The perception that older people are technophobes must change.That was the message from AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins during a keynote address Tuesday morning at the American Telemedicine Associations annual conference in Chicago. Jenkins said her organizations mission is to empower seniors as they age, and believes technology and telemedicine, in particular will play a vital role in that process.The way people are aging is changing, but many of our attitudes and our beliefs and stereotypes about aging are not, she said. We need to challenge those outdated stereotypes and attitudes and spark new solutions so that more people can choose how they want to live as they age.Jenkins pointed to three specific areas where telemedicine can have a big impact on that mission: loneliness, caregiving and addressing aging disparities. Loneliness has become the new smoking, shaving eight years off of an individuals life expectancy, she said, while many caregivers face unprecedented demands, with some spending more time caring for an aging parent than their own children.Our research shows that family members do 90 percent of caregiving, and nearly half of them perform tasks that were once limited to only trained nurses, Jenkins said.Technology-enabling virtual consultations and monitoring can help to improve outcomes in each of those areas, she said.

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