The term age-friendly gets thrown around more and more, but what does it really mean?
There are physiological changes that come with aging such as hearing loss, and visual changes. Issues with memory are not a normal part of aging, but are a common concern considering 1 in 9 people over the age of 65 and 1 in 3 people over the age of 85 have Alzheimer’s Disease (Ref: http://www.alz.org/downloads/facts_figures_2013.pdf).
Age-friendly technology should be easy to use for anyone living with these changes.
A few important age-friendly features:
1. A default font that is large.
2. Notifications of new messages or updates that incorporate both light and sound.
3. Automated prompts to help with common daily activities if appropriate.
4. Reminders for appointments or medications.
These features are a good starting point when evaluating whether a device is “age-friendly” but this is certainly not a comprehensive list.
Age-friendly technology and products should be designed to fit the specific requirements of the older adult life stage without being infantile or condescending. Of course, the most important thing is to ensure you have a respectful approach to the normal physiological changes that come with aging. If we’re lucky we will experience these changes, and hopefully at that point we will feel supported and empowered to use the age-friendly technology available to us then so that we can remain safe and as independent as possible.