Seniors and Technology — Embracing the Digital Age
While seniors are generally considered “late adopters” for most technology, more and more older people are beginning to embrace the digital age. According to Pew Research, almost 60% of American seniors over age 65 are now online, a number that is increasing rapidly each year.
Another recent study by Pew Research on older Americans’ use of technology reveals several interesting trends about how many seniors are using the latest gadgets and tools. A few of the perks seniors experience with their technology usage:
Bridging the technology generation gap
It’s apparent that more and more seniors are ready and willing to jump on the technology bandwagon. But as evidenced in the earlier viral video of the grandparents trying to video chat, learning how to use computers and smartphones isn’t always second-nature to seniors. Some find it intimidating or just plain frustrating. Others are eager to learn how to use the devices but are concerned about the associated costs.
Continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs, also known as a life plan communities) across the country have noted this trend of increasingly tech-savvy seniors…or at least seniors who would like to become more comfortable with technology. As a result, these communities are exploring creative new ways to meet their residents’ desire for greater connectivity.
Wi-Fi access: More and more retirement communities are providing residents with high-speed wireless internet service (also known as Wi-Fi), which allows seniors to get online no matter where they are within the facility. It is also important to note that high-speed internet is a necessity for video chatting (such as Skype or FaceTime), a popular activity for seniors who live far from loved ones.
Educational classes: Teach a person to fish and they will eat for life–some CCRCs provide residents with training sessions on how to use digital devices like tablets and smartphones, how to use social sites like Facebook, or how to Skype or FaceTime with a grandchild. Students from local high schools or colleges are also volunteering their time at certain retirement centers to teach residents about the latest online tools; it’s a great opportunity for intergenerational learning!
Getting seniors wired
Staying in touch with friends and loved ones is beneficial to the mental health of seniors, and with today’s digital devices, it is easier than ever to keep connected. If you live in a CCRC and are interested in learning how to use the latest technology, check with your programs director to see if training classes are offered or could be formed. Intro to technology classes are also offered by some public libraries, senior centers, or community colleges. There’s no time like the present–so get online and start surfing!
The above article was written by Brad Breeding of myLifeSite and is legally licensed for use.