It seemed like with a flick of switch, we altered the way we interact, manage our lives and care for ourselves. Lockdown last spring made things like cocktail hours on Zoom and Google Meet, ordering food, groceries or personal items "in app" or most critically, meeting with your doctor via telehealth meeting the norm. While the general public had already been on board with most of these platforms, the boomer+ demographic felt the rug pulled out from underneath them this year.
Among them are older adults with dementia (14% of those 71 and older), hearing loss (nearly two-thirds of those 70 and older), and impaired vision (13.5% of those 65 and older) who can have a hard time using digital devices and programs designed without their needs in mind. (Think small icons, difficult-to-read typefaces, inadequate captioning among the hurdles.)
So, sit back for a moment and consider that. How does technology help a single woman with macular degeneration interact with her physician, pay her bills, refill her Rx or get groceries? Without human interaction - a bridge between the traditional and digital world - she is at a loss.
Further, we need to consider those individuals that may have never jumped into the digital world to begin with. Many times we work with clients that don't have email addresses or wifi in their home. To that end, there are also the financial constraints of technology. Seniors on a limited fixed income rightfully prioritize healthcare spending or basic necessities over the add ons of technology & living online.
Overall, 2020's full throttle adoption of all things connected and online has left much of the 50M seniors in the US isolated and at a handicap to obtain basic necessities and manage household finance. It's a new world, with new sets of challenges. This one can be met with qualified assistance that is educated in all matters of senior lifestyle - Medicare/insurance, housing options, fixed income living, complexities of estate and on and on.
Time is of the essence to identify individuals that could simply benefit from an "assistant" that will create that bridge into the digital world, act as a coordinator of services, foster communication between family or other advisors/providers and therein, thwart the negative effects of isolation.