History of the Computer Technology

According to World Health Organisation, the elderly are people who are over 65 years of age. The American Association of Retired Persons’ (AARP) 2004 classified people as follows; young: 18-39 years, Middle aged: 40-59 years, older: 60-74 years and old-old: 75 years plus. It has been noted that the elderly in the world has increased in number in comparison to any other time in human history (Today Medical News, 2007). It is projected by the United Nations that by the year 2050 one out of five people will be more than 60 years and it has also been projected that by 2150 a third of the world’s population is projected to be over 60 years. In Europe, it is projected that there will be a demographic shift from 15.7% in 2000 where the incumbent population was over 64 to 20.7% in 2020 and 17.6% in 2010.

Figure 1: EU Internet Use by age in 2005
(Eurostat, Community survey on ICT usage in households and by individuals, 2005)

Table 1: EU Internet Use at least one per week by age in 2005
(Eurostat, Community survey on ICT usage in households and by individuals, 2005)

Age Group

16-24 years

25-34 years

35-44 years

45-54 years

45-54 years

55-64 years

Weekly Internet access







The following are age associated functional limitations; decline in vision, loss in hearing, the motor skill of the individual is diminished and the cognition effects are also greatly reduced (AARP, 2005). The vision problems entail; lack of the ability to focus on tasks in close proximity, loss in color perception and sensitivity, shrinkage in pupil thus the requirement for more light and reduced visual field (Hamburg et al, 2005). This has left software and hardware companies developing devices that cater to the elderly and the disabled since they suffer from functional limitations based on their conditions.

Among the technological resources used to facilitate the utilization of computers and virtual applications by the elderly and the disabled are; screen enlargers and tactile surfaces for impaired eye sight population, telephone communicator for those with difficulty in hearing, Braille displayer, virtual keyboard, mouse which is infra-red or turbo controlled for the physically disabled and the eye access ocular monitoring hardware. Among the software made use of are; Blindows, Blinux, webformator and the Home Page Reader, HPR (Henry, 2006).