The world continues to shelter in place, and even though there is some movement to begin to relax strictest rules, health and safety mean that people are continuing to use technology at home instead of venturing out. At-risk populations, particularly seniors, need to understand and embrace technology to be able to live their best lives. This isn’t always easy. An article published by Forbes, notes that frustration with technology makes “older adults unsure of their ability to use it, leaving them unmotivated to even try.” Luckily, these days, there are some simple solutions that can help seniors adopt technology.

Simplify Your Machine

While a personal computer (PC) or a laptop may have multiple uses, sometimes they can be overwhelming. Updates, plug-ins, configuration, and maintenance requirements aren’t easy to understand, and navigating them can feel like it takes an advanced degree in computer science. Enter the simpler alternatives. A recent article on CNET, Here’s the best computer for seniors and elderly parents, reviewed some great alternatives for seniors. The article suggests Chromebooks and iPads that each offer basic functionality – internet access, email, Facebook and other applications most frequently used by seniors. These options are inexpensive and relatively simple, so they present an excellent alternative for a senior wary of tech.

Dedicated Devices

If technology appeals to a senior for certain, specific uses, there are some great, inexpensive devices out there that fulfill that need with some additional functions. The Amazon Fire Tablet is meant for use as an eReader (a device that allows you to read books published in electronic form), which has the added advantage that the print can be enlarged for easier reading. The Amazon Alexa Show can be operated by voice controls to make video calls to other echo devices. Similarly, Facebook Portal is a video calling device that is voice controlled and easy to use. While intended for a primary purpose, each of these devices have additional uses like watching tv, accessing Facebook, and connecting to other compatible apps.

The Right Instruction

Lifelong learning is the key to getting comfortable with the latest technology. However, not all classes are designed with the perspective and experience of seniors in mind. Medicare.org makes several suggestions for websites that offer courses helping seniors learn technology. Another resource is YouTube, which posts videos of varying lengths and detail. Relevant videos can be accessed by making sure to specify “for seniors” in the search. Finally, there are books. For example, the well-known “for dummies” introductory series, includes an entire subset for seniors, such as iPad For Seniors For Dummies, by Dwight Spivey.

Safety First

When diving into the tech world, be wary of security. Technology opens up the world and scammers and thieves make up a part of it. This can be in the form of a spam email, or a pop-up ad on the internet. The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), in cooperation with the National Cyber Security Alliance, has an initiative called “Stop. Think. Connect” that includes resources for older Americans. Among the suggestions on the CISA website are precautions about choosing passwords, holding on to your mobile device, being cautious about privacy settings, and divulging personal information online.

With the amount of resources available today, even the most tech-averse person can get connected. Being able to stay in touch with friends and family, surf the web, read a book or finally write that novel has never been easier.

At Care Plus, we provide services caring for older adults so they can live their best lives as they age in place.  Learn more about Home Health Montgomery County.