Old folks have lived decades without mobile devices, and they sure don’t want them now. That is the perceived stereotype anyway. Yet seniors represent one of the biggest potential markets for health apps, and it’s not hard to see why. Senior citizens are a primary focus of the health industry and health care spending. Still, because of the perception that seniors are slow to adopt mobile technology, this potential market is largely untapped.
In fact, 74% of seniors have cell phones and the number is growing steadily along with tablet adoption rates among older demographics. Therefore, providers should move rapidly to build health apps for seniors and implement efficient patient engagement strategies. Below, we show some ways to effectively engage the older generation via mobile apps and help reduce senior health care costs.
Show seniors the capabilities of mHealth
The senior demographic is one who needs to see to believe. Becker’s Hospital Review shared a recent study by the University of Waterloo, who gave tablets to a group of seniors and showed them several mobile health apps they could use. While there was some initial frustration among the users, by the end of the study the organizers got valuable feedback on several apps, and a conclusion that seniors were very willing to use mHealth. They just had to see a need for it. Medication management is one area where that need is quite apparent to seniors. They are very open to apps that give them medication reminders on a daily basis. Showing them how to research health information, and utilize mobile devices to easily communicate with providers, are also great ways to engage senior consumers.
Utilize the iPad for your mHealth apps for seniors
The tablet is quickly becoming the most popular mobile device among seniors. With a bigger screen and easier operation than the smaller smartphones, iPads represent a great way to get seniors engaged in mHealth. Tablet usage among the senior demographic rose 125% in the last year alone. While the overall number of users is still comparatively low, these numbers highlight the vast potential of the tablet among the older generations. Several apps, though not marketed specifically to seniors, are already utilizing this strategy to make their apps friendlier to older folks. Incorporating this easier interface when creating apps for seniors can really benefit any healthcare organization’s mHealth strategy.
Incorporate video and social media
Senior citizens represent one of the fastest growing demographics on social media. Already 59% of seniors use social media daily. It’s a great way to keep up with family and grandkids. They also watch a lot of online video, especially to get information, so consider adding a friendly face and instructional videos to your app. Take advantage of video and social media in your mHealth app and engage your older demographics!
The Window is Open for Senior Mobile Health
It is apparent that the window to take advantage of the gold mine that health apps for seniors present is open now. There are easy ways to do it, too. The MobileSmith platform enables healthcare providers to create apps on their own, delivering mHealth solutions to seniors from the people they trust most. It allows for easy native app creation for both iPad and iOS/Android smartphones, and simple incorporation of video and push notifications, all without coding. Capitalizing on this opportunity to build apps for seniors, and easily deliver beneficial mobile health solutions, will give you an instant advantage in this burgeoning market and greatly increase senior patient engagement.