If you are new to technology, it is easier to understand the tools available to you than ever before. Below are a few basics to help you start:
Email is a great way for seniors to stay in touch with family, friends, care givers, and medical professionals. Most email services are free and simple to use, allowing seniors to send and receive documents, photos, and other types of media as attachments. Always keep privacy and safety in mind and remember:
• Create a safe password for your email account. Make sure that it is unique, and keep a written copy of it a safe place.
• Don’t let everyone know your password – if you need share it, do so only with someone you trust, like family or a very close friend.
• Always log out of your account when you are finished using your email, especially if you use publicly shared computers.
• Never click on links and don’t download attachments. You should also never open mail from someone you don’t know.
• Do not open or respond to anything in your “Spam” folder.
• Never send your social security number, bank account information, or any private information like detailed medical records in an email.
• Make sure your virus protection software is current and all computer software is up to date.
Facebook is a wonderful way for seniors to stay connected to family and meet new friends. Users can share photos, stories, and videos, and seniors can make new friends with similar interests. Always remember to protect your privacy on social media, so take the following precautions:
• Think carefully about what you choose to share and who can see it.
• Check your privacy settings: you can show content only to close friends and family, or share it publicly so that it may be seen by anyone on Facebook. Be certain of which option you have chosen.
• When asked to authorize a game or an app, find out if those programs share your information or collect information about you.
• Enabling email or text message login alerts to let you know when anyone logs into your account without your permission.
Skype makes it possible for users to employ a camera and microphone attached to or built in to a computer to chat with friends and family. Skype is free to all other Skype users, and offers a great way to stay in touch with loved ones who can’t travel or visit. Skype allows users to send files and photos, screen share, call landline and mobile phones, create video messages, and participate in group videos and chats.
The modern world has been changed forever by wireless internet and mobile device. Seniors benefit from these changes in a number of obvious ways. Medical alert apps and GPS technology make if possible for seniors to enjoy freedom they have not previously had. Many devices are even made with the goal to make it easier for seniors to interact with the internet.
- iPads & Tablets
Seniors often prefer tablets because they have a portable screen that is larger and easier to read than most smart phones. Touch screen operation and larger keyboards make it possible for those with arthritis and other limitations to use them. The battery life of a tablet also often exceeds that of a cell phone.
Nearly one third of all Americans own a smartphone, and a large margin of this statistic is made up of seniors because smartphones allow for greater freedom. Smartphones make it easy for seniors to make new friends, surf the web, and stay in touch with friends and loved ones, which in turn help seniors avoid isolation and stay active. There are also several modern cell phone models intended for seniors and those with visual and other impairments.
Health trackers can be especially useful to seniors. Wearable health trackers have been successfully used to help motivate seniors to set health goals and develop better overall well-being. Most health trackers are simple to use and monitor heart rates for those with exercise restrictions. Health trackers are constantly being developed and improved to do more. Many take a series of measurements that monitor general health, including features like calorie counters and sleep monitors.
Technology can a useful tool for any senior who wants to remain independent and connected. Learn a few basics and you’ll be able to improve your life!