Now more than ever before, it’s important for seniors to connect with their loved ones and engage in the world around them — even if they’re doing it from the safety of their homes. Senior isolation and loneliness are growing concerns amidst COVID-19, but tech devices like smartphones, laptops, tablets, and e-readers give older adults a chance to stay in touch with the outside world and pursue their passions while staying safe at home. To explore some of the best tech tools for seniors, check out these suggestions.
Smartphones, Laptops, and Tablets
Among some of the most common senior-friendly tech devices are smartphones, laptops, and tablets. These devices can help seniors connect with their loved ones, learn new skills and hobbies, get help in an emergency, pursue passions, and experience a better quality of life overall. Here’s what makes technology so great, especially in the age of COVID-19:
- Video chatting. Seniors can use smartphones, tablets, and laptops with built-in webcams to video chat with loved ones via popular apps such as Zoom or Skype. According to Lifehacker, FaceTime, Facebook Messenger Lite, and WhatsApp are some of the simplest video chat apps for seniors.
- Calling, texting, emailing, and sending photos. Seniors can use their smartphones to send and receive phone calls, text messages, emails, and photos. Plus, they can access a variety of mobile apps such as MedWatcher, Senior Phone, and Kindle.
- Browsing the internet. Since laptops and tablets feature larger screens, these tech devices are perfect for visiting social media sites, playing online games, watching videos, and browsing the internet. Plus, seniors can join online communities and connect with other older adults from anywhere in the world.
- Volunteering. Through AARP and other websites such as VolunteerMatch and DoSomething.org, seniors can find remote volunteer opportunities that allow them to pursue their passions from home.
- Books, podcasts, and audiobooks. With their tech devices, seniors can listen to podcasts and audiobooks — and read electronic books, magazines, and newspapers.
Before accessing the internet, seniors need to have a plan in place for protecting themselves from identity theft and other types of suspicious activity. Check out Verizon’s tips and guides to learn all about identity theft protection, cybersecurity, and online safety.
Educational Apps and Websites
In addition to using their tablets, laptops, and smartphones to video chat with loved ones, browse the internet, and search for remote volunteer opportunities, seniors can continue their education with online courses, programs, and tutorials. It’s never too late to learn something new, and the internet makes learning easier than ever.
According to Helen Jarden of MoneyPantry, educational websites like Alison, Academic Earth, Coursera, Khan Academy, and Duolingo offer free online courses for seniors. Coursera, for instance, offers free courses on everything from psychology and marketing to nutrition and animal welfare. Seniors can also put their creative abilities to the test with free drawing and sketching classes. As another option for seniors: an abundance of free online tutorials and classes are available on YouTube, including those on knitting, calligraphy, yoga, dance, sewing, cooking, and more. Whatever their hobbies, skills, and passions may be, seniors can find everything they’re looking for online.
The Bottom Line
If you or your senior loved one is struggling physically or mentally amidst COVID-19, some other strategies can help. In addition to using technology to connect with others, exercising daily, eating nutritiously, and rekindling old hobbies and passions are some of the best ways seniors can improve mental and physical health.
With access to the internet, seniors can easily reconnect with their passions and learn new hobbies, which will help to keep their minds and bodies healthy, young, and happy as they grow older. And for more tips and resources that empower seniors to age well, connect with Doris Bersing for geriatric consultation. Schedule a counseling session today.