Jitterbug Smart 2, Grandpad, Amazon Alexa and Sirona. TV is technology devices created to engage the elderly to connect to their family, friends and to the Internet. Each of their companies has taken existing technology and adapted it for the seniors to enable their high adoption with senior clients. This means grandparents can more easily view pictures of their grandchildren, quickly research issues like gluten intolerance in babies, and provide caring answers and help to their overwhelmed sons or daughters.
As our mobility and dexterity decrease with age, some of the things we can use when younger is more difficult to do as we get older. Some such things including using smartphones and tablets. For this reason, companies have designed and developed devices especially for older people such as Grandpad and Jitterbug Smart 2 smart devices for seniors and Sirona.TV a smart TV for the elderly.
So, what are the characteristics required for a technology product for high adoption by seniors?
The minimal must requirements for the high adoption of assistive devices for the elderly are listed below. Meeting these requirements does not assure that the product will attain high adoption however devices which do not meet these requirements will most likely not have high adoption by seniors:
- Easy to Use – Easy to use covers many aspects of a product. The toaster is a good example of easy to use the product, pop in a slice of bread into a toaster and comes out a toasted slice. Large screens and fonts, easy to navigate menus, voice prompts, voice commands and some ways technology products are made easy to use.
- Minimal learning curve – There is a simple relationship between learning curve and adoption. The higher the learning curve lower is the adoption. Would you blame seniors for not wanting to get into using something which is difficult to learn?
- Available all the time – For high adoption, the solutions must be available all the time – Just like a fridge. One can walk to the fridge any time of day or and retrieve the milk – no battery to charge, upgrades to perform.
- Cost-effective – Most retired people are on fixed incomes and hence they would be reluctant to spend large sums of money each month for a new service.
- Available everywhere – Most of today’s elderly are mobile hence mobility of solution is important to factor for high use and high adoption of any product.
- Stigma less – The assistive devices can be like a beacon identifying to everyone around that the user “has a disability” or that “I am now a senior” and are not welcome. Hence a friendly look without the look of an assistive device is important.
Device Details – Great Call, GrandPad and Safety Labs have created senior-friendly products and are listed below along with Amazon Alexa which is a great voice companion for the elderly living alone.
Jitterbug Smart 2 – The Jitterbug Smart2 from Great Call is a smartphone for seniors. Jitterbug Smart 2 is an easy-to-use phone for simply making calls and since it has a touchscreen, the elderly can access the Internet, use social media, get live news updates, play music and videos, and much more.
Grandpad – GrandPad from Consumer Cellular is a simple and secure tablet computer that digitally connects a senior to their family and friends. The senior can easily view family photos and videos,play games, see the weather for each family member, listen to music, check emails, make phone calls, place a video chat, and much more.
Alexa – Alexa from Amazon is the voice-controlled assistant that turns words into actions. Amazon Echo is a smart speaker for music, queries, and smart-home control. Alexa which resides in Echo answers most questions controls most smart-home devices, plays music on requests. Alexa can be used by seniors to help them.
SironaTV – Safety Labs realizing that not all elderly can easily use a tablet, or a smartphone created an easy to use the device, designed from ground up for Seniors. Sirona.TV is an Apple TV-like set-top box that provides tablet-like features on a TV. The set-top box connects to any TV using an HDMI cable. Seniors use the included remote control to use the connectivity features and benefits similar to what is provided by GrandPad and the Jitterbug Smart 2. The setup box also has a built-in Alexa like voice companion called Sirona. Sirona is Alexa designed for the seniors.
Below we compare how these devices stack against each other based on how they meet the adoption criteria. A detailed comparison can be found here.
|Jitterbug Smart 2 – Great Call||Grand Pad – Consumer Cellular||
Amazon Alexa for the Elderly
|Ease of Use||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Minimal Learning Curve||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Available all the time||✓||✓||✓||✓|
- Although Amazon’s Alexa is powered by a wall adapter, it is a small device that can be carried easily.
- The TV comes with a companion smartphone App which provides core features on the smartphones extending its reach
- Jitterbug Smart 2 and Grandpad have monthly fees which may be high for many retired older population, Sirona.TV has a low monthly fee and may be suitable for most seniors and Amazon Alexa has no monthly fees.
These devices are popular because these devices meet all the necessary criteria for high adoption by the older generations.
We further compare these devices based on their features and benefits. Below is a list of features and benefits these devices support:
Basic Feature Set – The basic feature set of a solution designed to engage seniors consists of Family Album, Phone and Video chats, Games and Weather, etc.
Personal Safety – Personal Safety is also known as Panic Alert or PERS (Personal Emergency Response Solution) enables seniors to alert friends, family or monitoring systems in case of an emergency.
Medication Reminder – Medication reminder enables a family member to set reminders for medication enabling their senior loved one to adhere to the medication regiment.
Health Monitoring – Using the health monitoring feature family can remotely monitor the health and wellness of their loved ones.
Below we compare how these devices stack against each other based on their support for the feature and benefit sets:
|Jitterbug Smart 2 Great Call||Grand Pad Consumer Cellular||Amazon Alexa||Sirona.TV
A detailed comparison can also be found here.
Conclusion – Technology plays an important role in keeping seniors engaged. However, not all size fits all. It is important to do your research. This article provides tips and information to help you with the decision of choosing the right device for your loved one.