Tech adoption among older adults is on the rise, and for a good reason: Technology opens the door to many exciting opportunities, including everything from the ability to connect with far-off loved ones to tracking fitness and health. Here’s a closer look at the many benefits of technology for seniors, along with an overview of a Deupree House class designed to help community members make the most of these valuable tools.
Seniors and Technology
Today’s seniors are more digitally connected than ever before. Mobile device usage, in particular, has grown in recent years, with seven in 10 adults over the age of 50 now owning a smartphone. Additionally, nine out of 10 older smartphone owners say they primarily use their device to send texts and emails, and more than three-quarters use it for directions or traffic information. Other popular activities include surfing the web, finding news, and accessing social media.
Technology certainly makes life more convenient. But it also has a myriad of other benefits for seniors, starting with decreased isolation. According to research published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, “Close relationships are a large determinant of physical health and well-being, and technology has the potential to cultivate successful relationships among older adults.”
Entertainment, mental and physical stimulation, medication management, and enhanced safety are just a few of the other ways technology make senior lives better.
Bridging the Gap
While technology can do big things for seniors, its impact hinges on the degree to which it’s utilized. Simply put, seniors who understand and use technology to its fullest will reap the most significant gains.
Enter Deupree House’s innovative class on iPhone and iPad usage. Taught by Bryan Reynolds, vice president of marketing and public relations at ERS, the course starts with an introduction to the basics, including entering and managing contacts, accessing the Calendar and Maps applications, using the camera and managing photos, and sending emails and text messages.
The class also covers more advanced features, such as the many uses of SiriⓇ, including placing calls, reading and sending text messages, making grocery lists, and setting timers; an overview of the different types of music apps and how to use them; and other useful and interesting apps, including Waze, Starbucks, Kroger, Apple Wallet, Find My iPhone, and more.
“Some older adults struggle with many basic tasks, so learning the basic features is very important,” Reynolds says. “I like to balance that with slightly more advanced information, so they can understand how powerful of a tool they have and can use the iPhone to improve their daily lives.”
Reynolds also addresses senior-specific barriers to technology adoption. “Since older adults often have vision problems and/or issues with touch, we work on accessibility features to help them increase the font size and use Siri and dictation features to accomplish many tasks,” he says.
Need another reason to get on board the technology train? Researchers have connected both lifelong learning and a positive attitude toward technology with better psychological and social well-being in old age. In other words, a better outlook about learning new technology leads to a better outlook about life in general.
“When it comes to tech adoption, seniors generally lag behind their younger counterparts. But for Americans ages 65 and older who own a smartphone, having one in their pocket is a liberating experience,” proposes Pew Research Center.
Deupree House’s class on iPhone and iPad usage is just one of the many ways our personal care community supports the positive aging process as well as the holistic health and well-being of our residents. To learn more about Deupree House or schedule a tour and experience this unique community for yourself, click here.