Evolving technology can present challenges for all of us. If you currently have a senior parent, you are old enough to remember a time before cell phones were ubiquitous, when you needed a floppy disk in order to save information from one computer and place it on another, and cassette tapes were the norm when listening to music. What did you think the first time you heard someone was “doing away with their land line,” when you saw a tiny USB flash drive for the first time, or when your friends replaced their Walkmans with Discmans? If you approached any of this new technology with skepticism, it gives you a small idea of how your parents must feel with all of the technology constantly changing around them.
However your aging parents may protest, there are definitely some pieces of technology you should work toward helping them embrace, for the sheer fact that these items can make their lives easier.
- Hearing Aids – Make sure your parents understand the hearing aids of today are not the same as the bulky ones they saw their grandparents wearing when they were kids. Options are now available to have hearing aids implanted inside your ears! External hearing aids can also be designed to be very small and transparent to the point that they are close to invisible.
- Tablet Computers – iPads and other tablet computers are extremely lightweight, and their touchscreen features make them easy to operate. They are also ideal for seniors because it is very simple to adjust font sizes on their screens to ones that are easier for the individual to read. Tablet computers allow you to read books, listen to music, play games, catch up with the news, and more – all in one small package.
- Wireless Internet – Once your parents have a tablet, they will definitely want wireless internet in order to avoid racking up expensive data charges. Make sure to have the wireless internet professionally installed, and that the proper security is in place to keep outsiders from accessing their personal information.
- Smartphones and GPS – Smartphones have evolved over the years and now come in some versions that have larger buttons and readouts in an effort to be easier for seniors to use. A smartphone is obviously a convenient, portable way to get in touch with friends and family, but it can be so much more. For example, they can be pre-programmed with a variety of important phone numbers to be used in the event of an emergency. They can also be loaded with applications that can help seniors monitor their health, remind them to take medications, log their exercise, and track their food intake to make sure their nutritional needs are being met. Perhaps most critically, smartphones contain Global Positioning System (GPS) technology. This is extremely valuable if you have loved ones who are concerned about getting lost while driving to new places. It is also a technology that can be used to locate a loved one if they have dementia, a condition which often causes people to wander off without telling anyone where they are going.