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The Australian Seniors Series: Seniors and Technology

As technology continues to add more convenience to many of our lives, it is us – the over 50s – who have embraced personal technology such as eBooks, wearable tech devices, laptops and smartphones, and almost 7 in 10 of us feel confident that we will be able to keep up with future innovations.

The Seniors and Technology report is the twelfth instalment of The Australian Seniors Series, an ongoing national study investigating the shifting attitudes and concerns affecting Australia’s over 50s. This chapter explores how we’re embracing the positive impact of technology on our daily lives and how we use it to monitor our health.

Seniors and Technology - The Australian Seniors Series [infographic]

It’s clear from the research that millennials aren’t the only generation that are adopting technology at a fast rate, with almost three in five (58.7%) of us proudly identifying as tech-savvy; however, the large majority (72.6%) say others tend to be surprised by our savvy tech abilities. We even have our favourite devices we use, the most popular being smartphones (75.6%), laptops (71.6%) and tablets (51.8%).

When it comes to adopting new technology, the vast majority of us (84.0%) say we’re willing to consider it and close to three quarters of us (73.8%) feel confident if we were faced with challenges such as slow internet connections, hackers or viruses. Nearly three quarters (70.6%) of us feel comfortable learning to use new technology on our own as it’s enabling us to become more independent – a crucial factor from both a social and personal health perspective.

Thanks to tech, 43.5% of us are feeling more connected with family, friends and our community and it’s even allowing us to experience events where we can’t be there in person. While only a minor portion of us say we’ve attended live-streamed or virtual events, more than a third say they would attend a virtual wedding (34.9%) and birthday (34.7%) and more than a quarter (27.0%) would stream a virtual funeral.

Health is another area where we are embracing technology. Almost two-thirds (64.3%) of us say it’s an integral part of our daily health routine and that it empowers us in managing our health (85.5% of users). For those of us utilising these tools, fitness / activity trackers such as Fitbits are most popular (56.1%), followed by apps for monitoring blood pressure (30.2%) and heart rate (27.5%), and apps to track sleep (19.1%) and count calories (16.8%). The use of health tech also extends to the doctor’s office, with almost two-in-five of us checking our symptoms online when we feel unwell.

Although we may be the newest adopters of technology, we’re embracing the digital evolution with gusto, connecting with our loved ones and using tech as a tool to maintain our personal health.

Stay tuned for the next chapter of the Australian Seniors Series! A report for seniors, by Seniors.

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Seniors and Technology Data Report [pdf]