Technology adoption is often considered a young person’s game. Many assume older folks don’t utilize smartphones, internet and “virtual assistant” platforms. However, this generalization isn’t exactly accurate.
It’s true that some of today’s seniors never adapted to computers as middle-aged adults. But now, some of those same people are showing a new-found interest in technology.
The latest devices and mobile applications are quite user-friendly, helping to drive senior utilization.
Here are 4 common questions families and caregivers have regarding technology and its role for aging loved-ones:
1. Can “Mom” learn how to use a smartphone?
YES! There are well-known cellular companies that market specifically to seniors, but those platforms are usually limited to call and text functions. Instead, families and caregivers should give their loved ones the benefit of the doubt and not assume they’re incapable of using an Android or Apple smartphone.
Many of the best communication, entertainment and wellness tools are only available via smartphone apps. So, seniors who don’t embrace the technology are missing out. From video calls with the grandchildren to passive vital sign monitoring for improved health, there’s really no good reason to avoid adopting the technology.
2. How can technology improve our communication?
One of the best ways to encourage seniors to try newer technologies is by focusing on the communication opportunities. “Mom” may be unfamiliar with video chat. But why not pique her curiosity with a group call to the grandchildren?
People can be set in their ways and are afraid of change, but certain techniques help open their minds to new ideas. Many seniors need to see—with their own eyes—the ways that smartphones and other technology connect them to family members and the rest of the world. Eventually, excitement overcomes initial fear!
3. Do user-friendly tablets really engage seniors at their level?
An objective analysis of tablets suggests they are, in fact, the perfect tool for seniors living alone. First, their big touchscreens are very user-friendly for folks with vision and cognitive limitations. No longer must an aging adult struggle to press small, analog buttons.
Second, tablets are highly functional. They can be used for video chats, email, web-browsing and general entertainment. Tablets are also adaptable to small spaces and can be connected to earbuds and wireless headsets via Bluetooth.
4. Is it time to get “Dad” a virtual assistant?
Perhaps. While many younger people appreciate the convenience afforded by Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant, these technologies actually serve a greater benefit to seniors and those suffering health ailments. For example, folks with mobility challenges find voice activation technology highly useful in day-to-day activities.
What about social media and older adults?
It may be unrealistic to expect “Grandma” to jump onto Instagram. But platforms like Facebook are very relatable to seniors, and many older adults are creating online profiles. People of all ages can enjoy viewing photos and sharing status updates. In fact, people who face isolation due to age or health problems benefit even more from having an online window into the outside world!
It’s easy for families and caregivers to assume aging loved-ones won’t embrace new technologies. However, people should try to avoid jumping to conclusions. While some older folks initially reject smartphones, tablets and web browsing, many learn to appreciate their utility. Ultimately, these tools can connect aging loved-ones with the outside world and family members!
If you’re seeking in-home care solutions for an aging family member or friend, be sure to talk to Bakersfield’s best caregiver agency today!