May 24, 2017
For the first time, more than half of older Americans have broadband at home, according to a recently released report from the Pew Research Center. The report found that 51 percent of Americans age 65 or older now have broadband at home. Roughly 67 percent of seniors use the internet and 42 percent— more than triple the amount in 2013—now own a smartphone, according to the report.
The figures represent a mile-marker for broadband adoption because seniors have historically lagged behind other age groups in using broadband internet service. Generally speaking, U.S. seniors have had significantly lower adoption rates of new technology than the rest of the population, despite clear and present benefits. Broadband access allows seniors to stay informed and connected, from telehealth aids to online food delivery.
Despite more of the country’s aging population embracing broadband solutions, seniors still face challenges in adopting new technologies, according to the report. About a third of older internet users reported having little to no confidence in their ability to use the internet on smartphones or PCs and almost half said they usually need someone else to explain how to set up a new device. Although there are organizations dedicated to supporting senior technologists such as Teach Seniors Technology, the survey suggests more can be done to help older Americans navigate emerging technologies.