Tech Guide for Baby Boomers - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine January-March 2019 Issue

With age comes experience, wisdom, retirement, and eventually…senior discounts. Nevertheless, many baby boomers (46- to 64-year-olds) are keeping pace with the younger adults when it comes to certain technology thanks to new advances that help them remain efficient and productive at home and at work. In fact, according to Forrester Research, boomers now spend more money on technology than any other demographic.

Want to know how to stay ahead? Here are four tech tips and tools that experts say will help.

Use social media to connect and stay informed. Older boomers are latching onto social media sites like Facebook faster than young adults. Between April 2009 and May 2010, social networking use among Internet users ages 56-64 (older boomers) grew by 88%–from 25% to 47%, according a report from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. “Boomers are very comfortable with technology,” says Nataki Edwards, vice president of digital strategy and operations at AARP. “They are adopting social media to not only connect to friends and family, but to solve their own individual problems and satisfy their interests. The fastest growing segment of people on [for example] is people over 50.”

Choose mobile devices that are easy to use. Desktop computers are currently the most popular with 65% of younger boomers (age 46 to 56) and 64% of older boomers, according to a Pew Center report. But tablet computers may begin to encroach on that statistic. Tablets like the iPad, which have wider screens than average mobile phones, can be very useful to boomers and others who may be suffering from deteriorating eyesight. The invention of the multi-touch screens allow users to easily enlarge small text at a whim without needing to find a settings menu, and make navigating web sites much easier.

Find games to help with mental cognition. Age Associated Memory Impairment is a common consequence of the aging process. “Games do well with baby boomers because they help with cognitive memory,” says Edwards. Today, there is no lack of simple games that help boomers stay focused and alert, with Angry Birds and Xbox Kinect Games recently becoming very popular among the group, she says. Boomers should also try games that will help them train their brain to produce real world benefits like problem solving, says Arnold Lewis, president of Ascend Partnerships, a software development company that creates products for older populations. He recommends that boomers subscribe to Luminosity, an online library of brain games that exercise your brain across five cognitive areas including speed, flexibility, memory, attention and problem-solving.

Download tools to help stay organized: With the loss of memory comes the inability to stay organized. There is a multitude of software products and mobile applications that provide multiple opportunities for boomers to securely manage their personal affairs. For example, the new AARP mobile app can be scanned at retail shops across the country to provide discounts. If a boomer neglects to carry their card with them, they can always pull out their phone and still receive their AARP discount. There are also products like InformationSafe, a software that Lewis developed to give boomers a way to digitally capture all of their important records in a centralized location. Users can store and manage insurance policies, bank account numbers, and legal agreements along with the usernames and passwords associated with each.

Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.