Technology all around us

Today it is easy to see the technology all around us. In fact, it is hard to miss. It is everywhere. While we see the new technologies in the hands of the younger generations, we, as seniors, may not be using technology as readily. Some may say technology has passed us by because it was not a part of our experiences as we grew up. Some seniors may not embrace technology, but many others are seizing the new devices and the opportunities to learn.

Why use technology?

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Why not use technology? It has infiltrated our lives on every level. Go to the doctors office and take note of the electronic chart records. Buy a new appliance and learn to program it for your use. Pick up a TV remote and pick your way around (especially when a visiting relative has changed it) to find your favorite channel. Try to contact a governmental agency or file your taxes the government wants you to contact them online.

Challenges

Today an increasing number of seniors are learning and taking advantage of the technologies that are being introduced. One of the challenges may be a lag because we are creatures of habit. The old saying If it isn't broken, don't fix it may be a mantra we uphold. Or it may be a fear of the new technology or device itself. Seniors may dread the idea of breaking the device or getting someplace on the device that they can't get out of. (You may remember a grandson, sitting in the backseat, navigating through your unfamiliar device, only to rapidly retrieve the information you we're unsuccessfully seeking. It has happened to me! ) Remember that our youth have grown up with technology. They have no fear of it. They do not remember when we had one phone in the house, attached to a cord, attached to the wall. It is unimaginable for them. So they pick up new devices and explore, explore, explore, to find out how they perform. Dont be afraid to explore your devices.

Positive Impacts

Our demographics have changed in recent years. The number of seniors has risen as the baby boomers have aged. And we are living longer. Seniors are also seeking to live more independently for a greater period of time. Technology helps in all of these areas and many others. If we embrace the new "gadgets," we can accomplish (and enjoy) much more in our senior years.

Today our seniors are using technology for a multitude of reasons. Smartphones, tablets, and ebook readers are becoming commonplace. Seniors are using technology for social connections, for safety and for exercise. Theres an app for that covers about every subject you can imagine, from counting your daily steps (pedometer), to food counts, to games or digital sharing.

Communication has changed. While some may lament the loss of personal contact, the new meaning of being in contact has been redefined. Since I have begun texting in recent years, I have found that I am talking to my family and friends more frequently than before. Via texting, there is no longer a need for voicemail or a long phone conversation that the recipient does not have time for. If someone receives a text and they are not able to respond, they usually ignore it and get back to me when they are available. If there is a need for a more detailed conversation, an actual phone call can happen, which is nice. And having more contact with the grands via texting can be fun. It is just their style. My recommendation is to keep several of them on speed dial as tech help when needed. Let them help you. They may think you a helpless oldie, but that is okay. They will know you are thinking of them and that you are admiring their knowledge of the tech world today.

Dont even get me started on the value of Skype or Facetime when keeping in touch with the grands. What fun that is for everyone! Grandparents can instantaneously see school work, achievements or artwork. (If you have deployed military service members, check out the Viber app for your phone to stay connected. This app offers free phone and texting and is wonderful when a service member is overseas.)

Influencing our Seniors to get on board

So if you, or your senior, is not really using the tech world to their advantage today, just give them a little encouragement. Be patient. Spend some quality time with them. Seniors, get some help if needed. Youngsters, be willing to show your seniors tech tasks more than once. Remember that seniors are generally part of the paper generation. Take notes. Go slow. Start with the basics wherever the learner is comfortable ad then build on that. They will get it.

Seniors can begin learning to text on their smart phones. Many seniors love photos. Learn digital sharing of family pics. Want funny cat or dog videos? Learn Youtube. Want hobbies? Learn Pinterest. Want the world outside our door? Learn Twitter. The possibilities are endless. Once seniors have mastered devices that are common today,they will be more accepting of new technologies on the horizon.

Many of our seniors spend a great deal of time by themselves. Ward off negativity by keeping connected. Church services, gaming, skype, finding old friends, the weather, tracking health issues, and even doing family history are all at our seniors fingertips. And these are the things they are often involved in.

Where to start

Seek help at your local library for computer access. Many have free courses available. Also check out your local municipalities and colleges for classes. Seek tech workshops in your area. Enlist a child or grandchild for help. Many times I google a question online for an answer to a puzzling task. The search engines will provide an immediate answer to my question, right at my fingertips. And don't give up. Technology will enrich your life.

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Posted in Home Post Date 09/23/2020


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