Use Tech to Decrease Social Isolation and Loneliness in Seniors

Technology keeps seniors connected, but can be tough for them to use. Get 3 key steps for finding devices that are practical and easy to use.

Devices like smartphones and tablets keep seniors safe and connected, but can be challenging for them to use. ONSCREEN shares 3 key steps for finding technology devices that are practical and easy for seniors to use.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, many of us – particularly older adults – were impacted by social isolation and loneliness. 

The use of technology like smartphones and tablets increased, but that didn’t resolve the issue for everyone. 

Many older adults are affected by age-related changes that impact their ability to use mobile devices with smaller screens and higher complexity, so they couldn’t easily use these technologies.

So how do you identify tech devices that are practical, easy to use, keep seniors connected, and help them feel secure?

We’ve highlighted 3 key steps for finding a technology device that’s a good fit for your older adult.

 

1. Identify the considerations: what will make this work?

Some of the key considerations that older adults and their family caregivers face in selecting technology devices include

  • Ease of use – devices should be designed with older adults in mind and focus on simplicity
  • Cost – the device should provide value, both for the technology itself and any recurring services.
  • Installation and setup – identify the person who will perform the installation and setup of the device. If the older adult needs to set it up themselves, take that into consideration before making a purchase.
  • Privacy and security – consider the track record of the company you’re purchasing from and how they keep customer data secure.

For example, you could connect with your grandmother via smartphone video calls – but the cost of a monthly cellular plan and the complexity of a smartphone means it won’t be a great solution for her. She may find that a bigger screen and a simpler device are easier to use.

 

2. What are the priorities?

Before choosing a technology device, it’s important to understand what matters most to your older adult and the family. 

What does your older adult need most? A larger screen, automated video call answering, automatic check-ins, the ability to share video content, etc?

Will you need to find a tutorial or help to get them started using the device? Some helpful resources include OATS (Older Adults Technology Services) and local classes at the public library or senior center.

 

3. Questions to ask when considering a technology device for seniors

  1. Does it meet my older adult’s primary needs?
  2. How easy is the device for my older adult to use?
  3. Is there reliable customer support?
  4. Are there product reviews by older adults or family caregivers?
  5. What else can this device do in addition to making video or voice calls? Can we share photos, use Zoom, or get updates on their well-being?
  6. Is the older adult willing to try – and use – the device?

 

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Guest contributor: Costin Tuculescu is CEO of ONSCREEN Inc, whose mission is to reduce isolation and keep families connected by making video calling with older adults as easy as stopping by. With the use of large, bright TV screens, auto-answering capabilities, automated daily wellness check-ins and a low-cost monthly subscription, the company is removing barriers to connection.

 

This article wasn’t sponsored and doesn’t contain affiliate links. For more information, see How We Make Money.


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