Aging-in-place survey finds positive views, overwhelming support for tech

Aging-in-place survey finds positive views, overwhelming support for tech

Ninety-three percent of U.S. adults ages 55 and older view aging in place in their homes as an “important goal,” with 49% attributing aging as a reason they would choose to bring assistive technologies into their homes. This is according to surveys conducted in 2023 and 2024 by U.S. News & World Report.

Results from the 2023 survey, which relied on responses from 2,000 people ages 55 and older, showed that support for aging in place has only grown over the past year. The vast majority (93%) of respondents listed aging in place as a key goal at that time, and they assessed different types of assistive technologies that they say can help them reach their stated aging-in-place goals.

The technologies they listed as most helpful toward this goal, respectively, were medical- or health-related mobile apps; service-related apps like food and grocery delivery; wearable medical or health trackers; assistive smart-home technologies like Google Home or Amazon Alexa devices; hearing-assistance devices; and medical alert systems and devices like LifeAlert.

The most common reasons for older Americans to choose to use these devices were led by general aging, followed by mobility impairments like arthritis or fibromyalgia, hearing impairment, vision impairment and cognitive impairment.

“Of the 47% surveyed who said they didn’t use assistive or health-related technologies, the overwhelming majority (70%), simply didn’t feel that they needed them yet,” U.S. News & World Report explained. “Another 16% shared that they couldn’t afford the technologies, and 14% rejected the technologies because they didn’t want to lose their independence.”

But older adults have also been embracing these technologies more rapidly. Roughly 75% of adults ages 65 and older regularly use the internet, compared with only 19% of this age group surveyed on the same question in the year 2000. Additionally, 61% of older people have smartphones or other mobile devices, according to data cited from the Pew Research Center.

That’s not to say that all the barriers that could dissuade older users from adopting these technologies have been eliminated. In 2023, ease of use (75%) and ease of setup (50%) were cited as the biggest influences to an ultimate decision, followed by accessibility through a mobile app (38%) and wireless operation (37%).

Importantly, the majority of survey respondents said that the use of such technologies improved their quality of life. More than half of respondents in 2023 said it made them feel more independent (55%), while others said it made them feel safer (47%) and healthier (33%). In 2024, more respondents (32%) felt that these tools gave them greater mobility compared to one year earlier (20%).

One way in which the survey results exhibited a year-over-year regression was related to the feelings of readiness for aging in place that seniors reported for their homes. In 2024, 50% of respondents said their homes were either completely or at least somewhat ready to house them as they age compared to 59% in 2023.

“Now, 14% (down from 19%) say their home is completely ready, and 20% (up from 17%) say their home is not ready at all,” according to the report.

Some of these results have been illustrated in real-world situations. In 2022, New York’s State Office for the Aging announced that it had started a program to deploy smart-home technology to combat feelings of senior isolation.

One year later, an assessment of that program found that it helped lead to a 95% reduction in feelings of loneliness for program participants, along with high levels of user engagement.

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