Thank you so much to Mary for sharing the great ideas and article!!
5 Easy Ways for Seniors to Keep in Touch via Technology
Technology is a fantastic resource for communities worldwide, and it has a lot to offer seniors, too. Whether you live far from your older loved ones or are keeping your distance for health reasons, technology can help bridge the gap.
Dream Big Sophie recommends these ideas for staying in contact with your senior loved one, no matter where you (or they) are.
1. Affordable Internet
Many seniors live on a fixed income and have to stick to a tight budget. The Pension Rights Center says that half of all older seniors have an income of less than $25,600 per year.
But the good news is that even older adults with limited financial means can get high-speed internet to stay connected. Discounts are available on high-speed internet for seniors and other qualified individuals, so you don’t need to worry about high connection costs.
2. Accessibility Tools
Older folks can learn to use technology just like anyone else. But the truth is that many seniors deal with vision, hearing, and other challenges that might make it hard to use smartphones or tablets. Smaller screens, especially, can be hard to navigate.
To help seniors use their devices more easily, look into accessibility tools. Tablets and smartphones often have accessible modes for reading messages aloud, zooming in on text, and other helpful features.
Apple Insider explains that for Apple devices, a range of features can help you make your senior loved one’s iPad or iPhone easier to navigate. Android’s accessibility tools center on things like screen brightness and magnification, larger button settings, and more.
3. Simpler Tablets and Phones
If your senior loved one is resistant to handling an iPad or similar device that’s new and flashy, you might want to explore simpler technology solutions.
For example, Jitterbug phones bring back a flip phone style so seniors don’t have to deal with extras like voice assistants, web browsers, and the like. Alternative tablets like the GrandPad eliminate confusing interfaces and just leave the basics: text, calls, and video chatting, plus some browsing capabilities.
Of course, it’s essential to involve your loved one in the decision-making process. They might surprise you with their preferences about their new tablet or phone.
4. Get Voice Assistance
Many smartphones and tablets have voice assistants built-in, making such devices excellent choices for seniors. But you can also purchase different voice assistant technology like an Amazon or Google device. These units can be voice-only, or they can include screens for video chatting, viewing the weather, and other tasks.
The American Foundation for the Blind recommends optimizing your senior’s voice assistant to address their unique needs. For example, Amazon has a Drop-In feature where you can video chat anytime — as long as your senior is OK with setting it up that way. Voice assistants can also give your loved one reminders, make phone calls hands-free, and more.
5. Original Messaging: Email
Though many older generations feel uncomfortable with technology, more seniors than ever are using email online. Statista confirms that over 84 percent of internet users 65 and above use email to communicate. Your senior loved one might already be one of them.
If your family member already has an email address, you can start communicating immediately. But if they are a bit resistant to typing messages online, look into senior-friendly email clients that streamline the messaging process. In no time, your loved one can start sending messages, pictures, and more.
Keeping connected with your older loved one can feel challenging without technology. But with the right tech solutions, it’s easy and enjoyable to stay in touch from afar. Do you want to do more to help your senior loved one or others in your community? Visit Dream Big Sophie for ideas and inspiration from kids and communities all over.
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