Common discourse concerning seniors and technology tends to reinforce the notion that seniors are significantly less technologically-literate than their younger counterparts.
While it may be true that some seniors have greater difficulty adjusting to incorporating forms of technology into their lives than those of younger generations, recent years have seen a greater number of seniors learning to incorporate numerous technological tools and resources into their lives. Whether it be to help stay connected to the people, activities, and tasks that are valuable and fulfilling within their lives, or to better manage productivity and behaviours concerning personal care and wellbeing, more seniors than ever are learning to understand and value the contributions that technology can make to helping them live a positive, engaging, and healthy lifestyle. Supporting seniors as they work towards building a better sense of mastery in terms of their capacity to use technology can help to promote feelings of empowerment and can offer the opportunity for seniors to feel a sense of control over their ability to socialize, connect, learn, play, and keep track of the numerous aspects and facets that make up their lives.
Tools and Gadgets
The emergence of new technologies continues to take place along with the ever-occurring developments and advancements in the technological realm, and an incredible number of gadgets and tools are made available that have the ability to contribute positively to seniors’ lives by improving, simplifying, or introducing various elements. Whether it be for entertainment, communication, knowledge and skill building, or management of personal health responsibilities, there are innumerable technological tools that seniors can use in their lives to help increase efficiency or ease of various aspects of life.
- Video Games
- Video Calling
- The Internet
- Social Media Outlets
- Smart Phones
- Apps (For Fun or Productivity)
How Seniors Can Use Technology
The options available for technology use and ways to incorporate technological tools into seniors’ lives in a positive way are endless. The following are some areas of life that can benefit from an integrative use of technology:
· Social Connectedness: Keeping up a fulfilling level of social engagement and connectedness is deeply valuable for maintaining health of both the mind and body. Social media, email, internet platforms and other communication technologies such as video-chatting tools and smart phones offer seniors tools to help stay connected to people that are important to them despite distance.
· Safety: There are multiple technologies that are developed to help keep seniors safe within their homes as they grow older. Personal Emergency Response Systems, for example, make it so that seniors can receive help at the push of a button. There are also technologies that exist as monitoring systems and alerts that can help offer piece of mind to loved ones, caregivers, and seniors alike.
· Personal/Health Management: There are a whole host of apps and tools created specially to help seniors feel more in control of their health. Technological solutions can offer reminders for seniors to take their medication, can assist them in tracking changes or relevant experiences concerning their health, can provide access to information and resources relevant to their conditions, and can help to keep track of schedules and appointments. Technology can simplify and streamline all of the many elements that go into managing seniors’ personal care and health.
· Knowledge-Building: The internet makes an incredible amount of diverse and varied knowledge and information available that seniors can use to deepen or expand their levels of understanding, conceptions, and areas of knowledge. Engaging with online content, informational videos, and other people online can all create the opportunities for seniors to develop skills, knowledge, and understanding of themselves and the world around them.
· Exercise: By using video games that involve motion, apps that offer directed exercise regimes targeted at seniors, and technological tools that deliver brain exercises and thinking skills, seniors can exercise their bodies and minds with technological tools.
· Entertainment: Technology can offer numerous types of entertainment that seniors can enjoy. Watching TV, playing games on a computer, tablet, or phone, or reading on one of these devices are all different types of entertainment that become more readily accessible and transportable through use of technology. Games can contribute to the promotion of better mental fitness, and playing can become a social activity when seniors connect with others.
Many seniors find that making purposeful use of technology in their lives can help contribute to a better overall quality of life in a whole host of different ways. Technology creates chances for seniors to have simpler access to new and interesting things, offers the opportunity to support social connections, creates opportunities for creativity and fun, and delivers specific tools that can help in self-care and personal maintenance. Introducing technology into seniors’ lives can help to improve their experience and build in the possibility for further behaviours and activities that are helpful for their overall wellbeing.