Advancing the aging and technology agenda in gerontology
Health Services Needs and Demand
Interest in technology for older adults is driven by multiple converging trends: the rapid pace of technological development; the unprecedented growth of the aging population in the United States and worldwide; the increase in the number and survival of persons with disability; the growing and unsustainable costs of caring for the elderly people; and the increasing interest on the part of business, industry, and government agencies in addressing health care needs with technology. These trends have contributed to the strong conviction that technology can play an important role in enhancing quality of life and independence of older individuals with high levels of efficiency, potentially reducing individual and societal costs of caring for the elderly people. The purpose of this "Forum" position article is to integrate what we know about older adults and technology systems in order to provide direction to this vital enterprise. We define what we mean by technology for an aging population, provide a brief history of its development, introduce a taxonomy for characterizing current technology applications to older adults, summarize research in this area, describe existing development and evaluation processes, identify factors important for the acceptance of technology among older individuals, and recommend future directions for research in this area.