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Computers For Seniors Is Becoming Big Business
Summary: Trends today are changing in computer usage among Baby Boomer Seniors. Instead of just learning how to send and receive emails and messages, the aging population is expanding their knowledge of computer use daily. Seniors now know how to use computers for ‘work-from-home’ small businesses; they use their computers to chat online with family and friends; and a host of other uses. So, now what are they up to?
A phenomenal trend is taking place in homes all around the world; a trend that continues to grow on a daily basis. The trend is that Baby Boomer Seniors are at it again. They are becoming more tech savvy about computers and are demanding more and more of, not only services for computers, but are going back to class to learn how to use their computers more efficiently in today’s changing world.
As a senior boomer myself, I know that a computer has changed my life immensely. Not only did I discover that the lowly 3.1 PC computer of the early 90’s, with its 14” screen, was a godsend for doing my bookkeeping – I soon discovered that I could make money with it too.
Since getting my first computer, I have upgraded about every 3-5 years, and with every new computer I have taught myself to do everything from emails to accounting; studied advertising/marketing design with my new business, to publishing my own small business marketing newspaper. And, I did all this from my home office!
Today my beautiful HP high definition monitor with a 24” screen and a hard drive with more bytes than a rabid dog; just begs for me to spend at least 12-14 hours in his company – daily!
As the years have gone by since my first computer, I have watched as family and friends that are around the same age as me, have also been changing their lives with computers.
Some only use it occasionally for keeping in touch with loved ones and sending pictures online. However, with the onset of Facebook, Twitter and other social media, this huge group of people in my circle have found astounding ways to learn and keep learning how to make this social media ‘thing’ a resounding success.
The ‘older boomer seniors’ have taken to learning the basics of using a computer as quickly as some of their children have. There are lots of free tutorials that seniors find online, and that makes it easier for them to find computer workshops that they can take at home.
You can also find work to do from home with your computer just by searching your web browser. I managed to find work with a reputable international food company and take calls at my home office every week. I’m considered a ‘remote call agent’ and work for myself under contract. It is nice to talk to people from all across Canada and it beats having to drive my car (so I save on gas) and if it snows, I’m already at work at home.
We ‘older boomers’ are not so different from when we were ‘young boomers’; our demands remain high, we still want the TOP tech gadgets and we never do stop learning new ways to make the computer our friend. We now buy Smart Phones, iPads and laptops in alarming numbers. Good news for retailers, but they have to be more savvy because seniors are getting smarter in what products work for them and what ones don't.
The following 6 statements are excerpts from Stats Canada showing what the aging boomer seniors with computers have been up to between 1990 and 2003:
1. The share of senior-led households with home internet access increased from 3.4% to 22.7%, and access among households headed by someone aged 55-64 increased more that four-fold.
2. The same trend is evident if we consider individuals rather than households. The share of individuals aged 65 to 74 using the Internet increased from 11% to 28% between 2000 and 2003, and the share using email increased from 11% to 27%. The same upward trend was evident among seniors aged 75 or older, albeit at a lower level.
3. Among seniors aged 65 to 74, individuals with a post-secondary educational credential were more than twice as likely as those with no such credential to use the Internet (at 45.5% and 20.6% respectively).
4. Almost half of computer users aged 56 to 65 (48.1%) use their home computer less than 10 hours in a typical month and in this respect may be considered 'casual users'.
5. Individuals in their late fifties and early sixties use the Internet for many of the same purposes as individuals in younger age groups. For example, at least 85% of Internet users in all age groups use the Internet for email.
6. Computer users aged 56 to 65 have positive assessments of new technologies. Over three-quarters of them say that computers have made it easier for them to find useful information and almost two-thirds say that computer have helped them communicate with other people.
Since most of these facts are from reports up to 2003, and I can’t imagine what 2013 stats may reveal. Imagine what they will be when new statistics are released by Stats Canada with a more recent tally. Retailers will cater more to the senior buyers, and computer manufacturers will be - (pardon the pun) ec-stat-ic! Happy hunting fellow boomers, for your next computer…and imagine what you can do with it!
Facts 1-6 above are taken from Stats Canada - Chapter 5. Leisure and Outlook On Life (A Portrait of Seniors in Canada).