Collaborating Authors

Taking Stock of the Present and Future of Smart Technologies for Older Adults and Caregivers Artificial Intelligence

Technology has the opportunity to assist older adults as they age in place, coordinate caregiving resources, and meet unmet needs through access to resources. Currently, older adults use consumer technologies to support everyday life, however these technologies are not always accessible or as useful as they can be. Indeed, industry has attempted to create smart home technologies with older adults as a target user group, however these solutions are often more focused on the technical aspects and are short lived. In this paper, we advocate for older adults being involved in the design process - from initial ideation to product development to deployment. We encourage federally funded researchers and industry to create compensated, diverse older adult advisory boards to address stereotypes about aging while ensuring their needs are considered. We envision artificial intelligence systems that augment resources instead of replacing them - especially in under-resourced communities. Older adults rely on their caregiver networks and community organizations for social, emotional, and physical support; thus, AI should be used to coordinate resources better and lower the burden of connecting with these resources. Although sociotechnical smart systems can help identify needs of older adults, the lack of affordable research infrastructure and translation of findings into consumer technology perpetuates inequities in designing for diverse older adults. In addition, there is a disconnect between the creation of smart sensing systems and creating understandable, actionable data for older adults and caregivers to utilize. We ultimately advocate for a well-coordinated research effort across the United States that connects older adults, caregivers, community organizations, and researchers together to catalyze innovative and practical research for all stakeholders.

Africa's population is aging and it needs social protection

Al Jazeera

As the world continues to grapple with the unfolding COVID-19 crisis, many in Africa are worried not only about its spread but about the pandemic's long-term economic consequences as well. But long before our attention was captured by this virus, African governments were already ignoring an increasingly important factor in securing healthy populations and prosperous economies: Africa's older population is growing fast. According to a 2017 UN report on population ageing, Africa's elderly population is expected to grow faster than in any other region in the world. The continent's population aged 60 and over is "projected to increase more than threefold between 2017 and 2050, from 69 to 225 million". In some countries, the number is expected to increase even faster.

Older people account for record 28.7% of Japan's population

The Japan Times

The estimated number of people aged 65 or older in Japan stood at 36.17 million as of Tuesday, accounting for 28.7 percent of the nation's total population, with both figures hitting record highs, an internal affairs ministry survey showed Sunday. The population of older people increased by 300,000 from a year earlier and its share rose by 0.3 percentage point. Older men totaled 15.73 million, accounting for 25.7 percent of the total male population. The number of older women stood at 20.44 million, or 31.6 percent of the female population across Japan. The share of the population of older people has remained on the rise since 1950.

Older users share more misinformation. Your guess why might be wrong.

MIT Technology Review

The news: Misinformation on social media is often fueled by older adults, who share fake news and dubious links more than other age groups--up to seven times more than their younger counterparts. But a new analysis suggests people often make incorrect assumptions about why this might be, which leads some attempts at halting the spread of misinformation to failure. Ageist stereotypes: Nadia Brashier, a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University's psychology department, says there are two popular explanations for why older adults share so much misinformation online--but both are rooted in intuition and stereotypes rather than data. The first reason often given is cognitive decline: that age makes older users less capable of making informed choices than younger users. The second reason is loneliness: that older users are prone to sharing misinformation as they attempt to make connections with other people.

The Wisdom of Older Technology (Non)Users

Communications of the ACM

It is impossible not to notice that many of the questions driving research on technology use by older adults today are the same as those at the forefront of aging and accessibility research 20 years ago. Back then, computers were predominantly large desktops, social media was still on the horizon, and mobile phones were large and not (yet) smart. Older adults had little presence on the Internet. Today, devices have changed and older adults are increasingly online.9,15 They do, however, continue to lag in broadband use, breadth of applications used, and time online.12 Typical reports reflect they have little interest in social media (other than staying in touch with family) and are skeptical of online financial transactions.17