New Electronic Devices Catch the Fancy of Elders

A techno-blizzard of new gadgets and gizmos are proving attractive to elders too.

Mildred Jones, 87, is the last person you’d expect to see ogling her Smartphone. A native of Oxnard, where she grew up “by the wharves” during the Great Depression, she hadn’t paid much attention to technology—except for an occasional science fiction movie – until lately. “My granddaughter is a high school senior, and she showed me her Smartphone,” Mrs. Jones says, “I couldn’t get enough of it, so I bought my own.” Her Smartphone is purple and came with “a jillion apps,” asserts the more techno-savvy elder, “and even the ring tone’s nice; it’s meant to sound like Darth Vader.”

Elders all over America are waiting in line for Smartphones and iPads and kindling newfound appreciation for their Kindles. “We don’t have to be left behind,” explains Mrs. Jones, “after all, we’re not gone yet.”

In fact, advisors to America’s elders, everyone from attorneys equipped to practice elder law, to financial consultants, to those involved in routine care & interactions with U.S. older populations – are supportive of the newfound awareness and enthusiasm toward electronic devices suddenly becoming manifest.

For those newly infatuated with electronic devices and the latest gizmos, a good website to check out might be ElderGadget.com, a site intended to nurture this nouveau intrigue. At that site, readers are submitting a growing amount of feedback. Gadgets that are most popular appear to be those with big screens, easy to use, and are pleasant looking and lightweight. A growing number of devices fit such a bill. “The key to a lot of the technology out there is that it has senior-friendly features,” says marketing guru Geraldine C. Davis, “and even those over age 100 are becoming enthused about many of these products.”

Of more than 84,000 U.S. centenarians interviewed recently, a surprising percentage (8%) have sent someone a text message or instant message, 12% say that they have listened to music on an iPod or similar device, 11% have used YouTube, 2% Facebook, 5% have used TiVo to watch a TV program at their convenience, 4% have used Google, 1% have used an “app” on an iPhone or similar device, and 1% have used an online dating service.

Gene Osofsky is an East Bay elder law attorney in California. Gene Osofsky specializes in Medi-Cal planning, wills, probate, trusts, nursing home issues, special needs planning, and disability planning. To learn more about elder law and The Law Offices of Osofsky & Osofsky, visit Lawyerforseniors.com.

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