Young people born into the “wired age” take-in computer and tech knowledge with the mother’s milk. Older people, however, feel left behind as technology, and especially computer tech, develops at a pace perceived by seniors as impossible to keep up with. What measures are being taken by the government and the private sector to keep senior citizens tech-savvy and connected as they should be?
On the Federal level the government seems to have forgotten its older citizens. Yes, they are creating useful websites to help older people, but it is a misplaced endeavor since so many seniors have no idea how to find those sites, and/or use them. Aging.com tells families of the elderly how they can live more independently, and data.gov, a repository for elder citizens focused on statistics, is equally inaccessible and of limited use to seniors.
The private sector has been making much better progress helping its potential older customers find and use their services. Uber is launching a pilot program in five states which will give free technology tutorials to seniors, in addition to discounted and free rides to support elder mobility. AirBnB is also making efforts, by partnering with communities, to reach out and find more and better ways to help seniors. Walgreens as an innovative program which connects the elderly to their telehealth service provider, giving them round-the-clock access to US board-certified doctors.
The difference in approach to seniors between the federal and private sectors is a direct result of the goals they are aiming for. The government is going to spend $4 billion this coming year advancing computer program literacy for the young. By spending so much on innovative programs such as the Computer Science for All Initiative, where “all” does not include “older,” the government has shown that it does not think tech-knowledge is important for the older citizen.
The private sector feels differently, and is embracing the older demographic. They see value, and not only monetary, in having a tech-fluent senior citizenry, and are taking steps to use technology to assist elders to have an improved quality of life.