Technology is abundant in the lives of most people these days, but older adults historically have not embraced it with the same fervor as younger generations. Today’s seniors are most likely to adopt technologies that provide some benefit to their lives instead of just technology for technology’s sake.
If you’ve tried to help a loved one use technology, you may have been met with resistance for a number of reasons:
- They don’t see a need or any benefit in using a certain technology.
- They’re not confident they’ll be able to use it.
- They worry they can’t afford it.
- They get easily frustrated.
But usage is increasing. According to a Pew Research Center study, 60% of adults over the age of 65 now use the internet and 77% have a cell phone. Of those who have a smartphone, 82% reported finding the phone a way to connect rather than distract.
Fortunately, most of today’s technology is intuitive and easy for nearly anyone to learn how to use. Many tools can be valuable for seniors and can help improve personal wellness, such as video calls to keep in touch with friends and loved ones, health tracking apps, brain fitness apps, and more.
For those looking to help an older adult get connected—or embrace more technology yourself, consider the following approaches:
- Research a range of size and price options. Tablets are less expensive and usually simpler than a desktop computer. If home internet service is not feasible, consider using computers at the local library, or using Wi-Fi in cafés and other public places.
- Look for local classes and workshops designed to help seniors with technology. While family members and friends can teach how to use new devices, sometimes being with those in similar situations and learning from a professional can have more of an impact.
- Explore how technology can actually make things easier. There are apps for everything these days, including medication reminders, health trackers, and safety notification.
- Stay safe—keep informed of scams and viruses to make your online experience a positive one.