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Why it’s risky business  to underestimate old people & tech  



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It's not uncommon to hear tropes about how 'old people' struggle with technology. And I’m sure many of us can think of teaching a parent or grandparent about what seems like basic tech for a digital native.

But ‘technology’ includes mobile phones, and while today we think of smart phones, mobile calls and SMS have been around for decades — and today, they remain central to daily life.

In fact, someone aged 72 today was just 42 years old when the world’s first ever SMS was sent in the UK. By 1999, the first Blackberry was unveiled, and a year later the Nokia 3310 was launched. Next, the iPhone made its debut in 2007.

So, that same 72-year-old was 57 when smartphones begun their march towards the ubiquitous usage we see today. Now, more than 94% of Australians have a smartphone, according to latest Statista data, including 90% of 65–74-year-olds and 84% of those aged 75+.

And if older Australians weren’t already steadily making their own way towards technology to keep up with family and the grand kids, add the global pandemic to the equation.

More and more people — not just older Australians — turned to technology during the pandemic to stay in touch, whether by Facetime, Zoom meetings or even standing outside a window while talking on the phone with a loved one.


The risk of underestimating older folks

So, while some technologies are less likely to be used by older folks, most have a handle on and actively use the kinds that enable daily communications, like SMS and email.

Underestimating older people is a genuine risk to customer service and business, according to Age Up Health CTO, Adrian Edwards.

"The ability to reach people instantly with SMS can be a real superpower when it comes to supporting clients as they age at home," he said.

"In our sector, we know clients' biggest pain points come from lack of communication. Too often, they can be left wondering why a support service didn’t turn up that day or wondering how long until a service request will be fulfilled.

"At Age Up, we meet our clients where they’re at with technology and make use of those they’re already engaging with, and we don’t underestimate the impact and value that can have. Who really wants to log in to yet another web portal?"

But while SMS alerts to customers may seem obvious, the seemingly simple technology can do much more than that, Edwards explained.

With the right solution behind client SMS, it provides valuable insights into customer needs, and sentiment – which enable businesses, like Age Up, to be proactive about servicing their clients.

"We provide a lot of opportunities for our clients to chat using SMS. Because it’s so easy, we can communicate more, not less, and we ensure those conversations have meaningful outcomes for clients. It sets up a win-win for them.

"They get an instant response to their request, and we’re continuously improving service for all customers as we learn more about their needs in general."

Age Up Health also provided iPad Education for free to clients, which resulted in such strong demand that it has been translated into a free e-book, which anyone can now download from their website.


Download Age Up Health's Free Introduction to Tablets Guide here

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“Underestimating someone’s interest or ability with technology purely based on their age is broad, over-generalised thinking that just doesn’t match our experience, and it limits a company’s ability to service and win over their customers," Edwards said.



Using Home Care Package funds for computer education & technology

In recognition of the trends towards greater uptake of technology by older Australians and it's power to help people to stay connected, the government's Home Care Package scheme allows funds to be spent on technology.

With the aim of keeping ageing Australians well, safe and happy in their homes, clients can choose to spend Home Care Package funds on computer education, as well as devices and support to set up technology within the home.

Smart safety devices with built-in alert capabilities in case of falls or other incidents are another example of how Home Care Package funds can be used on technology. So too, are coded key-safes, voice recognition home-control systems, video door-bells, medication management support and more. 


Conclusion

The list of technologies that older Australians are not only embracing, but actively using to make their lives simpler, more connected and safer, is ever-growing. And to assume less of our ageing population seems like risky business, indeed!


New to Home Care Packages?
Here's some more useful resources: 



Understanding how you can use Home Care Package funding is one of the most important aspects of remaining well and living independently at home. Learn more.


To help make sense of all the various choices, we've compiled some the favourite tips we share when people call confused about how to compare providers. Read now.


Waiting for funding to come through can take time! Here, we've compiled our Top 7 Survival Tips for what to do about care when on the National Waitlist. Find out.


Everyone will tell you that you can get a cleaner or a gardener. But with a bit of knowledge, your Home Care Package can provide you with so much more!  Discover.



Need support with your Home Care Package?

We’re here to help. Age Up Health provides packages that are designed to keep you happy and healthy at home, where you belong.

Our services are simple.

Expect a single fee and the same friendly face each time. And rest assured that our packages are flexible enough that you can make changes whenever you wish.

Contact us today to find out more.
Or book a free 15-minute consultation with one of our consultants.

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