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  • Writer's pictureNancy Griffin

U.S. News & World Report Releases Aging in Place with Assistive Tech Survey 2023

More than half (53%) of U.S. adults age 55 and older use some type of assistive or health-related technology. The two most widely used technologies are medical or health-related mobile apps (25%) and wearable medical or health-related trackers (17%).


In March 2023, U.S. News & World Report surveyed 2,000 U.S. adults age 55 and older to learn how they are using assistive technologies in their homes and the ways they plan to use these devices to help them age in place. The survey takes a deeper look at why older adults are – or are not – using assistive and health-related technologies, their goals of aging in place, which technologies they use the most, and some of the experiences they’ve had while using these technologies.


Aging in Place

The overwhelming majority of respondents (93%) agree that aging in place – “the ability to live in one's own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level,” according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – is an important goal for them.


Despite the desire to age in place, 41% feel their current setup is minimally ready to not ready at all because their home is lacking components such as no-step entry, a voice- or remote-controlled thermostat, virtual assistant devices, and/or height-adjustable products. While 59% feel their home is at least somewhat ready, only 19% feel that their current home setup is completely prepared for the years ahead.


Older Adults’ Use of Assistive Tech


Nearly half (49%) of respondents claim “general aging” is their primary reason for implementing assistive tech. Mobility impairments (28%), such as arthritis and fibromyalgia, and hearing impairments (22%) are the second- and third-most-reported catalysts for using assistive or health-related technologies.


Of the 47% surveyed who say they don't use assistive or health-related technologies, the overwhelming majority (70%), simply don’t feel that they need them yet. Another 16% share that they can’t afford the technologies, and 14% reject the technologies because they don’t want to lose their independence.


What Matters Most


Based on the survey, 53% of U.S. adults age 55 and older use some type of assistive or health-related technology. Two of the most widely used technologies by respondents include medical or health-related mobile apps (25%) and wearable medical or health-related trackers (17%).


Service-related apps that help with things like grocery and food delivery are also popular, with 24% of respondents saying they use them. Instacart, one of the more prevalent grocery apps, reported a 9% increase in the number of seniors using Instacart between the first and fourth quarter of 2020 – the largest jump within any age group.


While the decision to adopt a medical alert system can be a difficult one for seniors, nearly all who use one (96%) say it brings them some relief or assurance, according to our Senior Safety and Connectedness Survey. That survey similarly found that 97% of users’ children say the medical device system their parents use brings them relief.


Assistive Technologies Improve Quality of Life

According to the survey, 88% of respondents assert that assistive or health-related technologies have improved their quality of life. The technologies that have made it easiest for them to age in place are medical or health-related mobile apps (45%), service-related apps like grocery delivery apps (43%), wearable medical or health-related trackers (33%), and assistive smart home technologies (30%).


Using assistive or health-related technologies from home not only makes life for older Americans easier, but it also provides a sense of independence for more than half of survey respondents (55%). They also feel notably safer (44%) and healthier (33%) when using these technologies.

Overcoming Barriers

There are many barriers for older adults to overcome when adopting these new technologies. When using assistive or health-related technologies, people 55 and older say the things that matter most are that it’s easy to use (75%), easy to set up (50%), accessible using a mobile app (38%), and wireless (37%).


To tackle the learning curve of using their devices, respondents say they rely on product guides (30%), family and friends (22%), and health care workers (19%) to help them.


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