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See Me, Hear Me

When it comes to boomers and seniors, HP is ahead of the curve

Besides HP’s Accessibility and Aging Program Office, the company has another group devoted to ergonomics. In particular this group looks at things like the most comfortable screen positioning to help those of us who may wear bifocals or trifocals. 

While HP does not provide any specific training to its retailers to help boomers or seniors, it does train its customer service representatives to meet their needs.  HP has teamed up with Microsoft and  EnableMart to offer seniors a line of computers that come pre-configured with an easy to use suite of software applications.  For those who want to be connected by email but don’t want a computer, HP has the HP Printing Mailbox with Presto Service. 

While HP does offer a host of services and technologies aimed at boomers and seniors, they are not always easy to find.  Searching HP’s website for “Accessibility” and “Aging” came up with hundreds of results. Searching for “Age related disabilities” yielded no useful results. 

HP does have dedicated customer service lines for the hard of hearing (using Telecommunications Relay Service [TRS], Video Relay Service [VRS] and Web Captioned Telephone). It also has a special number for customers with other disabilities or age-related limitations to call for technical support or help with accessibility questions about HP products: (888) 259-5707.

While HP prides itself on being on the cutting edge of technology, it also recognizes that technology is only part of the solution. Computer-savvy boomers may need a little help when it comes to screen issues and input methods. But for seniors who’ve never used a computer in the workplace or had one at home, the services are every bit as important as the technology. That’s why Sarah Hoit founded Connected Living, with the idea of improving the quality of life for seniors.

Hoit says, “We thought this would be a lot more about the devices, but it’s not, it’s really about creating a private experience that allows seniors to connect with the rest of the world.  Using funding from federal grants Connected Living has put together suites of as many as 150 programs.  They allow seniors in public housing and in assisted living facilities not only to connect with their world, video chat with their loved ones, but also to get easy access to the government services and benefits to which they may be entitled. 

With programs in 14 states and in hundreds of facilities, Connected Living is off to a good start, says Hoit. She believes, for seniors, the cost of not being connected is simply too great.

You may also like: Technology helps patients live independently.

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