In a world of rapidly developing communication technology, it is important to consider how individuals access and use this technology across their lifespan, and how these needs may change as they age. Understanding how diverse populations throughout Erie County receive information can then help tailor outreach and access efforts that best fits the needs of the community.
Methods of Accessing Information and Communication
Methods of Communication
Older adults age 50 - 64 often use mobile and internet-based methods for communication, while older cohorts (65 and over) frequently use more analog methods for communication.
Frequency Accessing the Internet
A majority of residents used the internet daily and most of the residents across different age cohorts used email often for methods of communication, indicating email could be a good method to reach out to a majority of older adults.
Awareness of Community Resources
Knowledge of Local Resources
Survey results indicated widespread lack of knowledge about and low rates of utilization of community-aging resources in Erie County, including 211, Erie County Senior Services, and New York Connects. While lack in knowledge about some community resources (211, NYConnects, ECSS), older adults use diverse methods and forms of technology to access local information and communicate with others in the community.
Residents identified a number of specific and consistent resources, including local media (e.g., TV, radio, and newspaper), internet and social media, and family and friends, for information across the domains.
Challenges Accessing Information
When asked to describe their satisfaction with the information they had about aging-related information and local resources across the ten domains, residents indicated a strong level of agreement concerning civic participation, health and wellness, local destinations, and social, educational, and self-improvement activities.
Despite an overall reported satisfaction with livability domain-related information, a number of older adults in Erie County described challenges obtaining local information.
Survey respondents most frequently pointed to issues with customer services, automated websites, and website navigation. While information and referral assistance is available from a number of local groups and organizations, additional efforts are needed to further address these issues.
"Sometimes the recordings are too fast and also too many options while listening to recordings for prompts. You never get to speak with a human being. You are constantly put on hold; redirected to another source and then told they can't help you."
- Resident Survey