Did you know that 59% of adults 65+ report using the Internet? That’s a drop off from the nearly 86% of all adults going online, but it is promising news that the gap between senior citizens and technology is closing. You yourself may think that the segment of elders online is just extremely savvy and nothing like your senior parent, but chances are they’re ready to be part of the digital revolution as well. By introducing your parents and technology you may find you’ve gained some valuable family time, improved their mental health, and even gotten some peace of mind for yourself.
Younger Family Members Can Help Train Older Loved Ones on Tech
One of the main keys to successfully mixing seniors and technology is training. When the elderly are given tech gifts, a whopping 66% don’t get any subsequent help using them. With so many family caregivers belonging to the sandwich generation, caring for kids in the home as well as their parents, it’s no surprise there’s very little time for training. Instead of struggling to find more hours in the day, consider employing your kids to do the explaining. Chances are, they are the most tech savvy people in your home! By encouraging them to assist their grandparents with a new tablet or adding filters to an iPhone picture, you not only encourage seniors learning technology, but you also facilitating their spending of quality time with younger members of the family, giving them an opportunity to really connect.
Better Living Through Technology
With age comes a decrease in mobility, which can lead to difficulty maintaining a social life. You may know intuitively that lack of social interaction is bad for health, but did you know that it can increase the chance of premature death in elders by 14%? Introducing your parents to technology via social media is a great way to help them combat social isolation. Sites like Facebook allow seniors to stay connected with the milestones happening with family and friends. If you are concerned about your parent not having a lot of friends online, then try to get them involved in groups that align with their interests so that they can make new acquaintances. For extra tips on how to best facilitate the relationship between the elderly and technology on the many platforms out there, try using an online guide to teaching senior social media for assistance.
Lastly if you’ve ever worried about your parents, either because they live independently or simply far away from you; you’ll be happy to know there are technologies out there made specifically for those situations. Lively is a wearable which, when worn by your parent, allows you to track health metrics like the number of steps they take per day. Nest offers a feature where if a smoke or carbon monoxide alarm goes off, a predetermined party can also get the alert. These are just the tip of the iceberg, however many companies are continuing to come up with new devices that make caring for senior citizens easier.
Bridging the elderly and technology together doesn’t have to be a chore or a challenge, but rather an exciting learning experience for everyone.