In a very brief span of time, the use of technology by people over the age of 65 has increased and will continue to increase dramatically over the next few years. In a Pew Research Center survey, (2016) fewer than half of seniors ages 80 and up (44%) reported using the internet and just 28% said they had home broadband service. While, for those in the 65-69 age group, 82 percent report internet usage and more than 66 percent had home broadband.
These numbers indicate that the senior tsunami is now hitting the tech world. Providence Point, Pittsburgh’s premier 62+ Life Plan community sees the shift on a daily basis. According to Bob Kocent, Executive Director of the CCRC located in Pittsburgh’s South Hills, “Residents have access to a robust calendar of classes, programs and events. The growing popularity of classes for iPad, iPod and iPhone tutorials is just one piece of evidence to show that technology is becoming routine for seniors.”
The marketing office at Providence Point points out that visitors to the new ‘interactive’ website have grown dramatically as well. “Our new website has seen a big spike in visitors, and our analytics show that it is the savvy senior creating this change. Retirees are looking at our floor plans, watching our videos, and taking our virtual tours,” said Marilyn Walsh, Director of Marketing and Public Relations.
“We made the tour viewable in VR mode as well, because we have seen firsthand how much our residents enjoy that experience.”
Technology has expanded in other areas as well. The community’s Facebook page is followed and used by many of the retirement community’s residents. Those living at Providence Point also have access to an on-site healthcare kiosk which they can use to monitor blood pressure, weight, nutrition and other health indicators as part of a research study with the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing.
A special SMART HOME upgrade is now being offered to those who make a reservation for Hamilton Tower, the new apartment building that is now under construction on Providence Point’s campus. A handful of people have already opted in for the upgrade which includes things like Mobile Tablet, Smart TVs and controllers, Smart Thermostat and Lighting, SmartthinQ appliances, and remote operated window blinds.
Bob Kocent points out, “We are being responsive to our residents’ needs, and recognize that, as the boomers begin moving in, they are already regular users of new technology tools. We want to offer them MORE and BETTER access to any technology that enhances their retirement lifestyle.”