Tech + Aging + Disability = what?

It’s hard to believe that a month has flown by already. Trying to plan three successive events is no joke. Our first phase is just about finalized though. I am so excited to finally talk with everyone involved at once tomorrow. We have the privilege of bringing together some of the most passionate and creative minds around, already working in that intersection between aging and disability and technology. Our goals are to inspire those in the tech community to harness their power even more for the greater good. Already, the Philadelphia Tech Scene is far more community-minded that its counterparts. Putting the needs of people with disabilities and older adults on their radar is going to have huge and meaningful impacts on both communities.  I feel like the panel discussion that we are having at the Free Library of Philadelphia on April 9th will lead to more expansive thinking about the possibilities and importance of accessibility-minded technology. 

I just recently read a wonderful article by Sarah Hendren about how all technology is assistive technology. This really helps me to frame the discussion about how this is a larger, more inclusive issue than most people think. A lot of able-bodied people my age (30mystery) don’t connect with issues facing older adults or people with disabilities. Even though almost 14% of people in my age group have disabilities in Pennsylvania, it is not seen as an issue that people identify with. Not to mention that AGE JUST HAPPENS. It is 100% inevitable. Somehow though, we are able to think that these are someone else’s issues. This is really just a product of our era. Think of this: 75% of Americans need some form of technology to see (i.e. glasses). Before the advent of glasses, we would all be considered  people with disabilities. Technology helped us to lead more independent lives, and now glasses are no big whoop, and we are fully integrated people. That is the power of technology. By increasing personal independence, it actually helps to keep people in the community, expanding the swath of contributors within a society.  Right now, there are physical, mental and emotional limitations, that hinder people’s independence, that will not be big deals a generation from now because there will be a tech solution. That, to me, is exciting to think about. 


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