I was discussing with my boss earlier and he mentioned that the app I am currently designing for iOS and Android will be used by elderly people. We then began to plan around the same old theory that whilst these elderly people will possess this phone they won't know how to use it. This in turn got me thinking:
a) If they are incapable of using their device then how did they set up the device, download the app and open it?
b) Supposing that the device was set up for them by a more tech savvy relative (because the guys in the shop won't download apps they think you'll like!) then they must have some basic knowledge to have been able to have found, opened and logged into the app.
c) They must have bought this device because something about it appealed to them, even if the salesperson put the idea in their head that they wanted to be able to use it, then that idea won't disappear when they leave the store so they must have looked it up, asked someone or read the manual in order to achieve whatever it is that they want to do with it.
So, what I'm asking is, do we actually have any evidence to back up the commonly held theory that while older people possess these devices they don't actually know how to use them?
I'm not saying that certain things shouldn't be taken into account for elderly users, just that I want to know if there is any actual evidence that they need things dumbing down for them.