Study Reveals Most Gen Xers and Boomers Want to Age at Home, but 95% Fear Today’s Technology Is Not Up to The Task

November 06, 2013

Philips and the Global Social Enterprise Initiative (GSEI) at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business released a survey today that found both baby boomers and Generation X (Gen X) place high value on technology as they age. However, 95 percent believe today’s technology needs to be better developed to help them successfully age at home, or age in place, for as long as possible. [See the infographic.]

While 73 percent of boomers and Gen X surveyed want to age in their own home, they believe they will have significant barriers to achieving this through the aid of technology, such as access and adoption, cost, privacy, complexity of use, product integration, and public policy.

These barriers, which need to be addressed for future generations, already have a deep impact on how seniors currently use technology today. For instance, only 18 percent of those over 65 own a smart phone and only 56 percent use the Internet.* These behaviors are echoed in the Philips/GSEI study as both Gen X and boomers feel that their aging parents (age 60+) are not utilizing technology as well as they could. Findings include:

  • 53 percent of boomers and Gen X believed it would be a good thing if their parents used technology more with 45 percent of these stating that it will help them stay better connected with friends and family.
  • Only 9 percent of those surveyed believe that their parents are savvy or extremely savvy when it comes to technology use.
  • Boomers and Gen X want their aging parents to utilize monitoring technologies, such as home health monitors (45 percent) or security systems (43 percent). However, only 17 percent are using home health monitors and 12 percent have a security system.
  • 40 percent of boomers and Gen X said their parents think technology is “too hard” to learn. Respondents point to the fact that the time involved in learning to use a device and fixing potential problems discourages use.

“For people to live independent, fulfilling lives in their own homes and communities as they age, technology must continue to become easier to learn and use while also being better integrated with adjacent technologies, including patient care,” said Bill Novelli, distinguished professor of the practice, Georgetown University McDonough School of Business, and member of the Philips Aging Well Think Tank.

The results of this study and the individual barriers were discussed in an expert roundtable at Georgetown University facilitated by Philips and GSEI in October 2013. Meeting participants included thought leaders with expertise in aging, health care, technology, and policy.

"Philips is helping lead the way to make aging well a reality for more people," Novelli added. "Together, Georgetown, Philips, and others are working towards a full continuum of care for our aging population."

Outcomes and a full report out from the round table meeting, as well as the full results of the study, can be found at http://www.philips-thecenter.org/Aging-Well.

About Royal Philips
Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) is a diversified health and well-being company focused on improving people’s lives through meaningful innovation in the areas of healthcare, consumer lifestyle, and lighting. Headquartered in the Netherlands, Philips posted 2012 sales of EUR 24.8 billion and employs approximately 114,000 employees with sales and services in more than 100 countries. The company is a leader in cardiac care, acute care, and home healthcare, energy efficient lighting solutions, and new lighting applications, as well as male shaving and grooming and oral healthcare. News from Philips is located at www.philips.com/newscenter.

About GSEI
The Global Social Enterprise Initiative at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business aims to prepare current and future leaders to make responsible management decisions that create both economic and social value. Led by Distinguished Professor of the Practice Bill Novelli, GSEI engages corporate, nonprofit, government, and other stakeholders to advance the understanding of social enterprise.

GSEI encourages social value-focused thinking, learning and activity through:

  • Development of comprehensive curriculum and experiential programs;
  • Partnerships with corporations, nonprofit organizations, civil society, government and multilateral agencies to tackle large-scale challenges in key issue areas; and Convening of thought leaders to share best-practices and key learnings from the field.


About Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business
Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business provides a transformational education through classroom and experiential learning, preparing students to graduate as principled leaders in service to business and society. Through numerous centers, initiatives, and partnerships, Georgetown McDonough seeks to create a meaningful impact on business practice through both research and teaching. All academic programs provide a global perspective, woven through the undergraduate and graduate curriculum in a way that is unique to Washington, D.C. – the nexus of world business and policy – and to Georgetown University’s connections to global partner organizations and a world-wide alumni network. Founded in 1957, Georgetown McDonough is home to some 1,400 undergraduates, 1,000 MBA students, and 1,200 participants in executive degree and open enrollment programs. Learn more at http://msb.georgetown.edu. Follow us on Twitter @msbgu.

Notes to the editor:
Methodology: The survey “Aging Well: Next Generation Tech” was conducted online in partnership in partnership with Research Now and CQuest, among a sample of 1200 Americans aged 34-67, weighted to reflect a nationally representative profile.
Additional Data: Outcomes and a full report out from the roundtable meeting, as well as the full results of the study, can be found at http://www.philips-thecenter.org/Aging-Well.

*Source: Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project Spring Tracking Survey, April 17 – May 19, 2013

Tags: Global Social Enterprise Initiative William Novelli