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Older Americans Technology Usage Continues To Grow


Virtually all Americans use some type of technology on a day-to-day basis, and citizens over 50 years old are no exception to this rule. Even though many people may think that older individuals shun modern devices, smart phones, the Internet and other 21st-century must-haves, this is not the case. A new study put out by AARP indicates that adults over the age of 50 use a broad range of devices to shop, obtain information, and connect with friends and family.


Statistics show that 91 percent of Americans over the age of 50 use a personal computer and 90 percent own a laptop. Additionally, over 80 percent of individuals between the ages of 50 and 64 have smartphones or iPhones, a percentage that is very close to that of the general population.

More than 50 million Americans above the age of 55 state that they believe modern technology enriches their lives in one way or another. Additionally, 25 percent of older adults enjoy advanced driver assistance technology in newer model cars.


With regard to technology at home, approximately one out of two older Americans now own a Smart TV–a television that is Internet connected and digital–and almost 10 million plan to purchase one sometime in 2019. Older Americans are even interested in ultramodern devices such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home. A recent survey completed by AARP indicated that one in seven individuals 50 years of age or older own one of these two devices.


Older individuals have distinct patterns regarding how they use modern technology. For example, Smartphones and iPhones are their devices of choice for communicating with friends and family, whether through text or voice calls. However, for entertainment and news they report using tablets went on the go. Traditional desktop PCs and laptops are used most frequently by older individuals to pay bills, search for information, schedule medical appointments or send emails.

With regard to social media, older individuals often use such venues to post pictures, send congratulations, wish people happy holidays, and connect with old friends with whom they have lost touch over the years. Some older adults even use Facebook and Twitter to “keep tabs” on their grandchildren and see what they are up to from time to time.


Regarding fitness trackers, Apple watches and other types of wearable technology, just a small percentage of older individuals are currently on board. Those under 50 are far more likely to invest in such devices than those over age 50, although this statistic may change significantly in the future.

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