Have you heard of ‘Geriatric Technophobia’? It’s exactly what it sounds like — it’s the fear seniors have of technology. And no, we’re not talking about the fear of robots taking over the world. We’re talking about a fear of all the technology that many of us take for granted. That means computers, smartphones, and basically any other kind of technology you can imagine that has been invented in the last 20-ish years.
Chances are, you know someone in your life who is like this. They refuse to own a computer because they have never had one before and they don’t have a cell phone because if someone wants to get a hold of them, they can just call the landline at home.
Maybe that person is you! To an extent, of course. Because chances are, if you’re reading this article, you at least have a computer…
Whether you’re unsure about technology or you’re trying to convince grandma, we’re not here to judge. But we are here to show you why seniors shouldn’t be afraid!
1. Continued independence in the home
You should have seen this one coming from us here at InHome. The biggest reason seniors shouldn’t be afraid of technology is that it can enable them to stay independent.
Falling is the greatest threat to independence. Unfortunately, a good pair of sneakers won’t necessarily keep you from a fall either. Slips in the tub are extremely common, but slipping on a loose rug, falling in the kitchen, and even tripping in the hallway at night are all fairly common occurrences.
Seniors shouldn’t feel ashamed that this is a very real risk. It isn’t just seniors who can find themselves in trouble due to one of the reasons listed above.
Technology can help ensure you get the help you need, whether you fall in the bathroom or experience a medical emergency in bed. When a senior makes friends with one of the medical alert systems on our list, they can remain independent in their home for as long as possible.
2. It can keep seniors connected to friends and family
It isn’t just the dangers you can see in the house that can forever change a senior’s life. Loneliness is reaching epidemic proportions, and one of the hardest hit populations is the elderly.
Don’t think it’s a big deal? These facts will make you change your mind:
- Over a quarter of people aged 65 and older live alone
- Perceived loneliness can contribute to dementia
- Loneliness is a major risk factor for depression
- Isolation can increase the risk of mortality
Technology can’t replace face-to-face time with an actual person in real life, but it sure can help, especially for seniors who have friends and family members scattered across the country. A text from an old friend or a video chat with a grandchild can stave off loneliness so seniors can spend their golden years happier and healthier.
3. It can make life easier
The older we get, the more we aren’t able to get around like we used to. Technology to the rescue!
There are some pretty amazing technological innovations that seniors probably don’t know about that could make their life a lot easier and more convenient.
Remember The Clapper? It has always been popular with seniors, but there’s no reason to clap anymore. With smart home technology today, you can turn off the lights, adjust the thermostat, and open the curtains with the sound of your voice.
That’s definitely not all. Don’t have the energy to go to the grocery store? Groceries today can be ordered online and delivered right to your door. GPS can make sure we all make it to our appointments without getting lost, and technology can even help us find missing keys and other items!
4. It can be a lot of fun!
Sometimes, all you really need is an attitude adjustment. Seniors see technology as this daunting task that really isn’t worth their time. However, if you can convince grandma that it will be a lot of fun, she’ll be more likely to pay attention!
Nearly every computer is a touchscreen now, which is a lot more fun to use than a mouse. You can create art on the computer and medical alert systems can double as a fitness tracker, which is pretty cool. Find a way to make technology fun and it will be a lot less intimidating!
Within the next few decades, as some of the younger whipper-snappers who grew up with technology get older, geriatric technophobia won’t be a thing. We just have to help ourselves and our loved ones to see the light in the meantime.
That is, until robots take over the world. Then we’ll wonder why we didn’t listen to grandma all those years ago.