Arizona is entering a truly exciting time. We are moving forward to establish Arizona as a leading innovator in the biosciences, and investing in our children’s education and the economy of tomorrow. We are indeed preparing for the future, and a key part of that is preparing for the shift in population that will take place in the future.
Over the next 15 years, the average age of Arizona’s population will steadily rise. In fact, by 2020, one in four Arizonans will be over the age of 60. A significant change in our population’s age will present many challenges, I see it as an opportunity to build today the framework for a robust economy of tomorrow that accommodates older workers and consumers and to promote more active and healthy communities. It is an opportunity to make Arizona a better place to live – for young and old alike.
Four-in-ten seniors now own smartphones, more than double the share that did so in 2013
With smartphone ownership in the U.S. more than doubling in the past five years, Americans are embracing mobile technology at a rapid pace. And while adoption rates among seniors continue to trail those of the overall population, the share of adults ages 65 and up who own smartphones has risen 24 percentage points (from 18% to 42%) since 2013. Today, roughly half of older adults who own cell phones have some type of smartphone; in 2013, that share was just 23%.
Smartphone ownership among seniors varies substantially by age: 59% of 65- to 69-year-olds own smartphones, but that share falls to 49% among 70- to 74-year-olds. Smartphone adoption drops off considerably among adults in their mid-70s and beyond. Some 31% of 75- to 79-year-olds say they own smartphones, while only 17% of those ages 80 and older are smartphone owners.
Smartphone ownership is also highly correlated with household income and educational attainment. Fully 81% of older Americans whose annual household income is $75,000 or more say they own smartphones, compared with 27% of those living in households earning less than $30,000 a year. Additionally, around two-thirds of seniors with bachelor’s or advanced degrees report owning smartphones (65%), compared with 45% of those who have some college experience and 27% of those who have high school diplomas or less.
Seniors in these high-adoption groups have seen the largest growth in smartphone ownership in recent years. Since 2013, smartphone adoption among older adults who live in households earning $75,000 or more a year has increased by 39 percentage points; those with at least bachelor’s degrees, as well as those who are ages 65 to 69, have each seen a 30-point increase in smartphone adoption over that time.
Collecting and making use of data in your senior care practices can be good for a number of compelling reasons:
1. It helps you understand caregiver’s strengths better.
Every caregiver who works for you is unique. Recognizing their particular strengths and weaknesses can help you assign them the roles they’ll perform best. If one of your employees is especially good with people with Alzheimer’s while another possesses the physical strength to more comfortably move patients who need physical help, then making sure they’re each assigned tasks working with the patients who can most benefit from those skills just makes sense. Data that tracks health outcomes and patient satisfaction when specific employees are teamed up with different seniors in your care will help you better see those strengths.
2. It helps you understand individual needs better.
If your company cares for a large number of seniors, staying on top of the particular conditions of each patient and understanding over a long period of time what types of care work best for them can be tricky – especially if the staff who work with them directly changes over time. Data makes the process easier. You can track over time which activities, health treatments and tactics produce the best results for each individual. Once you can better see what works for each individual in your care, you can easily provide that information to every caregiver who works with them and ensure that they receive the highest level of care each day, every time.
3. It helps you see what works best for your business.
Understanding each senior in your care on a personal level is important, but data has the extra benefit of helping you gain insights into the larger trends in what works and doesn’t in your facilities. If offering tai chi classes consistently lead to improved health outcomes, then you may have trouble figuring that out based on anecdotal evidence, but will have an easier time seeing the relationship between the two things with the help of data.
4. It helps you run your business more efficiently and make a dollar go further.
In addition to spotting the things you try that improve outcomes, data can also help you look for ways improve how efficiently your business is run. If there are initiatives or products you’ve invested in that don’t prove to be worth the cost, your data will make it easier to identify those and cut them out of the budget in the future so you can spend more on the initiatives that are working.
5. It helps you understand the needs and priorities of your residents better, so you can build out your business to better serve them.
