Many seniors struggle with the idea of new technology — let alone trying to learn it.

A recent study found that seniors tend to only try to use technology if they feel it adds value to their life.

Whether that’s because they feel that certain technologies are too difficult to learn, or they are worried that it is unsafe, if it doesn’t seem like it would add value to their lives, they tend to steer clear.

 

If you’re trying to convince a loved one (or yourself) that technology should be embraced, even as we age, consider the following benefits:

 

Technology promotes connection with loved ones.

Seniors can feel less alone or isolated when they have access to social media, games and online groups

It encourages participating in their favorite hobbies

Using new technology to learn new games can challenge the brain.

 

Some of the simplest ways you can help the elderly use technology

Addressing any safety concerns and teaching them how to use it safely

Helping them thoroughly understand how to use their devices

Show seniors how to use technology in a way that enhances their life

Provide them with free resources to learn more about the technology they’re using

Adaptive devices to meet the needs of the senior

 

Technology Tips

Find a Patient Teacher

One of the best things you can do is find a patient teacher who is willing to go over things as many times as necessary.

Consider asking a relative, like a grandchild, or even a neighbor. If you’re not comfortable asking someone close to you, consider visiting your nearest community college — they may provide free, or low-cost, classes to help seniors learn the basics about certain devices.

 

Make the Text Larger

Thankfully, most devices have accessibility features that make the text larger, clearer, and easier to read.

If you are a senior trying to navigate how to increase the text size, consider asking a loved one, or contacting the company that makes the device for guidance.

If you have a device that has voice assistance, like Siri on Apple products, you may even be able to say something like “Take me to my settings to change my text size.”

 

 ‘Google It’

Thankfully, there are dozens of instructional videos and tutorials available online. Google is a great tool to get almost any information you could need — even when trying to improve your technology skills.

 

Accessible Devices

Technology can provide seniors with a way to continue doing the things they love, like reading books without having to worry about flipping pages or lifting heavy books.

Or, if a senior is hard of hearing, consider purchasing a captioned telephone. This way, seniors can communicate with their loved ones via phone without the frustration of being unable to hear.

 

Ensure Safety

One of the biggest technology tips for seniors to follow involves protecting passwords and personal information

Shake up passwords and mix numbers, symbols and upper or lowercase letters.

Never provide password, credit card numbers, bank account information, or any other personal information when asked in an email or website you’re unfamiliar with.

Always take care to know exactly where any requests for personal information are coming from.

Loved ones can also help seniors set up their voicemail so that if any numbers are unrecognizable, they can send the call to voicemail.

 

Avoid Scams

If something is too good to be true, it likely is.

Don’t remember entering a contest? Don’t respond to phone calls, emails, or text messages about special offers or prizes.

Never provide personal information to someone you don’t know. If you’re unsure if you are being scammed, reach out to a loved one, the company from which the scammer is claiming to be, and ignore the scammer.

 

Keep Anti-Virus Software Updated

Ensure that you are keeping any anti-virus software on your devices updated. Some of these services are free, while others require a subscription — if your service is not free, are you up to date on your payment? This may be vital to keep your devices safe and your subscription active.

 

Social Media

While it’s a fantastic way to connect with family and friends, it can also make it easier for scammers to gain access to personal information.

Seniors must know what not to post on their accounts. Avoid posting vacation dates, phone numbers, addresses, pictures of their property, etc.

Remember to never respond to messages from unknown people, even if they claim it’s an emergency. While it may feel like you must react, remain calm, and remember, real emergencies will never be addressed or brought to you via social media.

 

 Try E-Readers

If you’re someone who loves to read but doesn’t have the space, or the money, to continue buying books, consider using an e-reader.

Many e-readers offer free, or low-cost, books — which make them a great option for those who don’t take more than a few days to get through a good story.

 

Try Photo-Sharing Apps

These photo-sharing apps come on all sorts of devices, even frames that friends and family can send photos to regularly.

 

Try Smart Devices

Seniors living alone may grow fond of Ring doorbells — doorbells that connect directly to your internet to send you alerts and communication when someone passes your door. Wearable fitness devices can be a great tool to monitor your health, even as a senior. Many smart devices can monitor your heart rate, how you’re sleeping, your pulse, and more — making it easier for seniors to stay on top of their health.

 

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