Amazon and eBay: Why Not Shop at Home? By: Claire Bradley

AP_04_08_2013_37391819_L-638x425Introduction

                  Over the course of the next 20 years, an increasing number of Baby Boomer’s will enter the age of older adulthood. While these numbers continue to grow, populations in which services and products cater to will lean toward a more specific focus on the large number of older-aged customers. Technology will continue to innervate its way into the daily lives of all age groups and allow for older populations to rely more heavily on its services and easy accessibility. Online shopping and selling sites such as Amazon and eBay, are highly used business-to-customer resources in which one can buy and sell products,  while readily delivered to one’s doorstep in a timely manner. Not only do these sites provide easy access to a variety of retail options for all ages, but can be easily purchased right in the comfort of one’s home. As mobility constraints may be more influential during the later years of life, it is important to understand the positive and negative effects the online world can play on day-to-day life in older adulthood.

Article One: Gell, N. M., Rosenberg, D. E., Demiris, G.,

 LaCroix, A. Z., & Patel, K. V. (2015)

Purpose of Study

                  Technology use has become more prominent among adults 65 years and older. Though mobility constraints do not effect all older adults, many who do suffer from physical disabilities can benefit positively from the accessibility of online resources (Gell, Rosenberg, Demiris, LaCroix, and Patel, 2015). The study conducted by Gell et al. (2015), evaluates technology and online use among older adults with activity limitations and impairments that interfere with basic activities of daily living (ADL’s).

                  Participants of study.  The participants enrolled in this study included 7,609 adults aging 65 and older. A portion of this population includes those who are in some way limited in their physical mobility and have difficulty completing basic ADL’s, and those whose mobility is not affected to the extent that they can not complete ADL’s (Gell et al., 2015).

                  Methods used in study. Participants were asked a series of questions related to personal technology use for certain tasks such as communication, online shopping for groceries or personal items, and refilling prescriptions. Information such as frequency of online use and form of technology was taken into account (Gell et al., 2015).

Results and Conclusions

                  Technology and online use varied by status of physical disability and mobility capacity. Results concluded that those individuals with pain difficulties in relation to mobility were more likely to use technology for personal use such as obtaining groceries, ordering personal items, or refilling prescriptions (Gell et al, 2015). It can be concluded that low mobility rates are correlated with increased online source use to fulfill basic daily tasks such as going to the store to buy necessities or visiting the pharmacy in person to pick up medications (Gell et al., 2015).

Article Two: Kaspar, R., Oswald, F., Wahl, H.,

Voss, E., & Wettstein, M. (2015)

Purpose of Study

                  Being mobile, especially in older adulthood, is necessary for successful ageing and the overall life quality. Out-of-home mobility allows for individuals to obtain necessities, visit health facilities, keep up social relations, and take part in daily community events (Kaspar, Oswald, Wahl, Voss, and Wettstein, 2015). The study conducted by Kaspar et al. (2015), is intended to relate daily mood to day-to-day out-of-home mobility in individuals with present and non-present cognitive impairments.

                  Participants of study. The 141 people enrolled in this study comprise of 30 persons with mild cognitive impairments, 16 persons with early stage Alzheimer’s disease, and 95 cognitively healthy individuals. Participants ranged from 50 to 85 years of age (Kaspar et al., 2015).

                  Methods used in study. Kapsar el al. (2015) utilized a multi-method approach to correlate out-of-house mobility to overall daily mood. Those enrolled in the study received a GPS tracking kit from monitoring when the participant leaves home. Over the course of four weeks, individuals were observed for when they left the home, the time spent out-of-home each day, and types of activities they engaged in. each participant was asked to keep a personal journal to document various instances of mobility during the day and the purpose of each outing. A mood assessment was distributed daily in order to measure day-by-day emotions and well-being (Kaspar et al., 2015).

