Seniors not slow with smartphones

Seniors are embracing technology and making smartphones a key part of their lives, a new report has found.

Monash University’s Dr Harriet Radermacher said a Deloitte mobile consumer survey showed a 10 per cent increase in older people’s smartphone ownership in the year to July 2017.

It found 78 per cent of seniors aged 65 to 75 owned a smartphone, up from 69 per cent in 2016, as well as 82 per cent of 55 to 64-year-olds.

The findings were in sharp contrast to widely-held stereotypes of older people being unable or unwilling to understand and use new technology.

“Rampant ageism means that society still regards 64 to 75-year-olds as doddery people in an aged care home,” Dr Radermacher said.

“The reality is that an increasing majority of this cohort is very active and more socially engaged than ever.”

Griffith University’s Dr David Tuffley, who researches the impact of technology on quality of life, said he was not surprises by seniors’ keen uptake of smartphones.

Older people were discovering the benefits of social media to connect them with family and friends, as well as accessing government services, finding health-related information and shopping online.

“Local and state governments are increasingly funding digital literacy training in retirement and aged care facilities and the operators of these places also assist as it keeps their residents happy,” Dr Tuffley said.

“Times are changing. The digital divide probably still exists with the 75-plus demographic, but that figure will push north when the 65-plus demographic, who are tech-savvy, get older.”

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