Many of us seniors hoping, if not planning, to age in our own homes are wishing developers were expediting the construction of housing stock based on universal design principals – barrier free, low maintenance, healthy built, energy efficient. While those changes are slow to arrive, technological updates and innovations are bombarding us minute by minute. Here’s some information on why it’s important for us to be digitally literate and how to update your skills.
According to the latest Pew Institute Research on Digital Readiness: “The [digitally] unprepared do not have confidence in their computer skills and are not sure they can find trustworthy information online.” … So who are they? “Ages 50 and older; Lower income households; Women; Lower levels of formal education.”
Why is digital readiness important? Familiarity with ed-tech terms means greater likelihood, for example, to take an online course – learn about what can be useful – like gaining new skills (use your digital skill to select the links below for tips on each skill set)
- for retirees seeking work after their euphemistic ‘retirement.‘
- Or understanding how their financial situation compares to others in their age bracket.
- Or viewing a Benefits Checkup to check availability or before applying online. (From Aging TechWatch, 5/14/17)
65-74 is its own demographic range. And 75+ is quite different and includes populations with expanding life expectancies and dwindling net worth. In fact, financial advisors are already lengthening longevity planning time spans – apparently not believing the CDC’s unchanged life-expectancy-at-65 numbers of 88.8 for women and 86.6 for men. And for good reason For those who live to 65, have enough to eat, live in safe housing, and have access to healthcare, there is no guarantee that you die on that future day when money money is expected to run out. In fact, planners now say age 95 is the right planning time horizon. For so many, that advice is just a bit late.
The device of the day – will you be able to use it, and will tech suppliers care? So when that life expectancy is reached and/or surpassed, who will be doing these online benefits checkups, making sure they are safe from scams, able to access their retirement funds of every type, sell their house or move, find a doctor, get directions, initiate a direct deposit or withdrawal safely online, book a hotel or a car service? And of course to avoid being stuck with an impossible-to-upgrade paperweight computer, smartphone, or watch — they will need to do all of these tasks in “the cloud” on the highly configurable device of that day. Yup, that’s the one with its face, retinal and fingerprint sign-in, always-listening Artificial Intelligence smarts. By then, fortunately, all will be safe-from-hacker financial and healthcare systems. Oh yeah, except the Digital ‘unprepared.’ (Info adapted from Laurie Orlov’s “Aging in Place Technology Watch“)
Here’s a way to begin building your confidence and updating your skills. AARP’s June 8 Online Technology Fair and other lots of other resources. Check it out!