Whether you are 65 or 95, you know that technology has changed in drastic ways over your lifetime, and perhaps it has changed the most within the past 10 to 15 years. Instead of simply calling your daughter on the phone, you use video chat to see her and your grandkids. You used to put letters and cards in the mail, but now you can shoot off a quick text to a friend.
If you feel like you’re falling behind when it comes to tech, know that there are several options that are easy to use for those who do not have much experience with technology. Below are several options for utilizing technology to communicate with loved ones, brought to you by ReverCare.
1. Upgrade to a Smartphone
Some seniors love technology and happily purchase the new version of their smartphone when they are eligible for an upgrade. Others, justlike many younger adults, prefer using a flip phone or not having a cell phone at all. If you’re holding off because you’re intimidated by the technology or you don’t want to be burdened by having a phone on you at all times, remember that you can turn it off whenever you don’t want to use it, and as EdgewoodHealthcare points out, smartphones are loaded with benefits.
Smart phones can additionally be used for more than communication: You will have at your fingertips a surplus of information and apps that enhance communication with your favorite people. There are even apps to help you with daily conundrums, like finding your car in a crowded parking lot or remembering to take your medication. And seniors can upgrade their phones affordably, thanks to providers that offer trade-in options and low monthly payment plans. Sort out what’s available and look for desirable features, like a large, easy-to-read screen and a simple interface, to find a device that you’ll be comfortable using.
2. Get Your Hands on a Tablet
Perhaps your granddaughter has shown you a video chat app like Skype or Portal on her iPad, but you are hesitant to try it for yourself. While it may seem like there’s a steep learning curve when it comes to using smartphones and tablets,As MedicalAlert notes, some are actually designed to be user-friendly for everybody.
Tablets are great for people with vision problems because of the large size of the apps. Additionally, those who struggle to hold phones or devices for long periods of time due to arthritis or other chronic pain could use a stand for their tablet.
Remember, even those who have never used tech before can learn to call or video chat on a smartphone or tablet. If you can memorize a series of buttons or apps to press, you can definitely video chat with your family and friends! Even if this is all you utilize your tablet for, the connection you gain when you stay in touch with others is worth the cost.
3. Get Started with Video Games
Believe itor not, but seniors are flocking to the world of video games by large numbers these days. In fact, over the past three years, approximately 10 million people over the age of 50 became gamers — and that number is expected to grow. So, if you’ve always wanted to play video games, or you used to play games in arcades but stopped years ago, now’s the time to jump in. And if you decide to play online games, you can use that time to stay in touch with friends, family, and loved ones! Keep in mind that if you decide to play games online, you’ll need an internet connection with all the bells and whistles so that you don’t experience any lags or connectivity issues while you’re attempting toenjoy yourself.
4. Check Out the GrandPad
The name of this device will probably bring a smile to your face. WMMR explains that it’s a tablet designed specifically for seniors who want to stay in touch with their families, but it can be used for those who describe themselves as “tech-phobic”. On the home screen, you can simply choose from large, brightly colored buttons that prompt you to call, email, or check the weather. You can keep a number of photos on this device, too, which is a perfect solution for someone who loves showing others pictures of his or her family but does not like transporting physical copies of photos.
5. Add Texting to Your Life
You may text as much as a teenager, or you might not like the idea of sitting around with your gaze glued to your phone. Though texting may seem like a waste of time — why not call? — it can provide a lifeline for seniors who have family members with busy schedules. It can also help bridge the tech gap between the older generation and relatives of Generation Z, who are known for texting more than calling and using technology to communicate as much as they speak face to face.
If you’re concerned that texting will be difficult to learn, don’t worry! If you can type on a keyboard, you can text. There will be a bit of a learning curve, but you will likely find it a worthy pursuit if it keeps you in touch with your younger relatives.
Seniors shouldn’t feel left out when it comes to communicating with the latest technology. Take advantage of your family’s help, visit your community center or library, or sign up for classes held at your assisted living facility. If you get frustrated, keep searching; there's a device for you. Technology can make your life fuller and more interesting when you use it to stay in touch with those you love.
About the Author
Mary Shannon created SeniorsMeet, along with her husband, Bob, to have a website that allows seniors to “meet up” and talk about topics that are relevant to their daily lives. They hope to build SeniorsMeet into a supportive community of like-minded seniors