In today’s modern era, technology plays a major part in our everyday lives. This comes as no surprise, as technology has been rapidly improving over the past decade, but the pace at which technology progresses is extremely fast and it can be easy to get overwhelmed with the ever-changing information.
As a senior citizen, you may have been told to “embrace technology” and you likely have been encouraged by your children or grandchildren to become more technologically adept. As you may know, this is easier said than done. The fact of the matter is, the technology carries a huge learning curve with every invention, and the dynamic, ever-changing nature of technology makes it hard to stay on top of everything.
More recently, technology has been created to help senior citizens age in place and live more productive lives. This includes screen magnification on your smartphone, fitness trackers, and health trackers that can fit in your pocket. However, despite the fact that senior citizens are being recognized in the digital space, many may not know how to mainstream themselves in this world. According to UCSD researcher Shengzhi Wang, Frustration and lack of confidence in one’s self seems to be a significant barrier when it comes to a senior pursuing technology.
It is easy to tell someone “just be patient with it” or “don’t worry, you’ll get the hang of it” but patience and confidence can only get a user so far if they are not equipped with the skills to use technology in the first place. One of the most important things you can do to avoid information overload — and to save yourself some time frustration — is to know what technology you actually need. Below is a list of useful technologies you can use every day.
This one is essential. Smartphones are great as you can use its capabilities as much as you want, or as little as you want. The nice thing about smartphones is that third party creators can create apps (downloadable content on a mobile device) that can do almost anything. You can use your smartphone to do everything a normal phone can do such as text and make calls and so much more. Lots of technology integrates with your smartphone as well, so this is a useful device to purchase. You can go to your cell phone carrier’s store to purchase a smartphone, and the sales associate will help you set everything up, making the process as hassle-free as possible.
A smartwatch is a wearable computer that takes the form of a wristwatch. This may seem gimmicky at first, why would you need a computer on your wrist. However, a smartwatch does so much more than just tell time. One of smartwatch’s biggest features is that they track your health. Watches such as the Apple Watch and the Samsung Galaxy Watch can track your health and fitness. These watches are also equipped with heart monitors which will let you know if there are any inconsistencies in your heart rate. With a smartwatch, you can set daily fitness goals for yourself so you can remember to stay active.
Falls are one of the main causes of injuries in older adults, and many falls occur in the home. To reduce this risk, you can have smart lights installed in your home. Smart lights are lights that can be turned on or off with your smartphone or with a voice assistant such as Amazon Echo or Alexa. This means that you never have to worry about walking in the dark in order to turn on the lights.
Smart Stove Shutoff
Have you ever left the house and wondered “did I remember to turn off the stove?” This issue is not limited to seniors, but everyone. Many companies make smart stove shutoff products that will automatically turn off the stove if it senses inactivity near your stove. This can be a lifesaver for those who may be forgetful but love to cook.
Smart products have dominated the tech industry, and you may still be overwhelmed with all of the products on the market. If that is the case, you can always go to websites such as YouTube where you can search for video tutorials on how to complete certain tasks. Remember, technology is hard to understand, and learning technology won’t happen overnight. If you are still uneasy, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Companies such as Apple hold information sessions to help familiarize yourself with new tech, and you can always ask a loved one for help as well!