What I want people to understand from this article?
0. There is a huge number of seniors in India who are sad, frustrated, strapped and alone. Technology can help them and bring them back to the mainstream. Provide them with a better life.
1. Senior citizens can use technology to overcome the isolation they feel in the old age.
2. We should build products for specific needs of the senior citizen.
3. How technology can make an impact.
Population in India is more than 1.35 Billion with a growth rate of 1.2%. Out of this, approximately 11% of people are in the age group of 60 and above. This population has, say, more than 20 years to live due to better medical facilities and the general increase in lifespan etc. Currently, we are the youngest nation and will remain so for a while. It is a good time to start building processes that can help us later.
The major issue affecting the senior citizens is loneliness. This is an age where they start feeling alone as their children are busy in their own lives, work is less and physical power is reducing. But with the world shrinking and fitting in a pocket it can provide them with easy access to information and knowledge which in turn, will ignite their curiosities, an essential aspect for a living a more fulfilled life.
Old age is a lot like childhood- you need to be more patient with them, teach them the new things exactly like you teach a child and also it is lonely and so on.
How can technology help in making the last leg of life happier, better and exciting for the senior citizens? We have a smartphone in our pockets. How can this be used as a tool to make the life of senior citizens more inclusive?
The first step
The first step will be to show the change a smartphone can bring to their lives. They need to deeply understand it’s utility and how it can help them stay connected with their loved ones.
Next thing would be to educate them on how to use a smartphone. This will be like teaching a toddler how to write and will require a lot of patience.
The challenges are multiple here- lack of education, language barriers, reach, inertia towards adopting a new way of life, internet connectivity issues, lack of support systems from families, security, lack of liquidity and more.
In India, people don’t consider the internet very safe which is true to a certain extent. Conducting programs that help them understand the safe practices and build trust should help.
The technology challenges can be tackled by building products around vernacular and voice. Hence at least in India vernacular and voice will play a huge role in internet inclusion.
The idea is to build products focusing on senior citizens so that they get hooked. Save them against internet fraud. And help them live a happy life.