You've probably noticed that many people are "plugged in" to their IPods, cellular phones, or other communication and entertainment devices. You've probaly also noticed that these people are generally younger; seniors seem more likely to have hearing aids in their ears than ear bud speakers.
Now a company called LinkedSenior has come along to get us all connected. I've never seen the devices, but apparently the idea is to provide Linked Senior Players to residents of senior residences, where they can then connect to a central kiosk to download music, audio books, talk shows, cooking lessons, and/or anything else we might want to listen to. Here is the basic product information:
"The player: The Linked Senior Player is simple and straightforward to operate; it has five large tactile pushbuttons and provides excellent sound quality.
"The station: The Linked Senior Kiosk is designed with ease-of-use for older adults in mind. Its operating system and its peripheral equipment have been carefully tailored to meet the needs of older adults.
"The content: The current selection contains about 63,000 audio pieces and is continuously updated with audio books, talk shows, radio shows, music, audio emails, news, cooking lessons, games and more. "
The mission of Linked Senior is as follows:
"Linked Senior was founded with the goal of creating a world in which the life in senior communities is enhanced through better access to entertainment. This new service revolutionizes how the 60+ spend their time and helps facilities provide quality activities to their residents. By opening up their everyday settings to the world and fostering social communities, Linked Senior provides seniors a mean to stay active and connected."
I'm sure that the developers of these devices are serious about offering entertainment for seniors (as well as serious about making money), but I have my doubts about the success of this project. Perhaps the idea of special services for seniors still distresses me a bit, a carry-over from the time I refused to consider myself old. I'm sure the developers are younger people. Are they right in seeing a need for such a service?
I have my doubts. Speaking only for myself, I can say that I have no desire to shut out the world to listen to "canned" music or whatever, at least as long as I can listen to recordings and read real books. I'm reminded of those science fiction ear radio devices designed to keep the population from thinking. See Vonnegut's "Harrison Bergeron" and Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. We already have high definition TV, AM/FM radio, CD and DVD players, and 24-hour programming everywhere, not to mention films in theaters and on rentable DVD's.
I may be old-fashioned, but I can keep very busy reading, writing, thinking, and even watching TV. Perhaps the Baby Boomer generation has grown up in a world of personal electronic devices and will be ready to embrace the Linked Senior system when their time comes, but for those of us who grew up in a different era, I don't see the value of such a system. (And won't those Boomers have their own computers and listening devices to bring with them into retirement?)
What do you think?
For more information, go to http://www.linkedsenior.com/.
For a press release, go to http://www.prlog.org/10277516-entertainment-for-senior-communities-retirement-communities.html