Helping your senior loved one get connected with family through technology can be one of the greatest gifts you ever give them. It can help them feel less lonely and more engaged with the family. It ensures they never miss a major milestone with their kids or grandkids. And it also gives other family members peace of mind when they can use technology to check on their loved one’s well-being.
Here are some simple technology solutions seniors can use to keep in touch with their family or friends:
Smart home assistants like Google Home or Alexa have been game-changing for seniors in a number of ways. First and foremost, these assistants can help seniors stay in touch with their families by placing phone calls on their behalf or sending text messages.
In addition, smart home assistants can perform simple tasks for seniors through voice activation. For example, seniors can ask Alexa for the day’s weather report, to look up a recipe, or to set a daily medication reminder. Assistants are helping to create a safer home environment for seniors so that they can age in place for longer.
Although some technology is brand new to seniors, they likely know their way around a QWERTY keyboard. Seniors can use cell phones that have text messaging capabilities to send their loved ones a text and receive them in return.
Individuals with aging parents agree that this is one of the quickest ways to communicate, plus it allows them to check on their senior loved ones on a daily basis with minimal effort.
Instead of opting for a basic cell phone, consider upgrading your senior loved one to a smartphone that has an integrated camera. This way, they can not only send and receive text messages, but also photos and videos. If they’re unable to attend a special family event or milestone, such as a graduation, a class play, or an awards ceremony to honor a family member’s achievements, they can at least get timely updates and feel like they were there.
And with the right app, you can also video chat with your loved one in real time.
Larger devices can be more beneficial to seniors because the buttons are easier to see and press and the screens are bigger and clearer. Home portals like those made by Facebook and Amazon are increasingly popular in senior households. They offer high-quality video chat capabilities that allow you to enjoy face time with your loved one.
In addition to video calls, smart displays can provide other entertainment value. They’re basically like voice assistance but with a visual digital display. You can use the speaker tablets to ask questions, look up information, set reminders, and perform tasks with connected smart devices, such as dimming your smart lights.
It’s becoming more common to see seniors venturing onto the social media airwaves. Facebook tends to be the most popular channel among older audiences, usually because just about everybody has a Facebook account. Seniors can stay up-to-date on what their family members are doing, and they enjoy seeing all of the pictures, videos, and other comments they post. They can also send direct messages and engage with content on Facebook for ongoing conversations with their family and friends.
Some seniors are more comfortable using a desktop computer because that’s what they’re most familiar with. An advantage to this is that these devices typically stay in place, unlike cell phones and tablets that are more portable and could be prone to being misplaced.
You can easily add a webcam to any laptop or desktop for a relatively low cost so that seniors can video chat with their loved ones.
Some seniors enjoy the simple user interface and the light weight of a tablet. The screen is much larger than that of a smartphone, which makes content easier to see. they also have the option of using their finger or a stylus to navigate buttons and menus.
Most tablets have a built-in camera that seniors can use for video chatting or taking their own photos and videos to share with loved ones.
There are also tons of free and paid apps they can download to keep them informed and entertained. You can show them how to download games, news apps, and other helpful tools that can improve their daily living.
Speaking of downloading games, one of the benefits of having a mobile device is that seniors and their loved ones can download games that allow them to play with each other online. Competitive, friendly games like Words with Friends can be the next best thing to spending quality time together, especially when you’re miles apart.
Email is relatively simple to use, regardless of skill or computer knowledge. You can sign up your loved one for a free email account with Gmail or Yahoo and show them how to send email to friends or family members. You can also set up their email on their smartphone or tablet so they don’t need to rely on a desktop or laptop computer to check their messages.
Cloud photo frames, like the ones offered by Pix-Star, make a beautiful addition to any home. Rather than printing individual photos and sticking them in an album, you can upload photos directly to the frame from the cloud and play them like a slideshow.
Loved ones can upload photos from afar and send them directly to your senior’s cloud photo frame. With Pix-Star, all you need is to create a unique email address for the photo frame, then send all of your photos to that address. It’s a gift that truly keeps on giving.
Technology is helping seniors age in place in unprecedented ways. Even though they may live alone, they can still feel like part of the action through thoughtfully implemented solutions.
For more senior insights, head back to the My Nurse Family blog.