It might actually be laziness, which a lot of people have when they get older. It's something else to learn and they don't really want to do so. The number of older people I hear in a shop who say things like " Oh, we don't do modern technology, " and I think, why not. If you don't embrace modern technology, you get left behind.
They complain that retail and society alienates them by the use of technology, but really, they are alienating themselves. Companies have to embrace technology because if they don't, they will get left behind, as the likes of BHS and Borders found when they failed to embrace online shopping and ordering. Shops and companies can't lag behind just because a certain percentage of its customer base can't keep up with the times. It's called progress, and if it wasn't for progress, we would still be stuck in the Dark Ages rubbing sticks together to make heat.
I also think that they reckon it's too hard to learn, but it isn't actually that hard. Gadgets generally aren't, they only seem hard. Once you have a few turns with them, and also get people to show you, you then pick it up. These days, there are numerous places you can go to learn more: libraries, digital Eagles at the bank, appointments at the Apple Store for tutelage. But what do the older generation do? Do they embrace it and learn something new? No, they sit there moaning. And it's not as if they haven't learnt about new technology before. At some stage in their lives they would have had to tune in the TV, or use the video for the first time, or go from a dial phone to a kaypad, so it's not as if new technology is entirely alien to them.
It isn't really in a manufacturer's best interest to make technology hard to use. I was once told by a customer where I worked, that " if a customer's got grey hair, then don't offer to order it online. " And I thought " why should that be, I don't judge the ability of people to know something. "
I have an aunty in rural Northern Ireland, who is 90 years old, and knows computers, laptops, iPads, iPhones, Facebook, What's App and all sorts of other things. She is of very advanced age, and lives in the middle of nowhere, rather than near big cities with everything she needs in them. If she can know a lot about modern technology, then so can anyone if they put their mind to it.