Family, Social Tech

Helping Seniors Stay In Touch with New Technology

Seniors, especially those who live alone, need regular social interactions to stay mentally and emotionally healthy. While using a traditional home phone is a great way to stay in touch, introduce your elderly loved one to senior-friendly technology that will give them more ways to connect with friends and family.

Mobile phones for seniors

For some seniors, the best way to stay in touch will be on the phone. If this is true for your senior loved one, look into mobile phones that are created with seniors in mind. There are few characteristics to keep in mind, including screen size, versatility, and emergency features.

If you’re getting your senior a smartphone, find one with a screen large enough for them to easily navigate. Look for and learn about using accessibility features that can help your loved one, including icons that can be enlarged. Another great phone feature for seniors is text size magnification: make sure the phone can have large text size if your senior has trouble reading text on screens. What’s more, Gizmodo points out smartphones can be made to read text out loud, and dictation can be a boon to those struggling with typing on a touchscreen.

When picking out a phone for your senior, consider its versatility. If it’s unlikely your loved one will be using their phone to draft emails and take photos, a simple flip phone might suffice. However, if you want the ability to video chat with your loved one, get a smartphone that can support video calls. If your elderly loved one usually learns new technology quickly, find a smartphone that can support apps that will enrich their lives and make their phones more versatile.

Tablets for seniors

If your senior doesn’t like to use their phone for video calling and emailing, a tablet might be a better option. Sunrise Senior Living points out that tablets are helpful for seniors for a number of reasons: a larger screen can make it easier to navigate, and video chatting will be more enjoyable on a bigger screen.

Be sure to pick out handy accessories for their tablet, such as a keyboard to ease emailing and a case that can stand on its own for easier video chatting. Help them download fun apps that allow them to read, play games, and even remember to take their medications.

Helping your senior with technology

While assistance with picking out a new gadget is helpful, it’s also a good idea to help your senior loved one learn how to use a new device. Spend some time with them and help set up their new phone or tablet, including password set-up and downloading apps they might like.

Have them practice using their phone or tablet while you’re with them, and give them a few things to try out such as taking a photo, making a video call, or drafting an email. It’s one thing to show them how to use it, but it’s more helpful for them in the long run if they can practice using their new device with your guidance.

Internet access

As you help your senior loved one learn how to use their new device, make sure you also test their internet connectivity to ensure they can video chat and connect with ease. Accessing fast and reliable service is possible even if your loved one lives in a rural area without broadband.

Along with checking their internet connection, be sure to help set up their router with a unique password. Digital security is important and should be considered for each new device on a network. Help your senior learn about digital security, because often the elderly are targeted for scams.

When you consider ways to help your senior use new technology to stay in touch, look into smartphone characteristics such as large screens, accessible features, and big buttons. Along with helping them pick out the right devices, help them learn how to use and navigate through their new electronics. And, be sure to assist them with boosting their internet speeds and promoting digital security before you let them loose on the world wide web.

Caribu is a safe and secure way for seniors to connect with their loved ones in an interactive video-call! Choose from 1000s of books and activities in Caribu’s in-app library. Use your phone, tablet, or home computer to read, play, and color with your grandchildren in a virtual playdate.

You can read the complete article in the Atlantic Highlights Herald.

Mary Shannon, Helping Seniors Stay In Touch with New Technology, September 23rd, 2020,