Envisioning the Future for Older Adults: Autonomy, Health, Well-being, and Social Connectedness with Technology Support.
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Futures, ISSN: 0016-3287, Vol: 87, Page: 133-139
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- Business, Management and Accounting; Social Sciences
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Envisioning the future of older adults of 2050 is a challenging task given the heterogeneity of the older adult population. We consider primarily the domains of home, health, and social participation for individuals over age 65 and the potential role of information, communication, and robotic technology for enhanced independence, maintenance of autonomy, and enriched quality of life. We develop several scenarios to illustrate the diversity of circumstances, health, and living situations for older adults in the future. We discuss possible negative outcomes resulting from the proliferation of technology, including increased social isolation and a widening digital divide. However, we focus primarily on envisioning desired situations wherein older adults have autonomy and independence; are easily able to manage their health and wellness needs; have rich and rewarding opportunities for social connectedness, personal growth, continued life purpose, and overall high quality of life. To attain this future, we must be acting now: designing the technology with involvement by today's older adults who represent the needs and capabilities of tomorrow's older adults; developing the necessary infrastructure to support widespread availability and deployment of these technologies; and supporting the integration of technology into people's lives at younger ages with adaptive functionality to support changing needs and preferences.