In senior care, there’s often a disconnect between the decision makers and the seniors affected by those decisions. As hard as you may try, if you’re basing decisions on how a facility or in-home care business is run on assumptions you’ve made about what’s working or could work, you may be guessing wrong. Data that tracks what’s really happening and what residents are really thinking and feeling can bridge any disconnect that exists and enable you to confidently make decisions based on knowledge rather than just intuition.
In this social media era, some of our oldest relatives are getting left out of the baby-picture whirl. I found this with my own mother: While my mom is an avid Facebooker, we would keep ordering up printed pictures for Grandma. And trust me, Grandma wants to see the baby pictures. All of the baby pictures.
The 8-inch, 12.5-ounce GrandPad comes with a wireless charging dock that it sits in and that turns it into a kind of desktop.
The contact books and photo albums are all managed by a caretaking relative with a smartphone, who acts as a sort of gateway between the GrandPad user and the larger internet. All the content gets pushed to the GrandPad through the LTE connection without the user doing anything. Once the caretaker sets up the contact books, though, the GrandPad user can email and call people in it. The tablet can also only be called by people in the contact book, so the caretaker can whitelist doctors, but exclude phone scammers.
The device has powerful, front-facing speakers to act as a speakerphone, and a front-facing camera for video calling. Emails can either be tapped out on an on-screen keyboard, or dictated and sent as voice mails.
The GrandPad isn’t the kind of thing that people buy for themselves; it’s something their relatives buy for them. It’s not for older people who are fine with phones and other tablets—it’s for the technophobic and disconnected.
I can’t think of anything it really competes with. Its success will ultimately come down to whether or not it’s simple enough to appeal to users who are otherwise completely resistant to technology.
No matter where seniors live, they face the possibility of isolation and loneliness. Too often, a senior finds themselves in a situation where their family lives many miles away and their network of friends has dwindled until they have no one to spend time with. This level isolation can lead to health issues, depression, and even early death.
This means using resources to combat isolation as well as using volunteers to visit seniors or give them a call to help make their day a little better. In addition, the creation of programs that provides activities for seniors to help them get involved and reduce the loneliness they feel.
Do you know of seniors who have benefited from technology to conquer isolation? Have you helped any seniors get a better understanding of programs, apps, and more that’s out there? Let us know in the comments below. Thank you!
Mark, an 82 year-old man, went to the doctor to get a physical. A few days later the doctor saw Mark walking down the street with a gorgeous young woman on his arm.A couple of days later the doctor spoke to Mark and said, “You’re really doing great, aren’t you?”
Mark replied, “Just doing what you said, Doc: ‘Get a hot mamma and be cheerful.'”
The doctor said, “I didn’t say that. I said, ‘You’ve got a heart murmur. Be careful.'”..ooh!
Traditionally, it’s been said that seniors struggle to adapt to new technologies. Yet today, six out of every ten use the Internet. Seventy percent of all senior citizens access the Internet on a daily basis, while a staggering 80 percent use social media to interact with friends, relatives and family members. The extent to which individuals older than 65 years old have adapted to new technologies is extraordinary.
Seniors have adopted new technologies to such an extent that close to 80 percent in the U.S. feel that lack of access to the Internet is a significant disadvantage. More than nine out of every ten seniors acknowledge that the Web has made it easier for them to search for information, while more than 80 percent of seniors feel the ubiquitous smartphone is a great tool that provides them freedom in their old age.
There is a direct correlation between education, income levels and the adoption of new technology. Eighty-seven percent of senior citizens who possess a college degree are comfortable using technology. This figure falls to less than 70 percent for those who have merely attended college. Senior citizens with less than a high school degree readily adopt technology at just a 40 percent rate.
Similarly, 86 percent of seniors residing in households with an annual income between $50,000 and $75,000 have adopted modern technology. Among those earning more than $30,000 but less than $50,000, the adoption rate is 63 percent. This figure falls to less than 40 percent for members of households earning less than $30,000 per year. This indicates that seniors who can afford devices like smartphones, tablets and computers are very comfortable using them.