Be A Better You: Embrace Technology And Get Connected

  • November 2, 2017
Be A Better You: Embrace Technology And Get Connected

Innovation and technological progress can be scary at times, but more often than not they can both enhance our lives. Although there has always been innovation throughout history, the majority of modern technology was introduced in the early 20th century. The invention of cars changed the way people traveled from place to place, the introduction of the telephone changed the way people communicated and the launch of commercial radio changed the way people received news and entertainment.

So when it comes to seniors and technology, is something holding you back from embracing it? While it might seem scary to learn a new skill, the benefits of technology for seniors cannot be understated.

Tech For Seniors To Stay Connected

With the invention of computers and the world wide web in the late 20th century, people were able to communicate and connect in a whole new way. Although many people may prefer communicating “the old fashioned way,” with busy family and work schedules that’s not always as easy as it seems. One of the biggest benefits of technology for seniors is the ability to combat isolation and loneliness by keeping you connected with the people you love.

With the majority of seniors choosing to age in place, loneliness and depression are big challenges they have to overcome. Luckily, technology can help. If you live alone and your family does not live close by, technology can help you not only keep in touch with them, but also feel like you see them on a regular basis. From FaceTime on Apple phones and computers, to Skype via the computer, technology allows you to connect with loved ones via video, so, much more so than the phone, you feel as though you are visiting in person.

Social media networks, such as Facebook, can also help keep you connected to family and friends that you may have otherwise lost touch with. Facebook might not be seen as a platform that is useful to seniors, but statistics have shown that seniors are one of the largest growing demographics on the social media platform. When it comes to seniors and technology, Facebook and other forms of social media have popped up in research studies showing to help improve social bonding, lower your mortality risk and combat loneliness.

Tech For Seniors On The Rise

The numbers don’t lie: seniors are beginning to adopt at lightening speeds. Survey results from the Pew Research Center found that seniors are living “more digitally connected lives.” In fact, 42 percent of people over the age of 65 own smartphones, which has risen dramatically since 2013, when only 18 percent reported to own a smartphone. “Internet use and home broadband adoption among this group have also risen substantially. Today, 67% of seniors use the internet – a 55-percentage-point increase in just under two decades. And for the first time, half of older Americans now have broadband at home.”

The Pew survey, however, did also find that there are some limiting factors when it comes to seniors and technology. Around 34 percent of respondents reported to have “little to no confidence in their ability to use electronic devices to perform online tasks, while 48% of seniors say that this statement describes them very well: “When I get a new electronic device, I usually need someone else to set it up or show me how to use it.””

There is no shame in having a child or grandchild teach you how to better navigate your computer, smartphone or tablet. In fact, it could create a good bonding experience for you, and is a great excuse to plan an in-person visit with loved ones. You might end up discovering a new love of technology, since the majority of respondents in the Pew Research Center study reported to view digital technology in a positive light.

Learning The Ropes Of Tech For Seniors

Once you learn how to use your new devices and feel comfortable using them on your own, you might start to discover the great benefits of technology for seniors, including:

  • Improved Mood. Although nothing can take the place of in-person interactions, it’s been proven that when seniors use technology to remain connected to friends and family they feel happier and are less likely to fall into depression. Many seniors have harnessed the power of social media to reconnect with people who would have otherwise been long lost, such as childhood friends, distant relatives and old sweethearts.
  • Convenience. Online shopping and smartphone apps can help you with everything from grocery shopping, to on demand transportation, to ordering new shoes, technology allows you to access a variety of resources from the comfort of your own home. This can come in handy if you are ever worried about going out in inclement weather, or are recovering from an injury.
  • Fitness On Demand. Don’t feel like going to the gym when it’s raining outside? No problem. Thanks to technological advances, you can pull up senior fitness videos on YouTube and access information about how to modify your workout when you are working out with certain limitations.
  • Safety. Another one of the benefits of technology for seniors is the additional safety it can provide you. Although you might not realize it, medical alert devices are actually pieces of technology that help to connect you to help when you need it. Medical Guardian offers a wide variety of products that have different technological benefits depending on your needs, budget and lifestyle.

As you can see, there are many more reasons for you to embrace technology rather than avoid it. Once you get the hang of it, you might start to wonder why you didn’t invite technology into your life sooner.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Hilary Young is a health and wellness expert that specializes in both senior life and caregiving. She'd love to hear more about your thoughts on aging, healthy living, and caregiving, and you can find her on Twitter at @hyoungcreative to start the conversation.

KEYWORDS: Technology

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