are needed to learn about how use and acceptance of technologies evolves over time. The steering committee recommends support of such methodological work by the National Institute on Aging.
Many factors could potentially affect the acceptance and success of any new technology for older adults. The steering committee developed a list of such factors for consideration when applicable in each of the selected domains: access, cohorts, culture and language, customization, expectations, legal constraints, stereotyping, privacy, safety, training, trust, usability, and control, autonomy, and dignity.
Communication Exciting possibilities exist for new technologies to support older adults and their caretakers and to enable the maintenance of social contacts for those whose mobility is reduced. Technology developers must understand the special communication needs and the cognitive, affective, and sensory characteristics of older people and take these into account in developing technology for this population. Three major barriers impede communication with and for older adults: overaccommodation to aging, word retrieval, and multitasking; each has implications for the design of communication technology for older adults. Specific technologies of interest include “mobile communication and computing devices” or MCCDs, which can combine features currently available in mobile telephones, personal digital assistants, and more. The challenges involved in designing MCCDs to be acceptable to and usable by aging users include usability, the need for adaptive interfaces, and privacy concerns. Development of successful technology solutions will require cooperative work by technologists and behavioral and social scientists.
Employment Recent and predicted future changes in career and retirement patterns in American society and in the age-related demographics of the U.S. population have implications for the development of technological innovations. The size of the older population will increase rapidly as the baby boomers age, with a concomitant reduction in the proportion of younger adults. The research literature documents age-related changes in abilities and work performance, as well as in occupational trends. Technology has specific effects on work and especially on older workers, with significant differences in cohort responses to new technology. Technology can help older workers remain employed and maintain or upgrade their skills, as well as support the transition to retirement, through adaptive interfaces and other means of supporting computer input and output, software to provide planning and cueing assistance, and health monitoring devices. Research is needed on behavioral,