The number of internet savvy seniors is growing. As a result, many technology companies are creating apps and internet tools to help an older generation of users. Maybe you’ve already dipped your toe in the digital pool or are still sitting near the edge, waiting to make the plunge. Whatever your comfort with technology, we hope this post will inspire you to find technology that helps enrich your life.
Connect with family and friends
Whether you have a desktop computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone, there are plenty of opportunities to connect with your family and friends.
Facebook with over two billion monthly users is the most popular social media website. There is no cost to join, and all you need is an email address to get started. Once on Facebook, you can search for your friends and family, add them as your “friend,” and visit their “timeline” to see pictures and videos they have posted. Facebook is a great way to connect with family that is far away or friends that you haven’t seen in awhile. Facebook also has a great support page that helps you understand the lingo and features of the website.
Skype is an app that allows you to video call your friends and family from anywhere in the world. The program has two services. It’s free for computer to computer calls, meaning you can call or video chat your friends from your computer to their computer. And if you don’t mind paying, you can make calls from your computer to a landline.
Most smartphones and tablets also come with the ability to video chat and text message. This technology makes it easier for seniors to connect with family that lives far away or that they are not able to see very often.
Online games are another great way to connect with friends that you cannot regularly see face to face. If you like crosswords and vocabulary games, try Words with Friends, a digital version of Scrabble, allows you to play multiple games at a time, with anyone in the world. Or maybe you prefer visual games. Draw Something, a digital version of Pictionary, allows you to challenge friends and family to illustrate and guess an array of wacky words.
Enrich your daily experience
For tablet and smartphone owners, there are plenty of entertainment options available. Whether you have an e-reader or not, iBooks and Kindle make apps available for any device, allowing you to carry all your favorite books on a small device. Or if you prefer audiobooks, perhaps Audible or Hoopla will work best for you. Many libraries also have digital collections where you can borrow a few titles at a time, so you do not have to buy every book you wish to listen to or read.
Video subscription services like Netflix and Hulu also offer hours of entertainment. Both allow on-demand viewing of any television program or movie of your choice. The catalogs of both services have a program in every genre.
Maybe instead of movies or books, you would rather listen to some music. Online services like Pandora and Spotify allow users to listen to hours and hours of your favorite songs. Pandora, custom creates a radio station for you, essentially giving you endless listening in the genre of your choice. Say for instance, you would like to listen to Billie Holiday, Pandora will create a station of her music, peppering in other artists that sound similar to Lady Day.
Spotify, on the other hand, offers you more flexibility in what you listen to. On Spotify, you can select artists, albums or compilations and listen to it from one song to the next. You can also create playlists of your favorite music or use a Spotify generated playlist.
Boost your health
There are several different types of applications for your smartphone or tablet that allow seniors to monitor key aspects of their health. With ease, you can measure and enhance your approach to self-care.
One tech option to monitor your activity is to wear a fitness tracker. There are several products on the market that offer this service, Fitbit is the best known. Most fitness trackers look like a wrist band or watch, but have a wireless connection that can be setup to feed information to your smartphone or tablet. Though different products offer different features, most fitness trackers keep record of your steps, heart rate, and sleep activity.
Another group of tech experts are helping people remember to take their medications. Apps, such as Medisafe, make your mobile phone buzz and ring when it is time to take your medications.
Some technology can be intimidating at first, but the more familiar you are with different technological devices, the easier it will be for you try new tools. Also, there are plenty of resources to help you explore the digital landscape. Your local library may have classes, and many senior living facilities hold computer training sessions.