailoring apps for what you use the most so you are not overwhelmed.  There are also online resources such as YouTube that will walk you through the features of your device so you can maximize your comfort.

AFRO: What advice do you have for senior citizens looking to use the internet for everyday tasks and entertainment? 

AB: Protect yourself – free classes are offered to help protect seniors from scams and other harmful online behavior.  If you know what to look for and how to avoid and report fraudulent activity, it can increase your confidence in conducting business or using tools online.

AFRO: What can senior citizens do to become more tech savvy?

AB: Take a computer literacy course – these are a great way to learn as well as meet new people! Older workers and retirees can even benefit financially from gaining new computer skills.  Contact your local senior center, library, or community college to find out what courses are offered.

Amera Bilal works collaboratively across Broadmead to increase DEI metrics in the resident population, community outreach efforts and workforce. She has an internal and external focus on increasing recognition, partnership and impact between Broadmead and organizations that assist in increasing capacity to serve diverse clients in senior housing, healthcare and aging services.