Hi, I'm Dr. Tanja Popovich and this is Beyond the Data.
Welcome. Today we're talking about aging and technology
and how technology can help adults age more safely
and more independently.With us here today is Dr. Lynda Anderson
who is the director of the CDC's healthy aging program.
So, we have just had an interesting session about aging
and technology but I would like to take a step back and ask you,
why is having a lot of older adults a public health problem?
Well first let me describe sort of the number of older adults
that we're really going to be experiencing and many
of you have thought about sort of thinking
about the baby boom generation.
And in January of 2011 when the Baby Boomers started turning 65
we now know that there will be between nine
and ten thousand people turning 65 everyday.
And just that sheer number has huge implications for thinking
about public health in terms of service delivery and terms
of chronic disease management.
So we have talked about the technology,
can you tell us a little bit, again,
from the public health perspective what are the
challenges and what are the opportunities that we who work
in the public health arena have if we want to use some
of the new technologies and upcoming technologies
that we will have at our disposition?
So, in thinking from a public health we can think
about how do we get the technologies we have today
reaching out to older adults to really include them.
We have often been in our healthy aging program working
with aging services network
which really touches the lives of older adults.
So bringing in technology, public health,
and aging services, we can really make a difference
to really have older adults begin
to use technologies more effectively.
Do we know how receptive older adults are
to use of new technologies?
Well, we know from a recent study that about 53%
of older adults are using online types of technologies
back in 2010 and that's increasing all the time.
But that's an area that we really do need to do more work
about is to get older adults to be comfortable with technology.
So this is communication technologies.
What about other technologies to make their lives easier at home
and in the communities?
And so we do know that older adults are certainly willing
to adapt with technologies and to use them but we really have
to get over some the stigma of thinking about technologies
and perhaps even resistance to certain kinds
of home technologies,
an important area for public health.
We have heard about the "Yuck" factor. What is that?
It really means that sometimes when we have technologies
that have to be put in place to adapt for someone rather
than something that's designed more for people
to live with every day.
They might find them not as appealing as sort
of their regular home environment.
So we don't want technology to be self-centric in a way
that it looks like it's specifically designed
for one person. We want it to be appealing so that more
than one person can use it.
That it be flexible in a way for more than a grandparent
and a child that more than one person
in the family can be living in the same space
and be using assistive technologies.
Right, in fact you raise a really good point
about we want technologies that can help someone
who is 80 years old as well as help someone
who is eight years old and then families
to live more comfortably as well.
So, what would be one or two key messages that you would send
to the growing number of older adults
that we now have in our country?
What are we from the public health perspective doing
and what would you like them to know?
Well I think one thing is sort of the reaching
out to older adults and I would really recommend that they begin
to engage in using technology.
And we had mentioned sort of the personal technologies but also
to explore, let their opinions be heard about technologies,
to get involved and to learn more about technologies.
I think we can also, you know, learn and benefit
from what older adults can bring
to public health as partnerships.
So, what we need to do is we need to work
with the older adults as we develop these new technologies
and engage them as we develop them rather
than do it to them, in a way.
Yes, we want older adults
to be more engaged in the conversation.
Thank you so very much Linda!
This was Beyond the Data. Thank you very much
for being with us and see you next time.