We all have more on our plates than ever before in history. Amid the mounting pressures of the pandemic, one of the leading groups affected has been seniors. The coronavirus poses health risks for everyone, but officials have made clear that the elderly are particularly vulnerable. Whether you or someone you love is in assisted living, a long-term care facility, or is still living at home; it’s wise to heed precautions and essential to stay connected in these difficult times.
While many in the senior demographic used to shy away from the internet, cell phones, and technology in general, many are coming to realize learning these vital tools helps them stay connected with their family. Video conferencing used to be a platform mainly used in the business world, but now with so many communities under restrictions, it’s becoming a valuable way for families to connect.
Benefits Of Learning Technology
When it comes to learning anything new, it’s always important to remind seniors that the time and energy they put in can immensely enrich their life. Seniors realize that becoming more tech-savvy has vast advantages in their day-to-day life. Many enjoy sharing old photos, watching classic movies, and reminiscing about fond memories. So use this as an incentive for them to learn new technology.
While learning new skills might seem overwhelming, it’s best to start small and simple. Help them realize that investing time in new technology will help them stay connected to those you love, provide valuable resources, access to helpful information, and bring excitement to their day. Health care is now providing resources online and virtual visits, which allows seniors more protection. Services and goods are now directly being provided safely, with just a click of the mouse.
Technology can be utilized so that your loved one has the proper security measures in place. This will only provide everyone peace of mind if there’s an emergency and allows you to know they’re getting the best care. Remind everyone in the family to check in on each other so that the responsibility doesn’t fall on just one person. No matter your age or stage in life, make sure to schedule regular check-ins on all senior family members. Even your elderly neighbor or old colleague could benefit from digital conversation.
Have Patience and Shop Around
Depending on your generation, many take for granted how quickly technology is learned. A 2020 study from Pew research found that 77% of older adults needed assistance in learning how to use technology. This past year, it also found that social networking almost doubled for people over 50, growing from 22 percent to 42 percent. When learning to text, email, use the internet, social media, video call, or any other application, seniors mustn’t be expected to take on too much. Start small and build upon their skill set so that they can build confidence. Make sure to explain basic terms that might come easy to you. Allow them to write down instructions so that they can refer back to them when needed.
Most family members, friends, staff, or even local community resources can help guide them through the process. With many seniors on fixed incomes, make sure to help your loved one research and price shop for the best senior internet and phone plans for their needs. Ensure the company’s service is reliable, offers features unique to the individual, and provides excellent customer service. Not every plan is one size fits all, so invest in the right package and tools to enrich their lives.
Stay Connected With Those You Love
The older generation has always been a fan of land-line phone calls or letters, so while it might seem old school, make sure to take the time to do this regularly. A small gesture of sending flowers, a greeting card, having a special treat delivered, or mailing a package is sure to brighten up anyone’s day. Set up a virtual dinner date and have their favorite restaurant deliver a meal. Try starting a family book club to connect over video. Have a puzzle created with one of their favorite family portraits. Sending a hobby box with crosswords, paints, yarn, or some other favorite craft, lets them know they have a special place in your heart.
When it comes to seniors, they have a precious place in our communities. Remember that little things go a long way. Lailah Gifty Akita makes this profound reminder, “It always a blessing to learn wisdom from elderly people. Love, care, and treasure the elderly people in the society.” Everyone has a story that can enrich our lives immensely. Let’s value our history and never forget our past.