Transforming Lives: The Impact of Digital Health Innovations for Older Women

 by Kristen Garrett, Manager Market Research, CTA  & Patty David, VP Consumer Insights, AARP  

Many women aged 50 and up have various health concerns on their minds that digital health solutions can address while empowering women to take control of their health. These solutions can also help younger generations take preventative measures as they mature.

The total number of U.S. adults aged 50 and older is steadily growing at a yearly rate of 1.0% and is expected to reach 123.2 million individuals this year. They generate more than $45 trillion in annual economic activity, and this is projected to increase to $118 trillion by 2050. More than half of this population is female. The Consumer Technology Association (CTA)® 2023 study, The Future of Women’s Digital Health Solutions, reveals that digital health solutions can help empower these women to take control of their healthcare as more age-specific health issues start to arise. Younger women should also take note; preventive measures can offset a number of conditions for which senior women are more prone. 

Digital Health Solutions Empower Women 

Women often face challenges when seeking quality healthcare. Also, research found, women aged 50 and older are concerned about conditions arising or worsening in the next five years. Based on CTA’s study, 32% of women aged 50 and over face the challenge of high costs in obtaining healthcare. Nearly a quarter (23%) also find it difficult to prioritize their health over other expenditures. These challenges are exacerbated by the various wellness issues women in this age group are currently facing or will face five years on. These issues often include bone density, heart health, nutrition, fitness and weakening urinary systems. Digital health solutions can help alleviate these issues by offering the convenience and control of monitoring one’s health in one’s own home, and at will through private, personalized education and solutions.  

More than half (54%) of women aged 50 and up are currently, or have previously, used digital health solutions to monitor their health. Among them, 73% say the solutions are valuable to them overall. Also, 67% say the solutions help them feel more empowered in managing their health, with 66% saying the solutions have provided them with helpful insights about their health. A recent study by AARP found that 47% of women agree that technology enables them to lead a healthy life.

Digital Health Solutions Aid in Preventative Care  

The more that younger generations know about their health (including key health conditions that may become more pronounced later in life), the more they can take that knowledge and use digital health solutions to enhance preventative care. Only 64% of women younger than 50 (compared to 83% of women aged 50 and over) believe “women’s health” encompasses more than reproductive health. Moreover, 69% of women aged 50 and over say they have (or will have) bone health on their minds in the next five years, compared to 28% of women younger than 50. While nearly half (43%) of women aged 50 and over say they are currently using, or are interested in using, digital health solutions for bone health, only 18% of younger women say the same. Educating younger women with the knowledge of what “women’s health” fully entails, and what health issues they might face in the future, can help empower them to take control of their health status through digital health solutions. 

Additionally, a national survey by AARP reveals that although the average age for menopause is 51, 90% of women ages 35-plus have experienced one or more menopause symptom such as hot flashes, night sweats, and mood changes. For many, a digital solution allowing them to monitor and track menopause symptoms earlier in life could be helpful.

Digital Health Solutions Aid in Managing Chronic and Private Care

Some women are using digital health solutions to manage their chronic health condition in a private care setting. In an AARP study, 69% of older women had a chronic health condition, with 22% receiving a diagnosis in the last 2 years. Among these women, 10% are currently using tech to manage a chronic health condition- but 30% are interested in a tech solution.

Additionally, 1 in 8 (12%) women aged 50 or older have experienced a problem related to sexual functioning but over half did not seek treatment because they did not feel comfortable discussing their issue. Digital health solutions that encourage private care could bring relief to those women suffering in silence.

The Regulatory Landscape as Technologies Evolve

While digital health solutions provide vital tools for women seeking greater control over their physical wellbeing, and as technologies such as generative AI and machine learning become more advanced, privacy and other concerns often arise. Experts at CTA and aligned organizations foresee the need for enhanced standards and regulations that afford guidance on data security as digital health tools proliferate. More than three-quarters (78%) of women aged 50 and over place importance on well-secured digital health solutions when deciding what to buy and use. Moreover, 30% feel that increased usage of AI in healthcare will impinge on privacy. High standards for data privacy can help alleviate concerns that may inhibit adoption.

Many older women are recognizing and reaping the benefits of digital health technologies, many of which can promote preventative measures that younger women could embrace. Innovations are continually evolving in the digital health space, and many of these advances are showcased annually at CES, the world’s foremost technology tradeshow, owned and produced by CTA. Discover what CTA has to offer, including programs, resources and member benefits that include unique opportunities at CES. 

AgeTech Collaborative™ is an unparalleled innovation ecosystem from AARP, bringing together cutting-edge thinkers in the longevity tech space to champion meaningful advances so that everyone can choose how they live as they age. AARP’s decades of exclusive longevity insights, the breakthrough collaborative ecosystem and community of innovators positions the AgeTech Collaborative to lead the future of AgeTech.