I spend a lot of my time reading about organizations, academic institutions, and research cooperatives that are working to use technology to improve the life of seniors. A lot of recent innovations are designed to be user friendly and based on the conclusion that seniors ARE in fact capable of using computers, smartphones, and other devices.
At the other end of the spectrum, are companies marketing products that are so simple even a senior can use them, which conjures up images of Geico’s memorable “So easy a caveman can do it” campaign. We are all probably guilty of making a bad joke about one of our loved ones being alive back when the dinosaurs roamed the earth, but do these products take things too far?
Take for example, the Jitterbug cellphone. The advertisement reads:
“All my friends – and my kids—have new cell phones. They carry them around with them all day, like mini computers, with little tiny keyboards and hundreds of programs which are supposed to make life easier.
Trouble is … people my age can’t use them. The keyboards are too small, the displays are hard to see, and the phones are so complicated that my friends end up borrowing my Jitterbug when they need to make a call.”
Yes, bright screens and larger buttons do serve a practical purpose and might be just the features some seniors are looking for, but has this advertisement dumbed down smart phones for seniors? What is your reaction? Do these simple cellphones make good products for seniors or are they an example of poor advertising that some might even find insulting?
Amy M. Blitchok is a professional writer and researcher who specializes in issues relating to seniors, aging in place and mobility technology. She works to disseminate important information that will help everyone live a longer healthier life and age comfortably and gracefully. Currently, she writes for AmeriGlide.com and contributes to several major industry related blogs and websites.