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No age limit on learning to live with technology

When the pandemic forced most of us to turn almost exclusively to our devices for our day-to-day routines, seniors were no exception. And a generation that has often been hesitant to try new tech suddenly found itself learning about new tools -- a trend that may have stuck.

AARP's annual technology survey reported, not surprisingly, that ownership of all devices is up across all age groups.

Spending increased significantly from 2019 to 2020, with older adults spending an average of $1,144 on tech compared to $394 in 2019. The top three tech purchases were smartphones, smart TVs and Bluetooth headsets/earbuds.

Seniors reported feeling better about tech, too. Forty-four percent said they have more positive feelings about tech now than they did prior to the pandemic.

Adults 70-plus like tablets, with 53 percent owning one, up from 40 percent in 2019. And nearly 70 percent of respondents said they use their tablets daily. More than half of those in the 70-plus group also own a smart TV, and their viewing habits had changed dramatically. Thirty-eight percent of adults 50-plus said they primarily watched network and cable TV in 2020, a figure that was at 60 percent just a year prior.

Still, some discomfort remains regarding cost, how-to, and privacy. About 44 percent of older adults are not confident that what they do online remains private, and more than half are not confident the information they communicate with their smart home assistant (like Alexa) stays private. More than half also said they want to understand their devices better.

This story was posted on 2022-01-09 19:15:51
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