The Elderly in the Digital World and Digital Inclusion of the Elderly: An Exemplary Mobile Application for the Elderly

Zehra Alakoç Burma


In the modern day, technological developments are advancing exponentially, improving technology brings innovations in every corner of our lives, and with such innovations, the digital world is becoming more and more central to people’s lives. It is particularly important that the elderly also take part in this digital world, where especially young and middle-aged people are more likely to be involved. Our elders are our dearest and most respected family members whom we dote on and want to take care of with utmost attention. It is one of the noblest duties to increase their welfare, happiness, and life satisfaction by providing them with a safe, secure, and comfortable living environment. The elderly need to be actively involved in the digital world in order to benefit from the developments brought about by the digital world in a way to make their lives easier, such as maintaining social connections, following up on their health, staying healthy, making financial, banking and e-government transactions, using applications that facilitate their daily lives and remind them of important appointments or medication times. By the end of 2023, approximately 10 out of every 100 people living in the world will be elderly, and this figure is expected to increase to 12 in 2030 and 16 in 2050. Of all the applications developed in our constantly aging world; the necessity for mobile applications specifically for the elderly has also gradually increased and become more and more crucial in the world of applications. The applications to be developed for the elderly will facilitate the lives of both the elderly and those who are obliged to take care of them. The aim of this research is to contribute to the advancement of knowledge in the field of mobile application design for the elderly and to create a more inclusive and user-friendly technology for this growing user group.

This article is analyzed in three parts. In the first section; the elderly population statistics of the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) for the year 2022 are studied on a detailed basis and the attributes of the elderly population aged 65 and over in Türkiye are examined by introducing a statistical overview of the subject. The second section deals with the topics about the elderly population; namely, what are the dangers ahead of the increasing elderly population, what are the challenges for families and individuals who are responsible for caring for the elderly, what are the most frequently diagnosed diseases in the elderly, what are the expectations of the elderly from their family members, what do the elderly feel most lonely about, and how should the city life be in order to facilitate the lives of the elderly. In light of the information put forth in the first part, the following topics are discussed in the second part: Why the elderly should be included in digitalization, what are the factors that increase the digital inclusion of the elderly, the obstacles to their digitalization, the dangers of their digitalization, the obstacles to the use of technology by the elderly, digital learning of the elderly, smart homes and wearable technologies. Although these issues may seem to be related to old age, they have been addressed because they are considered essential for understanding the elderly and identifying their needs for the mobile application to be developed. Finally, in the third part of the article, various applications developed for the elderly are reviewed and an exemplary mobile application for elderly is suggested.

Keywords: Old Age, Elderly, Elderly in the digital world, Mobile application for the elderly

DOI: 10.7176/JIEA/13-2-05

Publication date:August31st 2023

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