Breaking Barriers: Bridging the Generation Gap Through Senior-Focused Technology Education

Technology Education: Senior individuals engaging in a technology education class, learning to use digital devices.

Gladys* has never shied away from trying new things. Even in her 80s, she proudly shows off the latest and greatest technology options she has at her fingertips. She uses FaceTime with the grandkids on her phone and her iPad to play games, listen to music, and download books to read in her free time. She even had a Ring doorbell camera installed so she could see who was at the front door. That said, Gladys can’t help but feel like senior-focused technology education is limited. Sure, she is comfortable with the apps, TV and PC she has used for years. But as more “new stuff comes out” as she puts it, and many of the everyday healthcare services she relies on shift online, she feels overwhelmed and less confident in her digital literacy skills.

While many technological advances are meant to make lives easier and safer for people of all ages, recent studies by AARP and The Senior Source show most 50-plus adults don’t feel technology today is designed with their age in mind. And it only gets more challenging the older they get. In their eyes, today’s gadgets are for the younger generations, are too complex, and require additional technology education and instruction that simply is not offered.

“At The Senior Source, our mission is to bridge this generation gap through free in-person technology education classes and other program offerings geared toward older adults and the caregivers who support seniors. We want you to learn, work, create, exercise, and thrive in today’s digital age.”

Imagine Taking Control of These Technology Barriers

  • Lack of knowledge on how to use technology
  • Limited trust and privacy
  • Overwhelming complexity
  • Lack of education and support
  • Limited awareness and interest
  • Design and user experience limitations
  • Installation and adoption
  • Physical limitations
Are you interested in senior-focused technology education?

Please check out this calendar of classes from our degreed and professional staff.

What New Research Tells Us About Seniors and Technology Education

Some of us likely have an outdated view of older adults and their willingness to adopt new technology—and in many ways, it is easy to see why. In the past, older adults’ adoption of technology devices such as smartphones, laptops, and even streaming services may have lagged. Rather than do everything online, they craved one-on-one interaction and felt they could get away with not using these devices. At a minimum, they used some devices sparingly or when they were forced to and took a wait-and-see approach with everything else.

In turn, most of the devices of today (smartphones, wearables, smart TVs, etc.) are being marketed to kids, teens, and younger adults. As a result, many older adults did not feel the push to “get up with the times.” However, recent studies show that is not the case anymore. Older adults are not as resistant. They are embracing it and even recognize that digital services allow consumers to curate convenience and personalized experiences to streamline everyday tasks and save time and money.

technology education for older adults

Two recent studies support this statement by providing critical insight into senior behaviors, what they are comfortable with, and their limitations and insecurities regarding technology education and incorporating technology into their healthcare and daily lives. The first was a collaboration between researchers at UT Southwestern and The Senior Source. The second was conducted by AARP and dove into some of the more common technology trends among adults over 50. Both studies were highly detailed in their approach and yielded incredible insights.

Below are just a few of their combined findings.

  • Older adults ages 50-plus now own most of the same devices at the same rate as those ages 18-49.
  • The 50-plus community continues to use multiple forms of technology and communication, some daily, to stay connected with friends and family. This includes everything from smartphones to iPads, streaming apps, and more.
  • Though overall tech spending is down slightly from 2022 to 2023, ownership of smart TVs, smartphones, and wearables has increased and is driven primarily by those ages 60-69 and 70-plus.
  • As boomers age into their 70s, many see the value technology can provide. Compared to 2022, this sentiment has significantly increased among adults 50-plus (up from 42% to 48%) and those 70-plus (up from 45% to 54%) in the past year alone.
  • While many seniors feel hesitant about telehealth and greater technology adoption, most older adults are open to learning more about it and integrating it into their daily lives. This includes senior-focused technology education opportunities and in-person group instructions.
  • Between one-third and one-half of older adults are either using or interested in smart home devices, depending on the technology. Cameras, alarms, and appliance controls are of greatest use and interest among older adults.

That said, only two-thirds of those 50 and older who were polled in the AARP study express comfort with their digital skills, and that comfort diminishes with age. That same study went on to say that 64% of 50-plus adults do not feel technology today is designed with their age in mind. This is true for something as common as knowing how to use an Apple Watch or sign up for something online to handle healthcare matters.

In The Senior Source collaborative study, 42% of older adults reported not owning or having easy access to any device with internet capability. Among those who owned or had easy access to a device, 65% had a smartphone with internet, and 46% had a tablet. Many of these same respondents reported challenges that included understanding what is and is not considered reliable information, a preference for reading printed rather than online documents, and speaking to a doctor in person versus through telehealth or another online platform.

When life events happen, 50-plus adults use some digital services to help them. That said, not all those experiencing major life events know what digital services are available. In fact, 69% of this audience have one or more chronic health issues, but few are using technology to manage their conditions. Caregivers are a good example of an underserved segment of the 50-plus.

Seniors can learn to use technology effectively!

Please check out this calendar of classes from our degreed and professional staff.

What Technology Education Opportunities Are Available?

technology education class for seniors

The AARP study noted that starting in 2030, when all boomers will be older than 65 and millennials will start turning 50, older Americans will make up 21% of the population. By 2060, one in four Americans will be older than 65, compared to one in five Americans younger than 18. This will require a shift in mindsets and behavior changes around issues related to aging in place, caregiving, healthcare, and all aspects of life. That includes senior-focused technology education.

The good news is that interest in senior-focused technology education opportunities is strong among seniors—regardless of race, income, or gender. All that is needed is to provide it to them. The Senior Source educates over 18,000 older adults and their families annually through various webinars, lectures, events, forums, and support groups.

Our degreed and professional staff pride themselves on staying up to date on senior-related topics and issues to provide the best and most relevant information to the Dallas community. The Senior Source is proud to partner with Senior Planet from AARP. The Senior Planet program enables older adults to come together and feel more comfortable accessing technology that improves their quality of life. 

“We provide a supportive environment where learners of all levels, including beginners, can comfortably explore technology, with tailored curriculum for older adults and skilled trainers that offer expertise and patience,” says Ignacio Aranda, technology trainer for The Senior Source.

“We provide a supportive environment where learners of all levels, including beginners, can comfortably explore technology, with tailored curriculum for older adults and skilled trainers that offer expertise and patience.”
–Ignacio Aranda, Technology Trainer, The Senior Source

Dates and times for our classes are always subject to change, but a few of the topics we cover include:

  • Best practices to keep your devices secure
  • How devices communicate with each other
  • Getting to know your smartphone
  • How to use eBay and PayPal safely and effectively
  • How to use wearable technologies
  • Tips on how to properly fact-check websites
  • Everyday uses of AI
  • Saving money with technology
  • Digital coupon tools
  • How to use social media

New classes are always being added and offered in English and Spanish.

Technology Education for Seniors: A Dependable Resource

When it comes to understanding today’s ever-evolving technological push, it is always good to have a resource you can turn to—even when you feel as though you are not the target audience. The Senior Source champions older adults. We empower active seniors to live with purpose and protect vulnerable older adults. We advocate for all of our rights as we age and ensure that financial and emotional well-being is achievable.

The seniors and their families we serve are not two-dimensional, and neither are the services that we offer. The Senior Source in Dallas, Texas embraces efficient and effective solutions. We provide a welcoming culture to new employees, and we continually strive to grow our sphere of influence.

Join us in this next dimension of aging. Please contact us at (214) 823-5700 or complete the contact form to inquire about services that meet your needs. We are here to help.

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*Client names and/or photos may be changed to protect confidentiality.

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