Results and Conclusions

                  From this stud, it was concluded that well-being characteristics were directly correlated with the amount of out-of-house outings of an individual.  For the Alzheimer’s and mild cognitive impairment participants, having out-of-house mobile outings displayed positive changes in their behaviors and well being (Kaspar et al., 2015). In corporation with online resources such as Amazon and eBay, this study would suggest that participating in out-of-house mobile experiences daily can increase mood and daily well being. Therefore, having the resource of ordering necessities online through a shopping site, could encourage some adults to stay at home to shop, instead of venturing outdoors to obtains groceries or personal necessities. Staying home and allowing these tangible items to be shipped to one’s doorstep, diminished their daily physical movement and social interactions (Kaspar et al., 2015).

Services in Respect to Older Adults

                  Technology has its ups and down. Having access to online resources and products opens a new and unique door to humans. People have more options than ever before and are able to cut out the aspect of time from the equation by having online orders shipped right to their door. For older adults, this can be remarkably convenient and more comfortable than taking the time and energy to visit a store outside of the home. Especially for individuals that may experience a mobility limitation, having this option could be overall lifesaving (Gell et al., 2015). Online shopping sites, such as Amazon, are beginning to market to older adults, as this cohort continues to increase. Amazon has the opportunity for senior citizens to purchase the Amazon Prime Membership for 50 percent of its regular value. As well, Amazon and eBay cater their shopping menu’s to fit certain items desired by older adults ranging from nutritional products, entertainment and brain boosting games, to blood pressure monitors. EBay, another online shopping and selling site, provides a similar opportunity to buy or sell items in an auctioned manner (Perez, 2013). Again, both of these business-to-customer online sites, allow for customers to buy products at the click of a button. When analyzing the benefits of these products, its important to recognize the downsides these online sources could have on an individuals mental and physical health. As Kasper et al. (2015) discusses, daily out-of-house activity can improve one’s overall well-being. This can include going to the store for groceries or other human necessities, or participating in community events outside of the home. By utilizing online shopping sites such as Amazon or eBay, customers—including older adults—may limit their daily mobility levels because they instead, can order these items and have them shipped to their doorway. This can have a detrimental effect on their long term mental, physical, and social health.

Improvements

                  Based on certain age-related changes in older adulthood, some functions of online shopping sites such as Amazon and eBay, may not be optimal for this particular population. Amazon has a feature in which an individual can set up scheduled deliveries of certain products on a date-time bases. The feature ships the ordered products on a week-by-week, month-by-month, or year-by-year basis without the customers having to submit an order each time. Depending on the health of an individual’s memory and cognitive abilities, older adults are at higher risk to forgetting they had previously completed a task (Cavanaugh, 2015). If an older adult were to set up scheduled delivery on Amazon, and sometime in the future forgot they had done this, this individual will be billed the amount they ordered. To alleviate possible financial damages from this feature for older adults, both Amazon and eBay, could send more regular updates, whether this be phone calls or emails, to the older individual in order to keep them updated on their pre-orders.

Conclusion

                  The number of older adults in the world will continue to increase over the next years as the Baby Boomer cohort nears older age. Different products and technologies will need to cater to this large generation of potential customers. It is important to remember that though some products may be easily accessibly and feasible for younger aged individuals, there are potential limitations for older adults depending on their cognitive and health abilities. Though certain age-related changes can hinder adults for enjoying products that younger adults enjoy, age should never be a restriction to trying something new.

References

Cavanaugh, J. C., & Blanchard-Fields, F. (2015). Adult development and aging (7th ed.).

Australia: Cengage Learning.

Gell, N. M., Rosenberg, D. E., Demiris, G., LaCroix, A. Z., & Patel, K. V. (2015). Patterns of technology use among older adults with and without disabilities. The Gerontologist, 55, 412-421. doi:10.1093/geront/gnt166

Kaspar, R., Oswald, F., Wahl, H., Voss, E., & Wettstein, M. (2015). Daily mood and out-of-home mobility in older adults: Does cognitive impairment matter?. Journal Of Applied   Gerontology, 34, 26-47. doi:10.1177/0733464812466290

Perez, S. (2013). Amazon goes after older adults & seniors with new store. Retrieved from

https://techcrunch.com/2013/04/15/amazon-goes-after-older-adults-seniors-with-new-store/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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