According to Pew Research, 41 percent of seniors do not use the internet at all, 53 percent do not have broadband access at home and 23 percent do not use cell phones. These figures actually show gains in technology adaptation for senior citizens but still suggest that they lag behind other age groups and generations. It’s probably unsurprising that some reasons for slow technology adaptation by seniors include physical challenges, skeptical attitudes and difficulties learning to use new technologies.
Fortunately, learning to master new technology can be a fun and rewarding experience. But it does require some innovation and patience to get up and running. Start small by focusing on tech that you want to use and can directly improve your life. Push everything else aside and start your tech adaptation with baby steps.
Technology can dramatically increase the ability to age in place and create more independence in your life. For example, you can order groceries online through services like Amazon Prime, Fresh Direct and Instacart, depending on your location. And if you just need a hand running errands, you can hire someone to do it for you through an app like TaskRabbit.
Technology can also help you around the house. Roomba robots can be easily set up to whip around and vacuum and mop your floors whether you’re home or not. Meanwhile, the Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower Cleaning device can help keep your showers and tubs from succumbing to soap scum and grime by turning on when you’re done washing up. And if you’re still able to get up on a ladder, you can use iRobot’s Looj Robot Gutter Cleaner.
One of the biggest benefits of technologies for isolated seniors is the ability to stay connected to loved ones, caregivers and friends. Start by choosing an intuitive, simple smartphone like the LG G5 with a wide screen for easy navigation. Ask a tech-savvy friend or family member to show you how to use the phone, and get set up with video chat apps like Skype. And if you’re interested in learning to take photos right from your phone, the LG G5 has an easy-to-use camera with an ultra wide angle lens.
There are also plenty of apps designed just for seniors that you can use on your smartphone. For example, Stitch can help connect older adults with others looking for friends or new romantic relationships. Seniors can also use apps like Fitbit to track physical activity like a brisk walk or even sleeping to help monitor your health.
Teaming up with a tech-savvy friend or family member to help get you up and running with the tech you need can help keep you going on your tech journey. Local libraries and senior citizens are also likely to host technology classes just for seniors who will teach you what you need to know at a comfortable pace. But you can also use technology as your own in-home friend.
For example, the Amazon Echo can do everything from tell you the weather to sharing a good joke. The Amazon Echo can also be hugely helpful for anyone with short-term memory issues or suffering from dementia. Ask it what day it is over and over again and it will never get frustrated with you.
Technology provides a wealth of opportunity for fun, relaxation and creativity. AARP has plenty of options from Spider Solitaire to the Daily Crossword. Meanwhile, Brit + Co features free and affordable online video tutorials on flower arranging, clean eating, lettering and more.
At the end of the day, adapting to technology is all about motivation and remaining positive about the experience. Think of technology as a way to keep your mind sharp and your day-to-day activities a breeze.