The digital age we live in today is fast-paced and full of constantly changing technology. This can be intimidating to aging adults who may fear they can't understand new devices. However, combined, seniors and technology can be a powerful tool.
Modern devices connect us with loved ones, keep us in touch with medical professionals, and help us stay safe. If your loved one is nervous about getting started, here are a few easy ways to explore technology for seniors.
1. Use Technology to Connect
Today's technology offers powerful ways to connect with our family and friends. For seniors who may not be as mobile as they once were, this is a huge benefit. There are many ways to use the digital world to stay social:
- Help your loved one set up a social media account to see the latest photos and updates from grandchildren or long-distance relatives.
- Use Skype or other video-chatting services to stay in touch when distance or health prevents face-to-face visits.
- If your elderly family members can't attend gatherings, upload family videos to YouTube and share privately.
2. Find Community Resources
The first step to understanding the digital world is mastering basic computer skills. For those of us who didn't grow up with modern technology, this can be quite a challenge! If you need assistance or ideas for helping your aging loved one become comfortable with computers, research what resources are available in your area.
Many senior living community centers offer technology education. Local libraries, schools, and junior colleges have computer facilities and may offer classes or tutoring programs to the general public. Another great resource is your local Area Agency on Aging, a free service offered by the U.S. Administration on Aging.
3. Start Learning and Creating from Home
As we age, we may find that active pastimes are simply too demanding for our current health. Additionally, the living spaces in most retirement communities may not allow space for large projects. However, the digital revolution has made a huge range of new creative and educational activities possible from the comfort of our own homes.
Many people have always wanted to learn another language, but never had the time; some have a novel inside them just waiting to be written. Perhaps your loved one would enjoy blogging on a favorite topic and connecting with others who share their interests. Technology makes all these things possible! Check out resources like the National Novel Writing Month and Khan Academy for inspiration.
4. How to Get Started
No matter our age or lifestyle, trying new habits can be intimidating. Some seniors are ready and excited to get started with new technology, while some may be very overwhelmed.
- Focus on small steps and loving communication.
- Forming a new habit takes at least two months, so remember that this change in your loved one's lifestyle probably won't happen all at once.
- To help keep your loved one from becoming even more overwhelmed, start with bite-sized projects.
- Even a few small changes can make a huge difference! Just one email or social media account is enough to increase contact with family and friends.
These are just a few of the ways modern technology can enhance senior living for aging adults! With a few simple steps to introduce your loved one to the digital world, you can help them enjoy a happier, safer, and more convenient lifestyle. No matter where we are in life, the digital world is an exciting place to learn and explore.