There’s a common misconception that senior citizens aren’t adaptable to change and technology, but in reality, they just need an extra boost to help them along the way. According to Pew Research, 77 percent of seniors indicate they need someone to help walk them through the process of learning new technology.
Fortunately, more companies are responding by making tech more intuitive and easier to use. But despite technology getting easier to use, there’s still so much of it on the market that it’s hard to know where to begin.
The first step is not to overwhelm a senior new to the technology world and start small. Help seniors with the things they want most whether it’s connectivity or exploring a new hobby and branch out from there. Here’s how to get started.
Sync Email to Phone
Seniors are adapting to smartphones faster than ever and want to know how to really utilize it to their advantage. Four in ten seniors now own smartphones—more than double from 2013 according to the Pew Research Center. Once the senior in your life has mastered the basics like setting up their contacts and texting, show them how to sync their email to their phone so they can stay up to date with family, friends and healthcare providers.
But the kind of phone also matters. Seniors need an intuitive phone that’s both easy and enjoyable to use. The Galaxy S8 offers a smooth infinity screen to maximize screen space and face recognition to unlock with just a look. Once seniors have this setup, they never have to worry about unlocking it with a code they may not remember again. The Galaxy S8 also has a front and rear facing camera so seniors can snap photos and send to loved ones over their synced email.
Get Connected on Social Media
Remember when Facebook was just geared towards college kids who wanted to stay connected? Today’s seniors are Facebook’s fastest growing demographic and are joining to stay connected and make new connections, according to Penn State researchers. Curiosity is also a driving force — seniors want to see what people are up to and how it really works.
Start with the platform your senior citizen community is the most interested in, whether it’s Pinterest to browse home design, Twitter for news updates, or Facebook to stay connected with loved ones. Show them how the different tools work, from instant messaging to posting on walls and who can see what. As the seniors get more comfortable, you can add more to the list like security features and launching Facebook Live to chat with their family and friends in real time.
Get a Virtual Assistant
The use of virtual assistants are on the rise and are ideal for senior citizens. Amazon Echo is a good starting point and is cost-effective. The Echo can tell you everything from the weather to the time and plays music and audio books on demand. The ability to ask for the same information over and over again is especially valuable for seniors who need repeated information on the weather or what appointments they have that day.
A virtual assistant like Amazon Echo is also just a good companion. A lonely senior who needs a pick me up can ask Alexa to tell them a joke or riddle, look up information on what’s playing on TV, and remind them of someone’s birthday. Hearing a voice in the same room that’s actually responding to what a senior is saying can curb the feeling that there’s no one around.
It makes sense that senior citizens would embrace technology as they look for ways to stay connected and age in place. They just need a bridge to get there. Offer them the support and resources they need to learn the technology that can make a big impact in their lives and watch them thrive.