How To Support Seniors With Technology

how to support seniors with technology

Social isolation and lack of connection are especially challenging for seniors. And, the current pandemic is making it harder than ever for seniors to safely navigate the public arena. As a result, we’ve been doing all we can to support senior clients with technology, as they learn to use a gadget and the video and social platforms that keep them connected to loved ones, friends, and the world-at-large. 

For example, technology provides multiple ways to personally engage with loved ones – even when they live hundreds or thousands of miles away. And, if you are in The Sandwich Generation, taking care of both aging parents and a family at home – you’ll appreciate that tech-savvy seniors rely less on immediate caregivers when they are able to connect with other friends, family, book clubs, and other support groups. 

Tips To Support Senior Success With Tech 

That said, technological glitches are discouraging, so you need to provide ample support to seniors who haven’t had experience with computers or tablets in the past. For seniors with cognitive decline, or who experience high levels of stress due to sheltering-in-place mandates, are more susceptible to frustrated or angry outbursts that can make them quit before they’re fully launched. 

With the right support, a senior-friendly gadget, and ample, guided practice, your senior will be on his/her way. 

Purchase a senior-friendly gadget 

Less is definitely more is seniors are on the beginning side of the technology spectrum. To that end, tech manufacturers intentionally design senior-friendly tablets and gadgets that keep things as simple as possible. 

Examples include: 

In addition to ease of use, these tablets have built-in accessibility features like larger user interfaces, easy volume adjustment, and they have live support available enabling seniors to get the help they need when they need it. 

Provide a list of senior-friendly tech support resources 

There are several Bay Area, senior-friendly tech support resources available online, via the phone, and in-person. Print a list of them and tape it somewhere visible, so your loved one has help available when s/he needs it.  

Examples include: 

Encourage your loved one to take these organization’s online tech classes (another great way to keep those neurons firing!) and get familiar with their gadget. The more they learn to do for themselves, the less they’ll need to call you for real-time tech support. 

Encourage syncing connection time with companion time 

The ideal scenario is to have someone on hand to help when seniors need it. While that isn’t always possible, scheduling a companion to come by once or multiple times per week yields exponential benefits. In addition to providing human-to-human connection, your companion can provide general support with most tech issues, OR your companion/caregiver can help seniors make the calls or online connections they need to solve the problem. 

BONUS: Syncing your connection time to hours when a loved one’s companion or caregivers is present gives you a chance to get to know the caregivers better. Our caregivers have nothing but positive things to say about how client “video chats” with family and friends have supported their bonding process with the client, deepening their connection because it feels more like being part of a family. 

Foster a positive relationship with technology to support seniors 

If your senior is new to the tech world, texting and emailing may be more challenging. However, video chats are a wonderful way to positively bring our elders into the technological world.  

To begin, we recommend scheduling a weekly (or daily, if your schedule allows it) meal or snack time. Seeing your face and hearing your voice, while both of you enjoy a meal, a drink, or a snack together, can feel almost like the real thing. 

This strategy is a win-win because social isolation can result in loss of appetite or unhealthy eating patterns, along with depression and anxiety. The satisfaction and heartwarming anticipation of weekly meal dates can literally transform a senior’s landscape, giving him/her something to look forward to each week, while allowing you to see him/her “in person,” which is the best way to assess senior wellbeing. 

Help them set up apps that align with their interests 

It’s best to start simply to avoid overwhelm. So, we don’t advise going too app crazy. However, there are plenty of apps that support senior connection, fun, engagement, learning, creativity, and wellbeing. 

Depending on their interests and needs, there are all kinds of apps that open the world to homebound seniors: 

  • Audible and/or text-based reading apps 
  • Games (cards, dominoes, board games, etc.) and puzzles 
  • Art apps 
  • Senior Blogs 
  • Medication reminders 
  • Telehealth apps from their healthcare providers 
  • Health apps such as Blue Button from Medicare 
  • Crossword, number puzzle, and word game apps 

Playing games, reading, or being read to, working on puzzles, creating art – all are available with the download of an app.  

Spend “time” with tech savvy grandchildren  

There are so many benefits from seniors spending time with their grandchildren, and bonding through tech is right up the 21st-century grandchild’s alley. Visit our post, 8 Ways to Connect With Grandchildren Online, and see if your kids are inspired by any of the suggestions. 

If nothing else, we bet your tech-savvy children, teens, and young adults could be the go-to tech support for their grandparents or elder relatives when needed, providing a win-win for both sides. 

Is your senior loved one starved for company and something to do while sheltering in place? The Caregivers here at HomeAide Home Care are available to help as much or as little as you like. We observe stringent health protocols and while they aren’t designated tech experts, our caregivers are certainly happy to support seniors with technology in any way they can. 

We’re Here To Support Seniors Any Way We Can

Contact us to schedule a free in-home assessment or to learn more about home care services and how they enhance senior health, wellbeing, and quality of life. 

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