The ability of older adults to use a domestic appliance depends on their comprehension of the appliance’s operation. This may depend on transfer of understanding from similar, more familiar technology. While this may assist their interaction with the new device, it may constrain the discovery of new functionality not represented in the familiar technology, and, thereby, constrain the discovery of advanced functionality. Older adults experience declining cognitive abilities associated with attention, perceptual encoding, and memory (cueing and recall). Designing appliances to extend cognitive abilities provides opportunity to prolong functional independence. Concepts from cognitive psychology, human factors, and gerontology are reviewed to explain age-related behavior towards technology to support innovative product development of technologies for older adults.