Seniors use technology to benefit in special ways

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Senior citizens are stereotypically known for failing hearing, hip replacements, an old-fashioned mentality and an ignorance of technology.

It surprises us when the older generation defies our expectations – by being wise during conversation, in great physical shape, or socially unconventional.

When it comes to smartphones and other modern technology, however, some may argue that older adults not only frequently use such devices, but also that they may even benefit from them in special ways.

Technology’s greater accessibility applies to cost, convenience, and ease of use. All of these factors may be reasons for older adults to begin using new technology – for example, smartphones are cheaper, they are integrated with the internet and other handy apps, and most importantly, most devices have user interfaces that allow comprehensible navigation.

According to a recent Pew Research study, senior citizens are divided into two sets: one of which is technologically comfortable, while the other is not. The tech advanced group of seniors represents a younger fragment, which is in generally wealthier and possessing of better health. The second grouping of senior adults which is not adept at handling technology is categorized as older, with more health problems or disabilities and less wealth. While more than half of this demographic use the internet, about the same amount don’t have web accessibility for their home and nearly a quarter don’t own mobile devices.

Those seniors who are comfortable with smartphones are making technology work for them. Apps such as EyeReader help seniors by magnifying text for reading, while others help with monitoring pill usage and other daily metrics. These cases point to areas where technology is aiding in quality of life specifically for the older adult demographic.

Other senior citizens may find that taking photos or video chatting (FaceTime for iPhone owners) are easy ways to keep in touch with extended family. Those individuals who want these capabilities may be comfortable using the same devices that their grandchildren prefer.

Special Tech

Though many older adults may be comfortable with the latest smart gadget, it’s likely that just as many aren’t. Companies are catering to this set by slating special products to market specifically for that demographic. Samsung has come out with a new smartphone for senior citizens that is easy to use and sends check-ins to family members, a functionality for emergencies, and a 24/7 line to healthcare professionals.

Indeed, some older users may simply need their technology to be able to perform the basics with extraaccommodation. These accommodations may include styluses or keyboards for texting with arthritis, captions for phone calls, and sound frequencies that are compatible with hearing aids.

Though senior citizens are able to use technology, as exemplified with usable products or those products intended for an older adult’s use, this type of activity may not be recommended for those seniors that fall into the older or more infirm category. Seniors may prefer other activities such as the arts, yoga, or swimming. For the second set of senior citizens with greater health challenges or disabilities, simpler and more familiar hobbies may be best.

Technology indisputably adds benefit to people’s lives, and this includes senior citizens. The great boon of new devices and programs is that they allow for customization, and as such there are apps available that help older adults with memory and daily activities.

Of course, technology like smartphones may not make sense for all senior citizens who in turn cannot make sense of complicated gadgets – in these cases, more traditional methods of improving quality of life would be better employed.

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