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Helping Seniors Get The Most Out Of Technology

Technology can meet seniors where they are and augment their lives in retirement in exciting ways. Technology may open up new parts of the world for seniors, who may be limited in mobility or health. There are many ways to maintain social connections, access information, and enjoy various activities. There are ways for all ages to stay connected and engaged in the digital age.

Phones and Tablets: Start with the Basics

Most older people have a cell phone but may only keep it for emergencies (or apps!). Some seniors love their smartphones, and some just want a minimalistic phone. There are many ways to accommodate these requests; children of seniors may want to add them to the family plan and get them a basic phone.

Tablets offer various features, including calling, texting, internet browsing, video calling, and multiple apps. Choose devices with larger screens and simplified interfaces for ease of use. Many older people find they prefer to use tablets. Family members can help adjust the settings to optimize its accessibility.

Several apps are discussed in this article. You can search for them on a tablet, iPad, or your phone’s app store.

Testing the Tech Waters: Social Media Platforms

Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter enable seniors to connect with friends and family, join groups of shared interests, and stay updated on news and events. Facebook is one of the most popular apps for older folks. Some functions, however, can be hidden if you are new to Facebook. Facebook groups, however, offer a lot of different places to connect based on shared interests.

Facebook Groups for Seniors:

You can search for groups using the search function on Facebook or by following these directions here. Here are some ideas for searches:

  • Senior Hobbies and Interests Groups: Search for groups related to hobbies or interests that seniors enjoy, such as gardening, photography, cooking, or book clubs.
  • Local Senior Community Groups: Look for groups specific to your area where seniors can connect, share resources, and participate in local events and activities.
  • Health and Wellness Groups for Seniors: Find groups focused on health and wellness topics relevant to seniors, such as yoga for seniors, mindfulness, or healthy aging.
  • Technology and Social Media for Seniors Groups: Join groups dedicated to helping seniors navigate technology and social media, where you can ask questions, share tips, and learn from others.
  • Travel and Adventure Groups for Seniors: Explore groups centered around senior travel, camping, hiking, or exploring new destinations.

Family-Specific Apps for Seniors to Connect With Loved Ones

Some people like to go further and set up a space for their loved ones in a family-oriented social media app. Social media platforms are available for families to connect, share updates, and stay in touch. These platforms typically offer features tailored to the needs of families, such as photo sharing, event planning, and private messaging. Some popular options include:

  1. FamilyApp: FamilyApp is a private messaging and organizational app designed for families. It allows users to chat with family members, share photos and videos, coordinate schedules, and create to-do lists and reminders.
  2. Life360: Life360 is a family location-sharing app that allows family members to see each other's real-time location on a map. It also offers features such as messaging, check-ins, and driving safety alerts.
  3. CirclesCare: CirclesCare is a family organization app that helps families manage schedules, tasks, and expenses. It offers shared calendars, to-do lists, expense tracking, and location sharing.
  4. 23snaps: 23snaps is a private social network for families to share photos, videos, and updates with relatives. It offers features like photo editing, milestone tracking, and inviting family members to view and contribute to the shared content.
  5. Famy: Famly is a social networking app designed for families to share photos, videos, and updates in a private and secure environment. It offers group messaging, event planning, and a family newsfeed.

There are also a lot of apps you can use to start video chat groups and talk one-on-one. Apps like Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, and WhatsApp allow seniors to make video calls with loved ones, providing a more personal connection than traditional phone calls.

Using Tech to Enrich Seniors' Lives

Aside from social media, the internet has much to offer those who want to use it to enrich their lives at any age. People can pursue many interests in retirement and use technology to enrich their lives.

  • Online Learning Platforms: Websites like Coursera, Khan Academy, and Udemy offer various courses on various subjects, allowing seniors to continue learning and staying mentally engaged.
  • Health and Fitness Apps: Apps like MyFitnessPal, Fitbit, and Headspace can help seniors track their physical activity, monitor their health metrics, and practice mindfulness and meditation.
  • Online Games and Puzzles: Websites and apps offer various games and puzzles, including Sudoku, crossword puzzles, and brain-training games, which can help seniors stay mentally sharp and entertained. Some apps allow you to play against other people, make new friends, or meet up online with older ones.
  • Virtual Tours and Cultural Experiences: Many museums, zoos, and cultural institutions offer virtual tours and online exhibits, allowing seniors to explore new places and experiences from their homes.

Smart Home Devices

Devices such as Amazon Echo and Google Home can assist seniors with setting reminders or managing appointments. These devices can also help with other smart devices in your home. Once set up, these devices have easy-to-use voice commands. There are many ways they can be used to entertain or make life more accessible.

Setting these items up will require the help of a caregiver or loved one. Once it has the proper settings, a smart device is much more intuitive.

Getting Assistance with Daily Tasks

Smart home devices can provide reminders and assistance. They can help set up daily tasks such as medication reminders, appointment reminders, and prompts for cooking or cleaning. Providing structure and support throughout the day can significantly benefit individuals with cognitive impairments.

Technology for Safety, Security, and Peace of Mind

Smart home devices with sensors can monitor the home environment for hazards such as fires, gas leaks, or intrusions. They can send alerts to caregivers or emergency services, ensuring a safer living environment for individuals with cognitive issues prone to forgetfulness or confusion.

Navigation, Orientation, and Comfort

Smart home devices are another technology that can help people stay organized and assist them in tasks. Their voice assistants can help individuals with cognitive impairments navigate their environment more quickly. Voice-controlled devices can provide directions, answer questions, and offer reassurance, helping people feel more confident and independent in their homes.

Smart home devices are techology that offers convenience and efficiency. They can automatically turn off lights, adjust thermostats, and lock doors. This can save time and energy. They’re great for people with limited mobility or chronic illnesses who want to conserve their time and energy.

Smart home devices can be customized and personalized to suit individual preferences and lifestyles. From setting up personalized lighting scenes to creating custom voice commands, smart home devices offer flexibility and adaptability to meet the unique needs of each user.

Getting Tech-Savvy With Seniors

When introducing seniors to technology, it's essential to be patient, provide clear instructions, and offer ongoing support. Talk to them about online privacy and security and educate them about safe online practices, including setting up secure passwords and privacy settings.

They may not like technology chosen by others, so it’s critical to get their input to learn what they want to accomplish with their new tech and how they plan to use it. A tablet with the Youtube app may be sufficient if they’re looking for a way to watch videos. But if they’re looking for a way to use Instagram while they’re out with friends or on excursions to the museum, a good phone with a decent camera will be the trick.

Consider Present Moments Senior Living

If you or a loved one is looking for a comfortable, professional, safe community for seniors, look no further. We provide amenities such as medication management, daily activities, and sober senior living support. We’re here to help make your golden years as fulfilling and worry-free as possible. Call us at 442-232-2824 today to schedule a tour.

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Mark Gladden
Driven by a desire to enable seniors to age gracefully in a place they can call home, Mark founded Present Moments Senior Living. From programming activities to hiring capable staff to overseeing day-to-day operations, Mark strives to make Present Moments a nurturing environment where residents can live meaningfully.