Seniority Rules

Give the older generation the computing power it wants.
Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the May 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

With life expectancy hitting all-time highs, it's hard to ignore the growing senior market. A relatively untapped area involves technology for seniors. This can take many forms, from health-care technology to software that helps seniors access the internet.

A good resource for information is the Center for Aging Services Technologies, a coalition of technology companies, aging services organizations, research universities and government representatives. Technology that helps enable independent living for seniors is a major growth area. A Pew Internet & American Life report shows that wired seniors tend to engage in e-mail; communication, information and health searches; e-shopping; and online banking.

Companies like SSPDirect.com, founded in 2003 by mother and daughter Myrna and Risa Arin, are catering to over-50 computer users by selling products like large-print keyboards, screen magnifiers and mice designed for those with arthritis. "This is a great business opportunity because more and more seniors are trying to go online and there really aren't products or companies to support them," says Risa, 37. Customer service is more than a catchphrase when it comes to this demographic. SSPDirect.com has more than doubled its sales each year, in part because they provide extensive support to their customers in both selecting products and then putting those products to use.

Some hot areas to consider include technology for health care, independent living, aid for people with disabilities, and websites that cater specifically to the needs of seniors. Risa also points to mature adults staying in the work force longer and the need for technologies that help them stay productive in the workplace. It's a smart time for entrepreneurs to get a jump start in the area of senior technology by creating products and services for this growing market.

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