This is a continuation of THIS ARTICLE we published back in 2020.
This topic is more relevant in a post-pandemic world than ever before.
Staying in touch with friends and family is difficult when you are stuck at home, yet that is a situation that an increasing number of older adults find themselves in. Prolonged isolation can result in severe consequences for emotional and physical health, particularly for seniors. Fortunately, even when you cannot physically engage with loved ones, modern technology makes it possible to stay connected.
Take a look at our website at Regency Nursing Centers for authoritative content on this and other related healthcare topics.
Explore Senior-Friendly Hardware Options
The right hardware choice depends on how (and how much) you plan to use your new device. Occasional users may be fine merely sticking with a smartphone and downloading a specific app, say for a favorite game, for social media or for video chatting. However, if you are planning to engage in lifelong learning classes in addition to occasional interaction with your friends and family, then you may want to invest in a more robust product. Familiarizing yourself with current hardware options will facilitate a decision.
Desktop computers are an excellent solution for anyone who uses their device in a set location. If you add a webcam and microphone, you can easily use a traditional desktop or all-in-one system for everything from email to video calls. They tend to offer more features for a lower price than more portable options, making them a reliable choice if you want a robust system that won’t break the bank.
A laptop can be slightly more expensive than a comparably equipped desktop but offers the advantage of portability. Shopping online opens the door to many great deals on laptops, especially if you are willing to forgo the newest advances for a more basic machine.
You don’t need to have a traditional computer to stay connected through technology. Tablets are incredibly lightweight and portable, and they offer a simple, intuitive user experience. Prices and features can vary. Thinking about how you will use it (for gaming, video chat, email, e-reading, etc.) will help you find the right model for your needs. Some models can be added to a cellular data plan, so you don’t have to worry about a separate internet connection if you don’t already have one.
Seniors who aren’t tech savvy and aren’t interested in learning have other options, too; there are monitor-type devices that are exclusively for video calls, or they can verbally command their automated assistant to place audio calls.
The internet makes it possible to play games with your loved ones, even if they live far away. For instance, if you’re a wordsmith, why not invite a family member to hop online and play a round of online Scrabble? Or you could jump on the bandwagon of senior gamers and play a console game that’s designed to play with friends. Whether you play on the computer, your smartphone, or a device like a PlayStation or Xbox, make sure your internet connection is up to par so you have a smooth experience and play without interruption. 5G has become the standard for game play, so check with your local provider to find out if it’s available.
Try New Software Choices
As there are numerous programs offering video conferencing and video calls, a few software upgrades may be all you need to enjoy this no-longer-futuristic option. In fact, if you already have a smartphone, you might be surprised to learn that you also already have video calling capabilities. Downloading a video call app like Skype or Portal to your phone makes communication feel more personal. Business Insider notes video calls can be made between iPhones and Androids, too, thanks to several apps that cross the brand divide.
Seek Out Accessibility Features
Aging brings about physical changes that, while perfectly normal, can make using some technology difficult. While there is no denying that barriers keeping seniors from embracing technology do exist, you are probably already overcoming them in other aspects of daily life. For example, you may have adapted to presbyopia with reading glasses or a magnifier or rely on a jar opener to overcome arthritis-weakened hands. The same adaptability can help you find technology that accommodates any physical limitations while helping you meet emotional and social needs.
Manufacturers and developers have increased accessibility features in recent years, and you should look for them as you search for the right device. Choosing a senior-friendly font in a size, style, and color that is easy to read improves the user experience—Fonts.com suggests at least 12 point text—and voice recognition makes accessing programs and information virtually effortless.
Technology can help you stay in touch with family and friends, even when you are confined to home. Choosing the right hardware for what you want to do and then looking for compatible software that accommodates any barriers you face will help you stay connected and minimize some of the complications of isolation.