i3 | June 05, 2019

Active Aging Perceptions and Attitudes

by 
Coleen Sterns Leith

It’s no surprise that virtually all seniors want to live independently and stay home as they age, a key finding in CTA’s 2019 Active Aging: Consumer Perceptions and Attitudes study, commissioned by the CTA Foundation. Caretakers and seniors agree that technology will help them do just that.

As people seek to stay active, healthy and independent as they age, this presents some unique opportunities for tech companies, app developers and retailers. Active aging supported by technology is the key to finding and maintaining quality of life for many seniors.

In the U.S., the active aging forecast is expected to triple in just three years to nearly $30 billion. Health and remote care are going to lead the initiative while wellness and fitness technologies for seniors are expected to reach some $900 million by 2022.

Some of the key findings from this study include that seniors view active aging technology as a way to live more independently but cost and concern over learning new technologies could be barriers to adoption. Caretakers are less concerned than seniors over those issues and caretakers, especially younger ones, can be effective advocates for using technology. Both caretakers and seniors show high levels of concern over potential emergencies and in a role reversal, the caretakers are more concerned than seniors over every day safe living.

Over two-thirds of both seniors and caretakers have concerns about privacy with health monitoring devices for seniors. With the plethora of news regarding cybersecurity breaches and how they effect nearly everyone, it’s easy to understand this fear.

Recommendations Matter

Another interesting development found by the research is that health care providers are by far the most trusted source for seniors and caretakers to adopt a new technology. It’s going to be important to market to health care providers to get products and services to the intended users.

As consumer technology products continue to evolve and be adopted by more consumers, products for seniors will become more available, trusted and recommended. The biggest challenges to the adoption of active aging products are related to product management and daily usage.

To reach the senior market, consider these survey recommendations when developing and marketing your active aging products and services:

  • Recommendations from doctors and health care providers are the most effective way to bridge the gap for those concerned with privacy in tech products that collect health data.
  • Be sure to have strong tech support available for any product or service to ensure its correctly installed, and the senior/caretaker can use the new technology.
  • Build trust with seniors, caregivers and tech providers by using installation and management services to ease concerns over implementing new technology.
  • Eighty percent of seniors own a smartphone. It’s an essential tool for independent living. Make sure your product or service has an easy-to-use app that both seniors and caretakers can use.
  • Caretakers need to know that the tech products they use for seniors will keep them safe and well. Reassure them in your marketing and outreach.
  • Use testimonials, case studies and referral programs to allow seniors to see and hear from others who have used the product successfully.
  • Managing day-to-day care is as critical as solutions for emergencies. This is an important topic for most caretakers.
  • About one third of caretakers own a smart speaker. Digital assistants with voice control will play a greater role in active aging. Use this tech in your product if you can.
  • Note this survey is an online panel of seniors. Thus, some of the data such as technology ownership is amplified because this sample is already comfortable with technology. This report is free for CTA members.

Coleen Sterns Leith is the founder and president of Marketing Matters.