Silver surfers

Technology starts to help Jamaica's senior community improve health, safety and communication.

Jamaica’s senior citizens community amounted to 545,088 people, 20.2% of the population according to the country’s last census carried out in 2011. Technology is starting to help to improve the lives of the country’s senior community as smart devices bring benefits to monitoring their health, safety and communication conditions but barriers remain.

A senior strategist at a regional telecommunications firm explained, “The 60+ age group makes up about 10% of the Jamaican population. Many of the younger generations want to emigrate to the US or Europe so the elderly are left alone, this creates a huge opportunity for technology that brings people together.”

The telecommunications executive saw the main opportunities in accident alerts, healthcare, transportation and banking, “This group is more susceptible to accidents and illnesses so healthcare is important and digital tools can really make banking easier. Transportation is also adopting more and more technology based on smartphones. These digital tools and services could really improve the lives of the elderly, if they could access them.”

“These digital tools and services could really improve the lives of the elderly, if they could access them.”

Telecommunications executive, Jamaica

Jamaica has experienced a significant improvement in internet availability and speed, enhancing mobile connections and smartphone availability. The industry executive believed that mobile and internet infrastructure in Jamaica was sufficient but was too expensive, “The ICT backbone from fibre to cell towers is there, Jamaica even has two data centres, the main issue preventing an explosion of silver surfers is the cost, even basic internet access is too expensive.” 

Another challenge is the limited access to and compatibility of smart devices. A telecommunications executive in Jamaica reported, “One of the biggest barriers is access and accessibility to technology for this age group. They may not be able to afford smartphones, in fact, most of that age group have standard feature phones and if they have a smartphone they won’t use the smart features.”

The Caribbean Community of Retired Persons (“CCRP”) said that elder people need to get used to technology prior to mastering it. The CCRP also emphasised that a better knowledge of Internet of Things, Active Assisted Living and artificial intelligence tools can support independent living for the elderly. The strategist confirmed that education was a significant barrier, “On a scale of 1 to 10, the tech knowledge of this age group is still 1, maybe 2. Most of that generation don’t have a university education and have never really used any technology before.”

“On a scale of 1 to 10 the tech knowledge of this age group is still 1, maybe 2.”

Senior strategist, regional telecommunications company

The Consumer Affairs Commission of Jamaica encouraged the government to offer support to elder citizens in the use of technology, particularly after financial institutions increased the contactless services after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is easier said than done though, as the strategist recalled, “Three or four years ago, the government ran a programme to improve computer literacy but there wasn’t a very good take up. First you need to demonstrate the benefits that technology can give them, then incentivise them to try it and finally you support their efforts with educational tools.”


Important Notice
While the information in this article has been prepared in good faith, no representation, warranty, assurance or undertaking (express or implied) is or will be made, and no responsibility or liability is or will be accepted by Deheza Limited or by its officers, employees or agents in relation to the adequacy, accuracy, completeness or reasonableness of this article, or of any other information (whether written or oral), notice or document supplied or otherwise made available in connection with this article. All and any such responsibility and liability is expressly disclaimed.
This article has been delivered to interested parties for information only. Deheza Limited gives no undertaking to provide the recipient with access to any additional information or to update this article or any additional information, or to correct any inaccuracies in it which may become apparent.

Most recent in TMT

Bulk Buying 

Argentina's quest to bolster National Defence with historic fighter jets purchase.

Data Dreams

Empowering Mexico's digital frontier.

Speed dial

Anatel's approval of Winity-Vivo sharing agreement in Brazil.

Bolivia’s fibre fiesta

ENTEL’s fibre optic expansion exerts further dominance over the competition.

Starlink: Shooting for the stars

Revolutionising internet connectivity and bridging the digital divide in LatAm.

5G rollout

Brazil’s rapid deployment of 5G is leading the region but others are struggling.

Game on

Latin America’s gaming industry continues to grow, even after a pandemic related boom.

Emerging tech

Colombia’s aspirations to become a regional tech hub face obstacles.

Ad-ding up

Strong advertising growth in LatAm looks unlikely to be repeated in 2023.

Digital divide

5G continues its expansions across Latin America but challenges remain.