How Seniors Can Use Technology To Stay Connected
By Mary Shannon, seniorsmeet.org
Social isolation can lead to withdrawal and declines in mental and physical health for older adults. However, being alone is not an automatic precursor to isolation. Advances in communication technology can help you to stay connected and engaged with friends and family across looming distances.
60 is the New 50 is all about encouraging seniors to live their best lives, every day. Keep reading for a look at some of the best senior-friendly tech to keep you in touch with loved ones.
Take Advantage of Free Video Conferencing Software
You can take advantage of modern video conferencing platforms to stay connected beyond your voice. They are also an excellent way for homebound seniors to participate in community activities and classes. It doesn’t matter if you never even imagined yourself attending a Zoom meeting; simple processes and apps make it simple to connect. You also aren’t limited to Zoom. Webex, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams are just a few of the widely available free conferencing programs.
If you prefer an even more straightforward setup, several video conferencing devices fit the bill. Options like the GrandPad and ViewClix Smart Frame offer all-in-one simplicity without the need for extra bells and whistles. Others are integrated into smart home devices like the Amazon Echo or Google’s Nest Hub Max.
Upgrade Your Current Phone for a Tech Boost
Senior-friendly phones are great inventions if all you want to do is make phone calls to a limited number of people. However, when you want access to more features, it may be time to look beyond that flip phone. Smartphones top the list of best phones for seniors these days. They come in a range of styles and operating systems, so you are bound to find one that meets your needs. Plus, there are providers who offer low-cost monthly payment options, allowing seniors to upgrade affordably.
Look for Intuitive Features
Many of the myriad options and features available on today’s phones and tablets are intuitive and easy to master. Plus, many manufacturers are integrating accessibility features into their basic designs. A few you will want to look out for include larger screens, bigger buttons, and streamlined menus. Hearing aid compatibility is an attractive addition that allows you to answer calls without even picking up the phone.
Many seniors prefer Apple’s intuitive iOS to other systems. However, you shouldn’t discount others, especially options like Samsung’s Easy Mode that drastically simplifies the user experience. If you are a bit more tech-savvy, MakeUseOf notes you might top for third-party Android launchers that allow you to customize any home screen into one you love.
Embrace Social Media To Stay Connected
Social media may get a lot of bad press, but seniors can use its various features to stay connected to friends and family. Some platforms, such as Facebook, are geared more toward adults. They offer an excellent opportunity to reach out and reconnect with friends from days gone by. Take the time to learn a few strategies for finding old friends on the platform before you dive in to keep frustration levels in check.
Facebook may boast the largest user base, but Chartwell Retirement Services points out that it is not the only social media platform out there. Sites like Pinterest encourage creativity, and Instagram is an opportunity to store photos. Others, such as TikTok and Snapchat, tend to cater to a younger generation. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t master them. On the contrary, setting up a TikTok account can bridge a gap between you and younger relatives, letting you into a whole new part of their worlds.
While technology has come a long way in the lifetimes of today’s seniors, it hasn’t outgrown them. Instead, video conferencing, smartphones, and social media have emerged as excellent tools to keep seniors connected to family even when they can’t physically be together. Additionally, a plethora of accessibility features means that seniors can overcome past barriers to communication.