Social connectivity and, independent living key benefits, say seniors;
new research partnership with U of T to explore age-friendly
TORONTO, June 20, 2012 /CNW/ - Digital communications may once have been
the domain of the young, but Canada's senior citizens are increasingly
crossing the digital divide, according to new research from Revera, a
Canadian leader in seniors' accommodation, care and services. The Revera Report on Tech-Savvy Seniors reveals that a growing army of online seniors, aged 75 and older, are
using digital technology for everything from independent living to
online shopping and more face time with friends and family using
platforms like Skype. Further, three-quarters surveyed say they believe
technology has the potential to make their lives easier.
According to Statistics Canada, only five per cent of seniors 75 and
older were online in 20001; today, that number has grown more than fivefold to 27 per cent2. Recent data from Pew Research Center, a U.S.-based think-tank, showed
34 per cent of American seniors 75-plus are now online3.
"The computer is invaluable to me. I don't know what I would do without
it," said Bertha Kronenberg, 88, who stays in touch with family living
in South Africa from her computer at Revera's Forest Hill Place
Retirement Residence in Toronto. "The internet is a wonderful record of
what is going on in the world."
Revera Report on Tech-Savvy Seniors: Key Findings
Canadian online seniors 75 and older are most inclined to use technology
to keep socially active. In fact, email has surpassed face to face
contact as a primary way to keep in contact with friends and family.
Fifty-three per cent are socializing via social networking sites like
Facebook, and one in five uses Skype or Facetime to speak with friends
Eighty-eight per cent go online at least once a day.
Seven in 10 believe technology plays an important role in helping them
live in their homes for as long as possible.
U of T Research Partnership Supports New Innovations in Technology For
In response to this growth, Revera is teaming up with the University of
Toronto's Technologies for Aging Gracefully Lab (TAGlab) in a
three-year, $50,000/year research partnership. Along with research and
development at the University, the partnership will see TAGlab
researchers visiting Revera residences to conduct focus groups and test
"Our shared goal is to create new advances in technology that will have
a positive impact on the lives of Canadian seniors," says Trish
Barbato, Senior Vice President of Home Health and Business Development
at Revera Inc. "There is such vast potential for technology to play a
pivotal role in helping seniors stay socially active and independent -
both benefits of the digital age that seniors say are key."
Dr. Ronald Baecker, Founder and Lead Researcher at the TAGlab says while
not all seniors are currently embracing technology, the emerging trends
illustrate the growing place for digital in helping seniors live their
lives, the way they choose.
"We know for instance that Canadians want to age at home," says Dr.
Baecker. "One of the ways we can help them do this is by creating new
innovations that will address some of the big challenges they face like
isolation and home health care monitoring. Our partnership with Revera
will help us in our mission to advance technology for health,
well-being and graceful aging."
TAGlab is currently working on numerous devices to help social
interaction including a touch screen photo frame that sends messages to
a loved one's email saying "I'm thinking of you." This message prompts the relative to record a video that is
transmitted back to the photo frame for viewing by the senior. New
kinds of electronic books that enhance the experience of reading is
another area of focus for TAGlab.
About the Revera Report on Tech-Savvy Seniors
Revera, in partnership with Leger Marketing, surveyed online Canadians
aged 55-64, 65-74 and seniors 75+ to find out their attitudes and
behaviours around technology use. The survey was completed online from
January 23, 2012 to February 3, 2012 using Leger Marketing's online
panel, LegerWeb, with a sample of 1532 Canadians in the following age
groups: 500 Canadians age 55 to 64, 513 Canadians ages 65 to 74; and
519 Canadians age 75+. A probability sample of the same size would
yield a margin of error of ±2.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20. The Revera Report on Tech-Savvy Seniors is one in a series of reports
that will be issued by Revera exploring different topics relevant to
the aging experience of Canadian seniors.
About Revera Inc.
Revera is a leading provider of seniors' accommodation, care and
services; built on 50-year history of helping seniors live life to the
fullest. Our nearly 30,000 dedicated employees continually strive to
serve a diverse group of clients and to offer choices to meet their
individual preferences. With more than 250 sites across Canada and
parts of the U.S., we work to enhance lives in our retirement
communities, long term care homes, U.S. nursing and rehab centres and
through the provision of home health services. Canadian-owned and
operated, Revera serves approximately 30,000 clients every day, with
the core values of respect, integrity, compassion and excellence at the
heart of our business. Find out more about Revera at www.reveraliving.com or find us on Facebook and Twitter.
TAGlab is a research team in the Department of Computer Science at the
University of Toronto that collaborates with clinicians and researchers
from the health sciences across North America. TAGlab conducts
research for the journey through life (see also http://taglab.utoronto.ca/). TAGlab's mission is to enable full participation in society by
normally aging senior citizens, and by individuals with special needs —
e.g. people afflicted by Alzheimer's disease (AD), mild cognitive
impairment (MCI), aphasia, strokes, multiple sclerosis (MS), or vision
loss. This is done by identifying "sweet spots" where technology seems
relevant to human needs, envisioning ways in which the technology could
address a problem, then designing, building, testing, and where
possible commercializing solutions.
Notes To Editor:
Interview opportunities are available with tech-savvy seniors in GTA,
Calgary, London and Victoria. Trish Barbato, Senior Vice President of
Home Health and Business Development at Revera Inc. and Dr. Ronald
Baecker, University of Toronto TAGlab are also available for
For poll results, and to read seniors' stories, and receive tips to help
make the senior in your life more tech-savvy visit Reveraliving.com.
1 http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/11-008-x/2009002/c-g/10910/c-g001-eng.htm Accessed April 17, 2012.
2 http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/111012/dq111012a-eng.htm Accessed April 17, 2012.
3 http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2012/Older-adults-and-internet-use/Summary-of-findings.aspx Accessed June 8, 2012.
Image with caption: "The Revera Report on Tech-Savvy Seniors shows staying socially connected and maintaining independence are the two key benefits of technology for those 75-plus. At 88, Bertha is a self-taught computer fan who stays in touch through Facebook and Skype at Revera's Forest Hill Retirement Residence. (CNW Group/Revera Inc.)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120620_C2383_PHOTO_EN_15296.jpg
Image with caption: "Email has surpassed face time as a main way to keep in touch with family for online seniors over 75, according to the Revera Report on Tech-Savvy Seniors. At almost 105, Calgary's Evelyn regularly gets photos and updates from family via email at Revera's Bow-Crest Long Term Care Residence. (CNW Group/Revera Inc.)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120620_C2383_PHOTO_EN_15297.jpg
Audio with caption: "Revera Report on Tech-Savvy Seniors". Audio available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/media/2012/06/20/20120620_C2383_AUDIO_EN_15300.mp3
SOURCE Revera Inc.
For further information:
Sandra Vlaar Ingram