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Choosing the Right Technology for Seniors

Technology for seniors

 Tips for Choosing the Right Technology for Seniors

The expanding options of gadgets and gizmos may leave you wondering about the best tips for choosing the right technology for seniors. Many people have concentrated on safety, ease of use or affordability. Finding the right technology for the seniors in your life should always start with the needs and wants of the individual senior.

1) Tech Savvy Status

An eReader being used by a senior citizen.
An eReader being used by a senior citizen.

Seniors that are comfortable using the basic components of a cell phone, handle the VCR, DVD player or DVR will be more likely to make the most of the advanced technological options in the new eReaders, tablets and laptops. Those on the lower end of the learning curve may simple want something that is not “too hard to use.”

2) Health and Fitness Levels

An old lady wearing a medical alert "necklace".
A senior wearing a medical alert “necklace”.

People are now putting applications and software to work to give seniors the ability to stay in their own homes and still stay safe. Seniors that need reminding about medications, need monitoring through wrist devices or other similar electronics, will need technology that will allow these applications without too much trouble. Seniors that are still active and on the go may do better with technology that is portable, light and adapts well to changing environments or needs.

3) Enjoyment of Technology

Learning digital photography can even boost the seniors' memory.
Learning digital photography can even boost the seniors’ memory.

Getting a senior to make the most of the technology that is offered will be determined in large part on how much they enjoy that technology. Anything that requires extra components (like a scanner for taking old photos and putting them into a digital frame) should also be installed or connected at the same time.

Seniors have no time to waste on things that are annoying, too difficult to make use of or simple do not work the way they were expected to work. Get a list of expectations and desires and try to meet those demands so that the senior in question will enjoy the experience and look forward to what comes next.

4) Not all Seniors want the same “old tricks” in technology

Seniors using Skype.
Seniors using Skype.

Not all seniors what the same thing, or need the same thing, from their encounters with technology. Some are still a little nervous about even setting the clock on the VCR while others are set up on Facebook and may even have a blog. Because of the different levels of experience, needs, and expectations that individuals have, it is important to talk with seniors in order to be on target with choosing the right technology for seniors.

5) Consider the Benefits of iPads and Tablets for Seniors

  • Weight consideration. The iPad and most tablets comes in at well under 2 lbs. The light weight allows people to carry it around with little trouble. It can also be held up when sitting in an arm chair or on a couch. The weight of the iPad makes it ideal for use away from a desk or table top. Seniors can make use of the iPad from any location.
  • Larger “buttons.” The prompts and keypad on the iPad can fill the screen especially in apps designed for seniors. Their size is manageable even for large fingers or those that might have lost a little dexterity. The touch screen technology adapts well to users of all shapes and sizes and also takes away some of the intimidation that often comes when new users begin to interact with computers.
  • User friendly design. While the old saying, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is not exactly on the mark, making use of the ever changing technology can be overwhelming even for those accustomed to the gadgets and gizmos. The iPad took these considerations into mind and created a design that can be easily learned and mastered even by the new user. The versatility also opens up the opportunity for users to bring surfing the web, video chats and other technologically challenging events just a few touches away. The forgiving interface makes it more appealing to those not accustomed to computers and smart phone technology (or those that are worried they will “never get it”).

Technology opens new doors to seniors

The world changes at a pace too fast for most people to keep up. Seniors have literally watched the world move into the realm of fiction as computers have gone from fantasy to the size of a building to the size of a candy bar, all within their lifespan. The good news is that despite the enormity of it all, technology provides new opportunities and new life to many seniors. Learning the newest innovations and those on the cusp of discovery can begin to open your eyes to the many ways that technology helps seniors.

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