It’s True: Seniors are the New Tech Adopters

When thinking about seniors using technology, many imagine the iconic image of an old lady laying on the ground using her Life Alert bracelet to inform paramedics that she’s fallen in her home. But today’s seniors are not the feeble, white-haired, health-addled octogenarians of days gone by. Seniors today are active, vibrant, and tech-savvy, using digital health devices to support longevity and improved health, managing their lifestyles, and staying connected to the outside world. For tech companies, seniors represent a new market for growth and adoption.

Digital adoption among seniors
In a recent survey conducted by AARP, it found that seniors are using technology at a far more advanced rate than anticipated. Survey results found that 77% of seniors own a smartphone, and of those 81% for those over 60. This digital connectivity also extends to other smart technology, as the organization found that people over 55 use their smartphones in conjunction with wearables and smart home devices at the same pace as young adults. They are the second largest consumers of smart technology out of all demographics. And 51% of respondents say they have bought a new technology product within the last year, as they look to stay updated on the latest devices and technology.

Unburdened by children and career, more seniors are spending on technology to support their lives and connect to those around them. The technology industry is seeing a marked boom, partially due to the increased spending from seniors as they see clear advantages of using digital technology to improve their lives. This data shows that today’s seniors are more invested than ever in staying informed in the world around them, staying connected to friends and loved ones, and actively managing their health.

Seniors and digital engagement
Engagement is a key reason why seniors are adopting technology so quickly and in large numbers. Next-gen digital platforms now understand the role of personalization and connection, creating digital interaction that drives utilization among senior populations. In a study by Hinge Health on digital health education, the results found that retirees were the most engaged segment, completing 19 more exercise therapy sessions, accessing 11 more articles, and sending five more messages to the clinical team than any other group assessed. An additional survey found that digital health users over the age of 60 reported the highest level of satisfaction with their digital health experience than any other demographic. Driven by its ease of use and simplicity, along with the personalized connection, seniors are embracing digital health to support their lives and manage their health.

In our own data, we found that visits to the Medisafe platform among seniors is 30% higher than any other age group. And engagement with customized content among seniors is twice as high as other groups, when delivered as part of a pharma-branded program. Anecdotal responses from seniors cite the platform for being a useful tool in explaining and guiding patients through their medication journey. Over the course of just 30 days, seniors created the highest retention rates on Medisafe, with a daily engagement rate of 55%, meaning that more than half of all seniors using the digital platform every day to stay connected to their medication. From this data, it’s clear that older people tend to pay more attention to their health and are more motivated to take steps to tackle their health issues – now supported by digital health platforms.

Digital health use to support senior living
Seniors today are living longer today, and consuming healthcare service more frequently, using digital health options daily. The pandemic has helped to shift how seniors access care resources, with many turning to digital health platforms. Accenture’s report on health care in 2020 found that 92% of seniors over 65 used virtual care at least once in the past year. And that telemedicine uses among seniors helped to drive utilization up 300% compared to the previous year.

But it isn’t just virtual visits that’s driving technology use among seniors. Older adults are using digital platforms to find information about medical conditions, symptoms, prescriptions, and vitamins. Surprisingly, young adults had similar levels of activity, as both young and old want more digital guidance on managing their health. And that guidance extends to medication management. In the same AARP survey, 40% of respondents say they want to use a digital drug companion to guide them on when and how to take their medications and provide feedback to their healthcare provider.

Additionally, more than half of seniors want to have their health care needs managed by a mix of medical staff and health care technology, and say they are comfortable sharing personal health-related information from wearable devices with health care providers. Seniors today want devices that support their health, make daily activities such as medication use easier, and provide a digital closed loop to their care team, so they can focus on their lives – not their condition.

Senior impact for digital health marketing
Modern advancements in medical care mean seniors are living longer, staying in their homes longer, and consuming technology more rapidly to stay connect to the lives of their loved ones and the world around them. Today’s seniors are more active, vital, engaged, and tech-savvy than any previous generation. They aren’t the image of seniors and grandparents of years’ past. And new tech solutions are ramping up to serve the largest senior population ever, with new platforms and devices to support them. With more than 76M baby boomers living longer, and staying active on new medications, pharma companies are wise to embrace this trend, develop sophisticated digital platforms that can support senior needs. The $13B digital therapeutics market continues to see rapid growth, and with seniors representing a large portion of healthcare consumers, wise pharma marketers would benefit from including seniors among their targets.

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