EVANSTON, Ill., Dec. 13, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The majority of today’s Americans age 55+ have positive views on artificial intelligence, according to new findings from Mather Institute, the research area of Mather, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to creating Ways to Age WellSM. This trend is good news for senior living providers, a growing number of whom have been adding technology-based enhancements like digital assistants in resident homes and in-house apps to streamline services.
In Mather Institute’s November 2023 research brief Navigating the Digital Era: Older Adults’ Views on GPS, Smart Speakers & AI, more than 600 survey respondents age 55+ were asked about their views of artificial intelligence (AI)-based technologies including GPS, digital assistants like Alexa and Echo, automated chat help and more.
“The study shows how positive, open and curious people 55+ are toward artificial intelligence,” says Cate O’Brien, PhD, Senior Vice President of Mather Institute. “For example, approximately half of the survey respondents believe that it is either extremely or somewhat likely that AI will make the world a better place 50 years from now.”
Support for AI is strong among older adults who are already familiar with it. The most favorably perceived devices and technologies corresponded to the most commonly used: GPS, language translators, text editors, and digital assistants.
While survey respondents have some concerns about specific capabilities of AI in the future, many are excited about the use of AI for developing vaccines and other scientific advancements, as well as its ability to answer questions.
Wider Trends in Technology
Mather Institute’s findings go hand-in-hand with several award-winning examples of how senior living is exploring technology to successfully meet specific needs.
“In the past year, the Institute has seen some new applications for technology for residents of senior living and for all older adults,” says Dr. O’Brien. “There are some innovative, even intriguing, options being explored to meet specific needs for this audience.”
Recent examples can be found among recipients of two industry awards programs that Mather Institute presents each year: Innovative Research on Aging Awards recognize excellent applied research that offers important implications for the aging services industry; the Promising Practices Awards highlight organizations working with older adults that are developing and implementing innovative approaches.
“Among the 2023 submissions for each of the award programs, there were some interesting uses of technology to increase engagement, expand services and improve quality of life. Organizations aren’t shying away from testing out new uses of technology to improve the lives of older adults, and that’s something that senior living providers should pay attention to” says Dr. O’Brien.
- Researchers from the University of California Santa Barbara earned a Gold 2023 Innovative Research on Aging Award for demonstrating how a virtual reality (VR) program reduces isolation and loneliness in residents of senior living with dementia, resulting in stronger relationships with family members and better quality of life.
- A research team from Cornell University was recognized with a Bronze 2023 Innovative Research on Aging Award for their use of a VR garden to boost the moods and attitudes of older adults with cognitive impairment.
- Among the recipients of 2023 Promising Practices Awards, there are two apps that, while not specifically designed for older adults, have obvious benefits for them.
- Technology startup NatureQuant introduced a mobile app that motivates users to monitor their minutes spent in nature. Organizations can use it to give “nature prescriptions” to individuals, since time spent in green spaces has been shown to have profound effects on health and mood.
- JSA Designs’ AccessNavigators.com is a web-based guide to accessibility data for restaurants, attractions, and parks across New England. Web-based maps let people plan outings and choose easy destinations based on accessibility criteria on entryways, restrooms, and more. The guides allow those with mobility issues to prepare for outings and enjoy better quality of life.
Mather Institute’s research brief, “Navigating the Digital Era: Older Adults’ Views on GPS, Smart Speakers & AI,” as well as reports on the 2023 Promising Practices Award recipients and Innovative Research on Aging recipients, are available on www.matherinstitute.com.
Based in Evanston, Illinois, Mather is an 82-year-old, not-for-profit organization that creates Ways to Age WellSM. Mather Institute serves as an award-winning resource for research and information about wellness, aging, trends in senior living, and successful aging service innovations. Known for its vision of changing the way society views aging, Mather is committed to transforming practices, perspectives and language surrounding aging, and partnered with LeadingAge in 2015 to change the category name for Life Plan Communities. The landmark Age Well Study is the latest example of its commitment to the senior living industry. To learn more about Mather Institute, or Mather senior residences and community-based initiatives, find your way to www.mather.com.
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