Why Seniors Don’t Use Technology and It’s Not What You Think

Seniors aren’t stupid.  Just because they don’t use technology, doesn’t make them troglodytes.  It just takes most of us a little longer to feel comfortable with new things.  That’s just human nature.  

Change is a challenge for all of us.  When you were a kid, if you had to move and start a new school, you probably hated that!  What about when your parents made you get a haircut? Not much fun, right?  

Well those are examples of change.  And new technology is changing every day.  And that presents new challenges for seniors, every day.

You youngsters who create all this wonderful technology may want to take a few things into consideration if you want to reach the senior market.  Which as we know is the fastest growing demographic. 

First a Walk Down Memory Lane

I’m 70.  My kids think I grew up in ancient times; as depicted in The Flintstones.  So ha, ha.  But the world was different!  Here’s a little history for you, from my perspective.

  • We had phones that plugged into the wall, using that wire to connect with the outside world.
  • That phone had a rotary dial.  Do you know what that is?  Bet you couldn’t operate it.
  • There were only seven tv stations, and pre 1960 they were in black and white.  Did you read that correctly?  Seven stations!
  • Dick Tracy had a watch that he could use to communicate with his police station.  This was fiction!  But obviously ahead of its time.
  • If you needed to research a subject, which you did for a school report, you went to the local library.  That’s right, the library was the Google of its day.  And librarians knew everything.  (I think they still do.)
  • If you wanted to advertise something, you did it in the local newspaper.  Or in the Yellow Pages of a phone book.  Do you know what a phone book is?  
  • And speaking of newspapers, that is how you received your news.  That and the 5 o’clock news on one of those seven stations.

So you see the world has changed dramatically for us seniors.  Therefore, you need to be patient with us as we navigate a world we never dreamed of. 

Some Suggestions To Consider To Assist Seniors

Following is a partial list of features to include when companies are rolling out new products.  If you want seniors to use your product, please contemplate these factors.

Can It Be Read By People with Vision Limitations?

This is a huge issue for those of us who are aging and for people with limited vision.  Small print seems to be the accepted form with instruction booklets, fonts on apps, directions on food products and medication.  

Why Seniors Don’t Use Technology and It's Not What You Think

Do companies stop to think that the print may be too small for some of us to read?  Or the colors may be difficult to see?  White letters on a light background are nearly impossible to see.  I can’t read the lettering on my shampoo and conditioner without my glasses.  But guess what?  I don’t wear my glasses in the shower!

I know that products would be more popular with seniors if we could easily read the bottle and the instructions.  

Is There Easy Training Available To Learn To Use The Product?

Short answer.  Probably not.  The particular product that comes to mind are smartphones.  Let’s call them handheld computers.  If computers are a challenge for seniors to use, then combine a tiny screen, vision difficulties and navigating software and you will be sure to find a senior pulling out their hair.  

Now, I know that you can find almost any answer for how to use a smartphone on YouTube, but back up a minute.  Does your senior know how to use YouTube?  Or do they even have access to the internet?  Do they know how to use the internet?  Are they safe using the internet?

You better have all the answers to these questions.  Otherwise you will be experiencing what a senior is living with every day.

And I know that you can get answers when you purchase a phone in the store, but I have had only two very helpful sales people in my whole smartphone experience that were patient enough to explain things to my satisfaction.  

I would love for a company to advertise that they have senior friendly employees that are super patient and trained to help those of us that need extra help.  I’d even write about promoting that company!

Why Seniors Don’t Use Technology and It's Not What You Think

What Difference Will It Make In My Life? Or Why Should I Buy It?

I don’t care about the latest phone version, or the newest car, or the biggest tv.  Most of us have passed the need to try to be better than somebody else.  But I do want the item I buy to do what it’s supposed to do.  

Companies that care about us seniors should be hustling to find out what it is we need as seniors.  I have reviewed the GrandPad, which is a wonderful product that was especially made for seniors.  This company developed the product because of a senior who was living by herself.  Now that’s what I call making a difference.

But most smartphones are not made to be used by many seniors.  Small screens, buttons, and fonts are almost impossible to use.  The company, GreatCall has a phone called the Jitterbug Smart2.  It was made for seniors, but has a few shortcomings.  

Surveys report that healthcare concerns top the list of what a senior worries about.  This is a vast market to be tapped into to promote a positive experience for seniors.  Being lonely or living alone (which are two different things) are other distresses for a senior.  Just these two top topics are a fairly untapped market.  

Make products that assist us with these concerns and you won’t regret it!

And What About Updates?  They Seem To Make Things Worse!

Updates of apps and operating systems don’t seem to help much.  Maybe on the creator’s end, but they don’t seem to keep the user in mind.

My low vision friend switched his phone from an iPhone to an Android because on one of the updates he could no longer invert the colors.  And this was vital for him to read the screen.  We concluded that Apple really didn’t care about someone with vision problems.  Bye bye, iPhone.

In fact, it seems Android companies are thinking about seniors, as seen in this article; 5 Settings That Can Make Android Phones User Friendly for Senior Citizens.

Updates should come with explanations of what will happen, what will change, and the ability to opt out if need be.  That might have helped my friend.  

This is a sweet video of students helping seniors. We need more of this!


My fellow seniors.  Did I forget anything in this rant?  If so, please add to it in the comments.  I hope the young people who design technology will take note and make new products easier for us to use.  

And yes, I know there are some seniors out there that are very tech savvy.  I apologize if I offended you.  Now wouldn’t it be a good time to help your fellow seniors with something they are struggling with?

I started this website to provide information to my fellow seniors.  I hope I have done that in each article.  Please search the site to see if there is anything else here that would help you.

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