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Homewatch CareGivers Blog

Technology for All Ages

by Homewatch CareGivers | Feb 24, 2015
There are many opportunities for people over the age of 50 to learn how to get the most out their technological devices for more meaningful experiences.

computer and smart phone
Technology seems like a young person’s thing: all those “intuitive” buttons that aren’t necessarily intuitive to anyone over the age of 30, much less 50. However, there is so much that can be done with an iPhone or an iPad that enriches the lives of people of all ages.

Often when we talk about using technology for elders, it is in reference to remote care technology to keep someone safe in their home. This type of technology includes PERS—Personal Emergency Response Systems—in the form of buttons worn on the body to be activated in the event of a fall or fire or other calamity. Remote care technology includes all kinds of devices and programs that help with medication reminders, sending automatic alerts when there is a change in daily routine of an elder loved one, sharing of health data, and more. While such technology is very important and useful, there are more and more people of retirement age logging on to use social media and technology for…fun.

By the Numbers

In 2013 the Pew Research Center released a report that showed 60% of people aged 50 to 64 years old are on at least one social media site, with Facebook being the most popular. The study showed that baby boomers spend 27 hours per week online—more than people aged 16 to 34 years old. The website www.sociallystacked.com reported that Twitter had a 79 percent increase in the 55 to 64 year old age bracket from 2012 to 2014, where they found online communities for their interests.

The Huffington Post has a “Seniors and Technology” section with articles about the social media site Twitter, how women over 60 use the internet, software that helps seniors get online, and more. Rather than divide generations, new devices have the potential to bring grandkids and grandparents together. There are programs around the country in which teens and college students go to retirement communities or hold classes just for elders to teach them about the latest technology.

AARP has created AARP TEK with in-person free workshops around the country that teach people 50 and over get the most out of using their tech devices. AARP President Jeannine English recently wrote about how, “Tech Aids Our Independence.”

Just for Fun

There are apps and programs—many free—that will appeal to people over 50 and even close to age 100:

  1. 1.Stitch. It’s a matchmaking app for “mature adults.” The first response to this might be a giggle, but the reality is that people long to connect and have meaningful companionship throughout their lives. Stitch is not restricted to people looking for a date. Here, people can find “travel buddies, hiking partners, concertgoers,” and the like. Isolation and loneliness are serious concerns for elders, and companionship is not a trivial pursuit but a way to keep growing and learning at every age.
  2. Facetime or Skype. These are both free ways to make “video calls” to anyone with a computer, iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch. Even when the whole family cannot make a trip to visit a dear friend or relative, they can all see one another and catch up face to face in real time.
  3. 3.Fitbit. It’s important to stay healthy and active, and keeping track of one’s performance turns it into a game or a conversation. These colorful wristbands are all the rage and there is a wide variety of prices, styles, and performance measurement tools to choose from.
  4. 4.Scrabble. Many classic games are now available as apps that can be played on iPads and smartphones. Crossword puzzles, solitaire card games, and more can be played digitally with friends.

When it comes to the latest and greatest digital device, embrace it and see what the possibilities might be for you or an elder loved one.