Seniors have a reputation for not being very technologically friendly. This is true to some extent, mostly because technology changes so fast. After all, they’re releasing new phones and updates all the time! Don’t let all the changes scare your senior loved ones away from technology, and don’t let it scare you away from teaching them how to use technology either.
Loneliness is a real problem for seniors. Not only are seniors feeling lonelier than ever, those that feel disconnected increase their risk of death by 45 percent. Technology can help. Here are a few ways you can use technology to keep in touch with your senior friends and family.
There’s no doubt that the easiest way to keep tabs on your loved ones is by picking up the phone. Not only can you call and check in, texting makes saying hi easier than ever. You just have to help your friend or family member find a cell phone that isn’t overwhelming.
Don’t overwhelm grandpa with the latest iPhone. The key is to search for low-tech cell phone options. Many senior cell phone plans are cheaper than standard plans as well. Just check out these low-tech phones that are perfect for seniors.
Computer with internet access
Computers have been around for a while, and they haven’t seen quite as many changes as cell phones have in the last decade. Many seniors may have even used a computer at work so they’re already used to the concept.
Spend an afternoon teaching your senior loved one how to use the computer to get on the internet and check their email. This way, you can write letters back and forth. It’s also a great way to share family photos.
If email is old news for grandma and you think she can handle a bigger technological challenge, show her how to have a video chat with a webcam. This is a great way to stay close when you live out of town or out of the state.
Video games may not come to mind when you first think about grandma, but there are many benefits associated with seniors playing games. And, surprisingly, a whopping 26 percent of people over the age of 50 play video games regularly. There’s a real opportunity to stay connected with a senior friend or family member if they can handle this technological challenge.
Many video games are played online today, which means you get the opportunity to play with real people from all around the world. Why not purchase a game the two of you can play together? Put on your headsets and spend an evening playing a game, even if you can’t be in the same room!
Medical alert system
Video games may be a little too overwhelming for the average senior, but some seniors are stressed by the idea of using other technology too, even if it’s just a basic cell phone. You don’t have to throw your hands up in the air in defeat just yet. A medical alert system might be the perfect way for you to keep tabs on your loved one.
You won’t be able to communicate with them directly using a medical alert system, but many devices can track health information that friends and family members can view online. For example, GreatCall offers an app that can update you on your loved one’s activities throughout the day. If you notice a long stretch of time when your friend hasn’t been active, you can drop in to make sure they’re okay.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter how you stay in touch as long as you do. Take the time to teach your senior friend or family member how to use their new piece of technology and they may just surprise you with their newly learned expertise. If nothing else, they’ll be grateful that you’re going above and beyond to make sure they’re safe and happy.