Statistics show seniors are increasingly embracing technology. There is a divide in use between younger and older adults, but as the 55+ crowd observes other people utilizing tech in their daily lives, more are trying it and seeing its benefits. They’re experiencing an increased connection with loved ones, learning opportunities, and lifestyle enhancement which encourages them to pull through learning curves. Of course, all technology is not created equal and some devices and apps may be more beneficial for an older crowd than others. Read on for six examples of both apps and technology for seniors to explore!
Technology Seniors Will Want to Embrace
When it comes to technology, seniors gravitate more toward certain areas than others. A 2017 Pew Research Center study of more than 3,000 adults over 65 found that four in 10 seniors own smartphones – more than double from 2013. Half have broadband in their homes – and Internet use among older people has risen greatly, with 67 percent of seniors frequenting the web! Older-adult use of tablets has doubled in comparison to five years prior. E-reader and social media use are lower, with a third of seniors partaking, but those who do use social media are really dedicated, with 70 percent engaging daily. These stats show seniors increasingly want to be engaged in technology.
Helpful Technology for Seniors
- A finder. There are lots of companies designing key, wallet, phone, purse, and even pet finders. These save time and reduce panic. Two popular finders include the Tile Mate and the Firstmore Key Finder. Both can be secured to items for easy locating. For those who want to attach either to their cell phone, there are phone cases that have tiny pouches in them now.
- A tablet. Apple iPads are great for browsing the internet, e-reading, and playing games. The mini versions may be easier to physically handle. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 is another widely recommended for seniors.
- Voice-interaction tech. A great example is the Echo Show. In it, voice commands are enhanced with visuals. It has hands-free voice calling, the ability to aid in home-monitoring, and works with smart home devices (which eases physical work a senior could have to do).
- Fall-Alert devices. One area many seniors become worried about, when they are alone for certain periods of time, is falling. There are a few products being made to address just that. A French company called E-Vone recently created shoes that, while worn by a person when they fall, will trigger an alarm.
- A cordless vacuum. There are several out there that get great reviews. The Shark DuoClean is touted for its ability to get to hard-to-reach spots.
- A computer. While not necessarily a new technology to most, there are a lot of improvements in current computer technology than in the past. Seniors who may have not been comfortable with computers before may find that they enjoy using one now!
Tech in Senior Living
Senior Living communities have also been trying out new technology for seniors in order to benefit the health, well-being, and overall engagement of their residents and family members. State-of-the-art GPS monitoring systems and Electronic Health Record systems aid caregivers in providing consistent care. Activities departments are also utilizing technology, beyond just television, to engage their residents and provide opportunities to connect residents and family members. It’s Never 2 Late, used in Radiant Senior Living communities, boasts professional-grade computers with touchscreens. Thousands of pieces of content from games, slideshows, social features, and more are included with each iN2L system.
Apps for Older People to Explore
Apps – a.k.a. applications that can be used on mobile devices – can also be quite helpful to a senior throughout their day. There are so many fantastic ones out there that it was a challenge to just list six!
- Park ‘n’ Forget. This one is helpful for finding your car in a parking lot.
- Skype. Video chatting can be such a great way for seniors to connect with family and friends who are far away.
- EyeReader. For those who wish to magnify text they’re reading, this app acts as a magnifying glass and brightener.
- Pillboxie. This reminds people when to take medications if they lack help with that and need it.
- bSafe. This app helps with personal safety. It can track where a person is for chosen “Guardians” to see the location. It also has “fake calling” to help one out of unwanted situations.
- Wordbrain. This very popular word-puzzle app may help to keep cognition strong!
For those who wish to help out a loved one with technology, ask them if they are interested rather than buying them devices and giving them the manual. Listen to what they have to say. Offer to help them, but go at their pace and be patient with the process. Learning is different for everyone and it may take time. Also, make sure to make efforts to engage with them once they have learned! Save them from those random bouts of frustration when tech doesn’t want to cooperate through no fault of their own by sharing the joke, “technology is great… when it works!”
Keep in Mind These Barriers to Technology for Seniors
- A wariness toward learning new technology
- A lack of confidence in the ability to learn and use devices
- A need for assistance, possibly on a repeat basis, in learning and adopting technology
- Physical challenges or health issues that make it difficult to learn or use technology
- Income or educational attainment