Never Too Old for Tech: 3 Useful Gadgets for the Elderly
In an instant, life as we know it has been put on pause — and we all know what’s responsible: the Coronavirus outbreak.
But that’s not to say that there haven’t been some positives, as few and far between as they may be. For one, many elderly people are using the isolation period to get to grips with technology: FaceTiming loved ones over Easter weekend, learning the ropes of Netflix (after all, there’s only so many times you can watch the same DVDs on repeat!) and becoming online shopping maestros.
As such, there’s arguably never been a better time to introduce your loved ones to technology. Not sure where to start? Don’t worry — we’re going to look at three examples of useful technology that has been specifically formulated to help the elderly.
Mobile Phones for the Elderly
Whether your loved one is in a care home or in self-isolation in their own home, it will probably be a while until you are able to visit them. With that in mind you can stay in touch, lift each others’ spirits and continue to be social by voice call or video call.
Often those of the older generation find themselves bewildered by all the bells and whistles included with modern smartphones, but there are a number of phones and tablets that have been specifically designed for seniors. These offer a simplified, easy-to-understand interface, a long-lasting battery and large screens and buttons that are great for those with sight impairments.
Apps such as Whatsapp call or Skype are easy to use once they are set up and can be installed on most devices. After a few patient run-throughs with a tech-savvy relative, many older people are delighted to take advantage of video technology.
Tips for Setting Up an Older Person’s Phone for Video Calling
If you are sending an older person a device so that they can communicate with you during the lockdown, follow these steps to help them get to grips with the tech.
- Deactivate any unwanted apps – declutter the home screen to make it easier to find the apps they will use
- Make the text icons larger – increase the text size (here’s how to do it on Apple and Android devices) and use an app such as Giganticon to significantly increase the size of the app icons
- Find a battery indicator app – often the battery indicator is very small and tucked away in the top right hand corner of the screen, making it hard to see or understand. Find an app that will make this larger and easy to read
- Set up the video call apps – create an account and add important contacts on your preferred app, such as Skype, FaceTime or WhatsApp, so that all they have to do it press a button and go
- Turn up the volume – turn the volume up to maximum before you send the device so that they won’t have to fiddle around with it
- Have a few run-throughs – carefully explain the process a few times, including how and when to charge the device and where the camera is located
Voice Technology: Their Own Personal Assistant
For many of us, voice technology is a fun, quirky and nice-to-have luxury — why bother searching something manually on our phones when we can just consult Alexa, our very own all-knowing guru?
It’s easy to forget that voice technology — be it Google Home or Amazon Echo — can be a saving grace for the elderly, especially for those with mobility issues or sight limitations. For example, think about setting an alarm. For many elderly people this is a fairly tricky task; they have to contend with finicky alarm clock dials or use a smartphone or digital clock interface they’re still not 100% comfortable with. However, with voice technology, setting an alarm is a breeze.
And that’s not all. Turning on lights, playing music, answering questions, adjusting the thermostat; voice technology is like having your very own assistant.
It’s hard not being able to be there for your loved ones during this trying time — but an Amazon Echo or Google Home will always be on hand to help out in your absence.
Home Security Cameras
We all need some peace of mind right now. Fortunately, with home security cameras, you can ensure that your loved ones are safe and sound at all times. You can get indoor and outdoor versions, allowing you to both keep an eye on who is visiting the house and make sure that an elderly person is coping alone at home.
There are many models on the market at all price points, so if you’re shopping for an older person you may want to consider investing in one with the following features:
- Long battery life
- Instant notifications if there is a disturbance
- Extra-loud siren
- Video footage stored online
Gifts That Keep on Giving
Technology has made the world more connected than ever before. During this lockdown period, it’s become even more crucial: enabling people of all ages to foster some sense of community, keep themselves occupied and stay in-the-know.
It’s essential that the elderly also share these benefits. If you want to make sure that your loved ones are able to easily stay in touch with you, and generally have the easiest time possible during this lockdown, then you should consider looking into the useful gadgets for elderly family members mentioned above.
We’re all in this together.