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The Elderly and the Internet—What You Need To Know

Photo of an elderly man talking on a smartphone and using a laptop
Category - General
by Hillary Bowling on October 11th, 2018

Special thanks to guest blogger Harsha Reddy from MedAlertHelp.org.

Did you hear about the granddad who thought the faster he’ll hit the go button on the web browser, the faster it’ll load? Hilarious as this joke is, it doesn’t correctly depict our average elderly.

Namely, today, most baby boomers are quite comfortable using the computer.

For sure older adults have been slow in jumping on the Internet bandwagon, but they’ve joined it successfully.

MedAlertHelp.org created upon an infographic emphasizing the connection between the elderly and the World Wide Web.

The Number of Seniors Online is Growing

This data may shock you, but more than 80% of seniors use search engines to obtain information on their topics of interest. This in and of itself is a testament to how comfortable our grandpas and grandmas now are in browsing the information highway.

Baby boomers have quite a bit of free time on their hands and are very smart people. After all, their generation was the one that had sent the first man on the Moon!

While using computers doesn’t come to them naturally, they can learn it quickly, especially when a loved one shows them how to browse the information superhighway.

There’s another reason also why over 70% of baby boomers are now using the Internet on a daily basis: They’ve realized how helpful the Web is. With just a few clicks, they can video chat with their family and friends located half a continent away.

That said, the elderly are also using the Internet for many other things. They use it to keep up on political issues, obtain weather updates, and learn about healthcare or various medical issues. What’s more, 40% of older adults are viewing online videos to stay familiar with the latest news (no wonder many think that the newspaper is dying).

Seniors Don’t Use the Internet Just For Staying in Touch

However, for seniors, the Internet is not all about staying in touch with their loved ones and gathering relevant information. Just like millennials, they are also having loads of fun in cyberspace.

It has been reported that 43% of older adults use the Internet for games and related activities. Not surprisingly, Solitaire is the most popular online game among the people of this age group. Other games which older adults enjoy online are Darts, Chess, Sudoku, Crosswords, and Poker. Shopping is another fun activity in which baby boomers enjoy doing online.

And it’s not just computers and laptops which the elderly use to access the Internet. Many of them stay connected even on the move, too. Reports show that 59% of the older adults aged 65-69 use a smartphone. Of course, not all older adults use the Internet equally. Some have disabilities that prevent them from using computers, tablets, and smartphones, while others think they are doing just fine without the World Wide Web in their lives.

Ultimately, it is lovely to note that more and more baby boomers are embracing technology and having a great time using it. Since we’re living in the digital age, the Internet’s growing popularity among seniors will probably only keep growing. Review the entire infographic now!

One Call Now and Multigenerational Communication

Now that you have examined the older generations, take a closer look at the other generations in our blog on Multigenerational Communication. With more Millennials entering the workforce and the slowing retirement of Baby Boomers, many organizations now employ four different generations working together. Each generation has their own unique set of attitudes and behaviors, so their communication preferences are diverse, ranging from handwritten notes to the latest instant messaging technology.

Learn more about the differences, how they impact today’s organizations, and how to overcome them, in our Multigenerational Communication blog.