Home > Senior Activities, Hobbies & Lifestyle > Computers: Which Seniors Are Likely To Use One?

Computers: Which Seniors Are Likely To Use One?

Never has the need to categorize the broad term “senior citizen,” been more pertinent than when it comes to the using the Internet. Time and time again, I run across articles suggesting the use of a computer by a “senior” for a variety of reasons. One I see frequently has to do with determining when an elderly person should stop driving a car. Most list some of the warning signs that might indicate that it’s time to consider taking away the keys, for example; getting lost, dents and scrapes on the car, traffic tickets, impaired judgment and motor skills, and other drivers honking. One suggestion I see often is having these drivers take an online evaluation and assessment of skills test.

There are always exceptions on every subject and with every person, but a senior who is having trouble with some of the above-mentioned issues seems most likely to fall into a higher age category, one that a large percentage of time, does not include ownership or knowledge of how to use a computer. Making a distinction between Baby Boomers, who in 2010 are age 46 to 64, a 70 year old, a 75 year old and someone 80-85 and older is paramount to providing relevant and meaningful information in areas such as navigating daily life, healthcare, education, and even merchandising.

In their 2005 report : e-Health and the Elderly : How Seniors Use the Internet for Health Information, although it relates solely to use of the Internet regarding healthcare, the Kaiser Foundation reveals some interesting findings.

  • Less than a third of all seniors have ever gone online; in fact, fewer than half have ever used a computer.
  • Many seniors don’t trust the Internet as a source for health information; but for 50-64 year olds, the Internet is more trusted than other more traditional media.
  • Out of 21 people surveyed, 19% aged 50-64 say they use the Internet a lot, but the number dropped to only 8% for those over 65.
  • Out of 57 people surveyed, 26% aged 50-64 said that they don’t use the Internet at all, and the figure jumps to 46% who don’t use it among those 65 and older.

Another night on the computer by *StabiCon on deviantART

True, our society’s children and grandchildren are likely be exposed to a computer before taking their first step; those entering retirement age might not have grown up with the technology but they have used it at work; and those who retired some time ago, have never been exposed to it. However, according to an April 2006 study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, about 73 percent of all U.S. adults are online. That number is also high (71 percent) for baby boomers ages 50 to 65. As shown before, the number of computer users drops as age increases and more than likely, an online driving assessment test would not be a suitable option for an older senior in determining whether they should relinquish their car keys.

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About The Author: Gloria Ha’o Schneider is an expert in senior citizen and baby boomer issues. Her topics revolve around Senior Living and Healthcare to provide the latest information to this demographic as well as their families and loved ones.

  1. Michaela Paplow
    July 7, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    Hello everybody,

    I think that is really an amazing development and I would very appreciate if my grandparents or even my parents would engage in such networks because I think it is much easier to stay in contact.

    For my Bachelor thesis I analyzed the user behavior of U.S. seniors. In comparisons to the Germans (I am a German student) I think that more older Americans are using the internet. Nevertheless, an insufficient usability hampers the internet use for seniors of both nations.

    That is why I developed senior-friendly websites for a German company in the field of medical tourism.
    It is part of my bachelor thesis that you, as the potential target group evaluate these layouts. For me it is very hard to make contact to American seniors, because I write my bachelor thesis in Germany. Therefore I would very appreciate when you dedicate some time to you take part in my questionnaire.
    All information is kept confidential and the survey was reviewed and approved by the University of Applied Sciences.

    If you like to contribute to a more user friendly web design, please visit the survey at:


    Thank you very much for your help and your support.

    With kind

    Michaela Paplow

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