Digital health tools provide a unique opportunity for healthcare providers to support and connect with patients of all ages. In this article, we take a look at how much the use of digital health tools, such as wearable technology, by seniors has grown over the past few years and how usage varies by age.
Each day between now and 2030, 10,000 Americans will celebrate their 65th birthday. The number of seniors in the United States will increase 14.5 percent over the next 12 years, reaching 74 million. To help support the health and well-being of such an enormous aging population, individuals, families, and healthcare providers are increasingly turning to wearable healthcare technology for seniors and patients of all ages.
"As seniors continue to get older and healthcare costs continue to rise, we will see an increase of medical wearable technology that can be used to cost-effectively provide adequate care for seniors," explained SeniorCaring, an online resource for seniors.
Wearable Technology Use by Seniors and Others: The Statistics
In fact, researchers predict a 16.7 percent growth each year across all global wearables markets. Just how many devices does that include?
- 310 million wearable devices will be sold worldwide this year, generating $30.5 billion in revenue.
- $9.3 billion of that $30.5 billion will come from smartwatches.
- 41.5 million smartwatches will be sold this year, the highest unit sales for wearables, next to Bluetooth headsets.
- By 2021, it is expected that smartwatch sales will total nearly 81 million units, 16 percent of wearable device sales.
Seniors and Health Technology Trends
Americans 65 and older have traditionally been slower to adopt new technology than their younger counterparts. However, Pew Research reports that trend is changing and bleeding over into the adoption of wearables.
Older Americans who own smartphones increased 24 percent (from 18% to 42%) between 2013 and 2017. This smartphone adoption varies widely depending on the age of the 65+ population. For example, 59 percent of adults between the ages of 65 and 69 own smartphones, compared to only 31 percent of those between the ages of 75 and 79.
Statistics reported by Forbes show the technology gap between the ages is closing, specifically in the wearables market. Seventeen percent of Americans over age 65 are already using wearables, compared to 20 percent of Americans under 65.
The same research found that 48 percent of Americans over 65 are "willing to consider" using wearables, coming in one percent point above the 47 percent of Americans under 65 "willing to consider" it.
Wearables and Beyond: What Digital Health Tools Are Seniors Using?
The wearable market is poised for exponential growth, and Americans 65 years and older are a major market driver. "Older demographics have adopted mobile technology at a rate which we had not expected," noted Forbes.
To learn more about the variety of wearables benefiting seniors and their caregivers, click here. And to read an article about exciting digital health tools you and your patients of any age need to know about - from digital rehabilitation solutions and mobile cardiac monitors to artificial vision devices that help the blind “see,” click here.