Apps are enabling a higher quality of life for senior citizens. Although older people have traditionally been skeptical of technology, smartphones are becoming undeniable as a means of improving their lives. This has opened up entirely new business opportunities for tech startups.
Many of the problems that seemed unsolvable for seniors just a decade ago can now be managed with apps. Apps can be used to get around town, to order food, and even to train the brain to resist age-related deterioration. New kinds of apps are invented all the time to offer even more help for people’s lives.
For one thing, there are now better tools available than there used to be. Devices have accessibility features to help with common health issues like poor eyesight. On top of that, people are gaining experience with technology prior to old age and this means that using apps is nothing new for them as senior citizens.
The exact needs of senior citizens vary from place to place. People in Singapore need different things than those in Australia or South Korea. All of these countries have some interesting trends for startups to consider.
In Singapore, people over the age of 55 are volunteering more time than ever towards charitable causes. This kind of work can be a great way for the elderly to make new friends and stay active in their communities even after retirement.
How are they getting to these charitable activities? Transportation apps are a popular way for seniors to travel around their town even after they can no longer drive themselves. The most popular apps, such as Uber, are one option, but even more relevant here is the senior-focused GoGoGrandparent app. This app is simpler and easier to use than most other options available for download.
The senior population in Singapore is expected to increase to 9000,000 by 2030—posing a serious strain to the nation’s infrastructure. Some apps are helping senior citizens take better care of themselves, reducing the workload for nurses and caretakers.
One example of this is Pillboxie, a simple app that helps people to keep track of their medication schedule. Even if a person’s memory is weakened in old age, using an app ensures that they will never miss a pill.
South Korea’s senior citizen population is noteworthy for how independent it is. According to the 2014 National Elderly Survey, an astounding 67.5% of seniors live by themselves, up from 25.2% in 1994. This creates a unique opportunity for technology to aid them in having the best possible quality of life.
One common safety precaution for self-reliant seniors is an emergency button they can push if they suffer an injury, like falling in the shower. This way medical help can be summoned as soon as a problem occurs.
Technology in the wearables space is completely changing this process. Rather than lugging around an emergency device all day, seniors can wear an unobtrusive smartwatch or smart bracelet that has the alert feature built right in.
A more unusual trend here is the prevalence of “daytime discos” where people can meet up to dance. Seniors want to spend time out in the world socializing with each other. Meetup apps are a good way for people to coordinate with each other and participate in activities.
In Australia, senior citizens are using their technology to stay connected. The Seniors Technology Survey reports that Australian seniors spend a cumulative of 3.3 billion hours every year on social media, presenting a massive opportunity for startups.
What’s even more interesting is that the majority of people in this group report a very positive experience with social media. Despite negative narratives surrounding Facebook and other social platforms in the media, older people are appreciating these apps for giving them the ability to stay connected with family and learn about news.
Giving elderly people internet connections will be even more important in the future. By the end of the century, the number of senior citizens in Australia will grow from its current level of 15% up to a new high of 25%—which will create new opportunities for startups who expand into the elderly market.
Technology is making remarkable changes for senior citizens’ quality of life around the world. Whether it’s transportation, wearables, social needs, or just basic comfort and quality of life, there is an app for almost everything.
With technology still developing at a breakneck pace, new innovations are likely to keep boosting the quality of life long into the future, creating some exciting new untapped opportunities for startups.
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