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Keeping in touch with family and friends can be a challenge for seniors living on their own. Whether loved ones are far away or simply unable to visit in person, they might feel lonely and isolated at times. Fortunately, technology has made it easier than ever for families and friends to stay connected. Many products on the market are easy to use and can enhance the lives of those living alone, helping them maintain relationships and reach out to others when needed. It is possible to find ways of helping seniors to stay in touch through technology.
According to Pew Research Center, there were more than twice as many seniors using smartphones in 2017 than there were four years prior. At that time, about half of seniors owned any kind of cell phone. If your loved ones don’t already have one, a cell phone can significantly enhance their ability to communicate more frequently, and there is an abundance of helpful apps that can ease their daily lives. And of course, a cell phone can also improve their safety when they’re away from home by helping them get in touch with someone quickly if necessary.
If your senior family members have an older phone or early-model smartphone, upgrading or investing in a new smartphone can enhance their ability to connect and communicate. They will be able to access technology faster and more easily. However, new phones can be expensive. When shopping, look for discounts and offers to help your loved ones fit a new phone into their budget — a concern Financial Issues Stewardship Ministries points out can be a challenge. Fortunately, not only are there providers that have low-cost phone offers, there are easy-to-use apps to help seniors watch their spending too.
Tablets offer seniors most of the functionality of a smartphone with the advantage of a larger screen. They may find it easier to type, read and navigate app icons. It’s an advantage if they need to place an online grocery order or attend a telehealth appointment such as with Ocean Vista Counseling. A tablet strikes a balance between a smartphone and a laptop or desktop computer, offering the capabilities of both without the bulk of a desktop model.
A laptop computer can offer the advantages of a desktop computer with the bonus of portability. Rather than being confined to a desk, seniors can use laptops while sitting in a recliner or at the kitchen table. Laptops offer a large screen to make visibility better for video conferencing with family, friends, and medical providers. If your loved ones want to try a new dessert recipe, it’s easy to bring a laptop to the kitchen counter and read it on a large screen while cooking.
Guide for Seniors notes many seniors enjoy online games, and a laptop can offer the functionality to play them. Some games allow the user to send a message or email to someone they know and play online together. It’s a great way to connect to grandchildren or friends when they can’t be there in person. Laptops can be expensive, but it’s possible to find lower-priced models. If your senior is mainly using a laptop for online functions, a model with lots of built-in memory is not necessary. You can shop for a more basic model and keep costs down.
Seniors can use smart home systems and speakers for communication, entertainment, home security and much more. A smart home device with video capabilities can make it easy for them to video chat. Voice commands can activate the device, eliminating the need to remember or write down phone numbers or email addresses.
A smart speaker’s usefulness extends to the realm of entertainment, too. They can also use a smart speaker to listen to music, radio shows, or podcasts with ease, using voice commands instead of searching through albums or radio channels.
Smart speakers are often part of smart home systems, which can allow seniors to adjust the thermostat or turn lights off and on without needing to get up. Such features can especially enhance life for people with limited mobility.
While it can be challenging to stay in touch with seniors living on their own, technology has made it possible to see, hear and play with friends and family, wherever they may be. It is possible to find methods for helping seniors to stay in touch through technology at this time.
Ocean Vista Counseling offers a broad range of therapy services to help you and your loved ones experience a healthier and happier life. To learn more or schedule an appointment, contact them at (386) 449-8600 or click here.