While some older adults are excited by all the ways technology makes their lives easier, others are more hesitant to adopt new technology. The seemingly endless stream of new gadgets can be overwhelming for those who didn’t grow up with technology. What’s more, sometimes it may seem easier to opt out than to keep up.
Complicated can mean easy
While there are complicated, high-tech gadgets coming out every day, rapid technological advancement has also led to the development of senior-friendly devices. From intuitive interfaces to accessible touchscreens, today’s gadgets have features that eliminate the steep learning curve so seniors can take advantage of new technology minus the frustration.
If you’re a senior looking to make your life easier, or a caregiver in search of senior-friendly devices, these are the technologies to try.
Senior-friendly cell phones
Although 80% of seniors today own a cell phone, they’re split on the smartphone versus flip phone debate. Just under half of senior cell phone users still use a basic cell phone, preferring the simple interfaces and sturdy design of phones like the Kyocera DuraXV LTE and Jitterbug Flip. Seniors who want more features, like video calling and GPS navigation, should look for smartphones with large screens like the Google Pixel 3 XL, Samsung Galaxy Note 9, or iPhone 11.
While smartphones are great on the go, many seniors find their screens and keyboards too small for email and social media. That’s where tablets come in. With touchscreens and apps, tablets are much simpler than computers for tech-wary seniors. Tablets can even replace e-readers with an e-book app.
The best tablets for seniors have large screens, easy-to-use interfaces, and a long battery life. Mobility With Love notes good options include the Samsung Galaxy Tab A, Asus Zenpad 3S, or the Apple iPad. Older seniors might prefer the GrandPad, which has a basic interface designed for non-tech-savvy seniors.
Tablets and smartphones are ideal for on-the-go usage, but if you’d prefer a larger screen and more capabilities, computers are the way to go. There are many great senior-friendly laptops out there that will allow you to easily and efficiently get any task done, whether you need to create a document for work or want to stream your favorite show. Whichever computer you use, make sure to safeguard the device so that it doesn’t get a virus and your personal information doesn’t get stolen.
Video calling apps
Smartphones, tablets and computers are great for using social media, playing games, and checking bank accounts, but the feature that is most cherished by seniors is the ability to video chat with loved ones. FaceTime, Skype, and Facebook Messenger are the easiest mainstream video calling apps to use, and the GrandPad also offers video calling capabilities.
When it comes to technology for seniors, simpler is better. And it doesn’t get much simpler than learning the forecast, looking up recipes, and even locking the front door via voice command. While outfitting a fully-automated home can cost thousands, it only takes a few smart devices to make a senior’s daily life much easier. AARP notes the best place to start is with a smart assistant like the Amazon Echo or Google Home. Then, to expand a smart home’s capabilities, add gadgets like smart locks, thermostats, light bulbs, and plugs. While most seniors will need help with the initial install, using smart home devices couldn’t be easier.
Wearable safety devices
A lack of tech savvy isn’t the only reason that seniors resist wearable safety devices, but new options on the market may make them reconsider. Today’s senior safety devices, like the Lively Wearable, are discreet and come with helpful features like step tracking. Seniors ready for a more advanced device can try a smartwatch like the Apple Watch, which offers safety features like fall detection and emergency calls.
While these technologies are easy to use for people of all ages, seniors who are new to tech shouldn’t expect to become experts overnight. Learning anything takes practice, and new technology is no different. However, with the right senior-friendly devices and the will to learn, seniors can embrace technology and the connection and convenience it brings.
Image via Rawpixel