Technology has vastly changed and improved the way that people communicate with each other. From the humble beginnings of letters and envelopes, to the near-instant text and video chats of today, there are a variety of ways to stay in touch with your loved ones.
Many seniors are becoming more tech-savvy and turning to the digital landscape to maintain contact with others, for entertainment, or to learn new things. A recent study from Pew Research Center shows that internet use among seniors has risen steadily since 2000, when just 14% of seniors were internet users. Today, 67% of adults ages 65 and older say they go online.
Pew Research Center also reports that older adults are the fastest-growing segment of the online population. Not only that, but seniors who use technology feel more connected to others, are better engaged in the community and world around them and are more informed about current events.
Mobile phones and smartphones have become a staple for people of many ages. You may find that having a cell phone can help you keep in touch with the people you care about. There are numerous benefits to having a cell phone, including:
Once you determine what you need out of a cell phone, you can start looking at different options and devices to best suit your needs. If you prefer to keep things simple, some companies provide basic flip phones that have a straightforward keyboard and screen. For some seniors, larger phones with a touchscreen may be more practical to use due to vision or arthritis concerns.
Tablets can provide much of the functionality of a personal computer, while still being small and light enough to carry around like a phone. Tablets can be helpful for seniors who might feel overwhelmed by a bulky computer or are on the move and still want to keep in contact with others.
Tablets work a bit differently than laptops or computers. Tablets are used for a few functions at a time, such as checking social media or websites. They can also be used to text or video chat, depending on your phone plan and compatibility. Additionally, the screen size can be changed easily to make pages and font sizes larger or smaller, depending on your comfort level.
Voice chats and video calls are a great way to take advantage of technology to stay connected to your loved ones. This visual way of communicating is the next best thing if a face-to-face conversation isn’t feasible. And, you can use these programs from a cell phone, tablet, or laptop or desktop computer.
There are a host of programs available that provide free voice chat and video chat. Many cell phone providers offer the ability to record your voice and send that recording to your friends and family. Some devices also allow video chat during a phone call as well. If you’re an Apple user, the Facetime app is a popular way to see someone live during a conversation.
Skype is an easy-to-use program that lets you connect with other users, no matter your device or cell phone plan. It includes text-based chat capability and allows you to call other Skype users via voice chat, video chat or both. You can also call a mobile phone or landline, but a fee is required to do so.
We already know that social interaction has a variety of benefits for your physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. Besides the three examples above, there are a variety of online message boards and social media groups where you can connect with others who share your hobbies and interests. You can chat about your favorite books and movies or share craft ideas and gardening tips with your new friends.
At Peabody Retirement Community, our residents enjoy using technology to stay healthy, engaged and connected to those they love. We offer internet access in our resident library and Wii Active gaming sessions several times a month so seniors can burn calories and socialize at the same time!
If you’d like to learn more about technology at Peabody, including our SMART home and upcoming “Sip and Swipe” event series, please contact us at 260-982-0786.