Today’s guest post is from Mary Shannon at seniorsmeet.org
Thanks Mary for all these great resources!
Staying in touch with seniors can be hard, especially if your older loved ones aren’t very tech-savvy. When you’re considering ways to stay in touch, remember that the seniors in your life might need some help getting set up with the right devices and skills to use communication tools such as tablets and smartphones.
Technology today is developing at warp-speed, which makes it difficult to keep up if you already feel behind. Many seniors don’t stay updated on the latest gadgets and communication methods, so it’s up to family members and friends to help bridge the knowledge gap.
When possible, sit down with your senior loved one and show them how to use your smartphone. Allow them to ask you questions about its functions, and play around with how to make calls and use apps. One fun activity is to ask them to create some content: ask them to take a picture and text it to one of their friends, or see if they can connect via video chat.
Types of devices
The number of tech devices out there today is staggering: from phones to tablets and laptops, there are plenty of options for helping your senior stay connected.
As you’re searching, remember to look for devices that are specifically targeted toward seniors. There are several technology options that cater specifically to health: from medical alert devices to medication reminders, there are plenty of ways for your senior to be connected to medical providers if and when needed.
Beyond health needs, look for communication devices that cater to seniors. Smartphones today are often more complicated and sleek than most seniors need, so consider getting a simpler, cheaper mobile phone for your senior loved one. The Jitterbug Flip is a popular model because it’s easy to use and is low-cost. Look for phones that have large and bright displays, good sound and speakers, a long battery life, and an emergency help button.
If your senior loved one has a smartphone or tablet, be sure to help them get set up with the right apps. There are some that are actually designed to help seniors, and others that just happen to be perfect for most seniors’ needs.
First off, help your senior download a messaging app that’s easy to use and make sure it’s on their home screen. If needed, adjust the settings so they can easily see each icon, and make the text larger on the screen for seniors with poor vision.
Make sure they have a video chat app such as Skype and make sure they know how to use it. You can make a practice call to a friend so they can try it out, and then give them a call from your own phone to make sure they know how to answer incoming calls.
Zoom, which has grown in popularity during the pandemic, is also a great way for seniors to stay connected with their relatives and loved ones. The popular app is available on a wide range of devices, allowing them to make video calls regardless of which devices they own. Seniors Guide has an incredible how-to article that can easily help you get your loved one set up.
Boosting internet speeds
Helping your senior learn to use devices is important, but their video chat sessions won’t last long without a solid internet connection. If your loved one is on a budget, it’s a good idea to see if they’re eligible for discounted high-speed internet.
As you think of ways to help your older loved one stay connected, remember that simply buying them the devices won’t solve the problem: you also need to spend some time teaching them how to use their new gadgets. Before you know it, they’ll be video chatting with their friends all day long, which will do wonders for coping with loneliness.
And, today’s video is “Super Brain Yoga!” A fun exercise that reduces brain fog for everyone who is technology challenged like me!
Best of Health,