Silver Surfers Ride the Digital Waves: Older Adults and Digital Engagement

Floridian grandparents take a selfie with their granddaughter at home

Gen Xers and Millennials may have grown up in the Digital Age, but older adults are now connected more than ever before. The spike in Internet use and the adoption of daily digital engagement in their daily lives shows us that the Digital Divide is rapidly closing. An impressive 66% of adults over 65 are on the Internet, and approximately half of all older adults use smartphones.

But we know that doesn’t mean that all older adults have jumped on the bandwagon just yet. From physical challenges to fear of economic security, some older adults steer clear of digital engagement. These barriers can cause older adults to feel excluded, uncomfortable, or even unwelcome.

If you or a loved one are facing one of these barriers, The Club at Boynton Beach wants you to know one thing: It’s Never 2 Late® to engage! Our It’s Never 2 Late® (iN2L) program can guide you or your loved one on a path to self-paced digital interaction. Our educational and social interaction options are geared toward improving the quality of lives of all of our residents. iN2L boasts:

  • Touch-screen technology for ease and convenience
  • Quick and safe access to the Internet and email
  • Games and puzzles for entertainment
  • A personalized communications portal to help residents stay in touch with family
  • And much more!

The iN2L program is designed to provide our residents with the confidence and skills they need to feel welcome and competent in today’s (and tomorrow’s) ever-evolving world of technology.

Let’s look at three ways older adults are riding the digital waves:

#1: E-commerce

Almost 60% of older adults make online purchases. Plus, 75% of adults 30 to 70 find online shopping more convenient, thanks to the convenience of a click and what Pew Research Center refers to as the “collective wisdom of online reviews.”

However, only 17% use smartphones to shop online and only 5% do so through social media links. Trust and comfort may be factors in this particular divide, but Silver Surfers’ purchasing power in the online marketplace continues to take a bigger stand each year.

If you or your loved one feel uncomfortable shopping online, you may miss out on the convenience of ordering items such as:

  • prescriptions and drugstore goods
  • holiday gifts for family and friends
  • groceries
  • household needs and goodies
  • clothing

The shift toward online shopping over in-store shopping shows no sign of slowing down. Residents at The Club at Boynton Beach are well prepared to take advantage of this convenience with our iN2L program.

#2: Social Media

Sure, the Gen Xers, Millennials, and Gen Zers have heavily adopted multiple platforms of social media. And sure, those generations will be remembered as the pioneers/creators of social media. But they aren’t the only ones who want to share news, experiences, connections, or even cute cat videos.

Although those in the youngest range of the Silver Surfer spectrum (50 and above) are more likely to use social media, almost 35% of all older adults were online in 2017. That’s a spike of 7% over four years!

What’s most telling about these statistics is this: those older adults who are on social media platforms are highly engaged. A whopping 41% of adults 65 and older comment on news stories on social media. That’s more than the 18-29 demographic.

In the age of digital disinformation, it’s now more urgent than ever that older adults arm themselves with the ability to recognize and avoid disseminating fake news. With the help of our iN2L program, residents can become more comfortable with not only how to use technology but also with managing their online presence.

#3: Videos

Regardless of age, we all love animal videos. And Netflix. And YouTube. Older adults have made their presence known in the world of streaming videos. Not only do we know that they’re watching, we know how they’re accessing it and how often. Thanks to a recent report by AARP, Technology Use and Attitudes among Mid-Life and Older Americans, we know:

  • Adults over the age of 70 watch YouTube videos via their tablets.
  • 15% of adults aged 50-59 watch YouTube videos at least once a day.
  • 33% of adults aged 60-69 watch YouTube video at least a few times a week.
  • 45% of adults over the age of 50 stream videos on a desktop or laptop.
  • Two of the top 15 weekly accessed apps for adults over the age of 60 are Netflix and Hulu.

So what does all of this mean? Well, the same thing it means for any generation: the Internet is more than a useful tool; it’s also a means to entertain and to be entertained.

We want our residents to feel comfortable and welcome to use digital tools for a variety of reasons. We offer a rich community-based lifestyle here at The Club at Boynton Beach, and we know how digital engagement can enhance community. Our state-of-the-art iN2L technology is a key part of the equation.

If you or a loved one are considering becoming a treasured member of The Club, this safe, secure, and easy-to-use program can provide you with entertainment and activities personalized to your interests and help enhance your digital independence. Contact us today to schedule a tour or request more information. We’re here to assist you every step of the way in making this important decision.