Seniors Are Cool With Tech: Your NEMT Operations Should Be Too

By January 21, 2020

Adopting new technologies—whether it’s a new streaming media device, a cool watch, a tablet, or smartphone—can sometimes be frustrating, no matter how tech savvy you are.

For years, that frustration meant many seniors just weren’t interested in logging in and onto whichever new device friends and family showed them.

But that’s no longer true.

Did you know that at least 70% of all seniors are now online? That means if you’re not using technology to connect with all of your riders—including seniors—you’re missing out.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits of adopting non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) software for your agency and what that means for riders, especially seniors, who want to connect with you.

More connections than ever before

More Americans than ever are now connected to the internet. According to Pew Research, today, as many as 96% of Americans own a cellphone. About 75% of American adults own a laptop or desktop computer and at least 50% of adults have a tablet or similar device, like an e-reader.

For seniors ages 65 and older, 91 percent own a cellphone, with more than half of them having a smartphone in hand. Another report says that this year more than 100 million smartphone users will be 45 or older.

More than 80% of Americans say they go online every day and about 26% of those 50 and older say they’re online “almost constantly.” 

What you may find even more surprising is that while Millennials and Generation Xers dominate social media usage, almost 60% of Baby Boomers (ages 55-73) use social media, too.

That means if you’re not using technology—either web-based or application-enabled—to connect with your rider base, you may be missing out.

How seniors use technology

Seniors aren’t just using smartphones to make calls to their children and grandchildren. Here are some other ways seniors are increasing their online connections:

  • According to AARP, seniors are increasingly using technology to enhance their lives. For example, smartphone users 50 and older, regularly use their phones to check email, send and receive text messages and instant messages, get news, play games, make purchases, and get directions and traffic information—a perfect fit for NEMT.
  • The AARP report also indicates that people in their 60s are increasingly using smartphones to help manage their medical care, which means it would be a seamless integration to include NEMT services in those health-related activities.
  • Don’t forget the value of voice search. For many seniors who were previously hindered by visibility and mobility issues, voice interactions are drastically changing the way seniors interact with technology. From voice search on the internet, to engaging with devices like Amazon Alexa, more seniors are using technology to connect with the services they need.

Don’t miss your mark(et)

While the number is expected to steadily drop in the coming years, seniors, particularly Baby Boomers, have long made up the largest single U.S. age group. By not marketing your NEMT services to seniors—and not seeking unique ways to connect with them—you’re potentially missing the market, and a huge share of your potential market.

How NEMT software can help you connect with riders—including seniors

  • Rider Portal
    • NEMT software with rider management integrations can help you connect with your market not just by calling on the phone, but also on the web via computers, laptops, tablets, and even smartphones. TripMaster’s Rider Portal, for example, enables riders to schedule rides from their devices. For those who live in nursing homes and assisted living facilities or are in the hospital or a group home, their designated rider delegates can also use these devices to schedule rides for them, conveniently, any time, day or night.
  • Ride Reminders
    • It can be challenging for a lot of people to remember appointment schedules and times. That can be particularly true for seniors. NEMT software with ride reminders can help make sure your passengers never miss a trip. Automated reminders can be sent to passengers the day before their trip and also the same day of a trip, with customizable notifications. Text messages and automated voice call reminders with interactive voice response gives helps ensure your riders remember they have an upcoming appointment and when they expect your NEMT service to arrive for pick up. And if your passenger has more than one stop scheduled for a trip—like going to the grocery or pharmacy—they can get reminders about that, too.
  • Decreased Delays
    • Transportation delays are frustrating. NEMT software can help you better manage your fleet so you have near real-time insight into where your drivers are at any given time. That means, if there is an unforeseen delay, you can either dispatch a different driver to get to your passenger on time, or you can instantly communicate with your passenger to update them of any changes in arrival time or planned routes. 

Before we go, here are a few other stats that might change your perception of seniors, how they use technology, and why you should integrate NEMT software into your operations:

  • 61% percent of seniors 53-63 say they check notifications on their phones at least once an hour, sometimes as often as three times an hour.
  • 64% of  seniors say they wish more businesses would use text messages as a way to communicate with them and 85% have already received text messages from businesses.
  • Adults 50-69 are using text messages more frequently than email to keep connected to others
  • 77% of seniors use their smartphone to get directions and traffic information

So what are you waiting for? There has never been a better time to integrate NEMT software into your daily operations. Your market, including seniors, are ready to connect with you.

Ready to see how TripMaster can help? Contact us today or schedule a demo to see TripMaster software in action.