Technology can feel intimidating for seniors. The pace of change is faster than it has ever been, and adjusting to new smartphones, computers, apps, and even your car’s dashboard can make it feel difficult to remain confident and in control of the technology around you.
But avoiding it altogether isn’t an option, or one that means missing out on the convenience and connectivity technology offers. It can offer better ways to stay in touch with kids and grandkids or ways to self-monitor health and exercise.
For those who feel like technology has a lot to offer, but they’re intimidated by the growth and pace of change of technology, these technology usage tips for seniors can provide some direction.
#1 Stay Skeptical Online
Older adults are disproportionately affected by online fraud compared to younger demographics. Fraudsters target senior citizens because they are less cyber-literate and are considered quicker to trust online than those who grew up with the internet.
They use a variety of different tactics to target seniors and convince them to send money, banking information, sensitive information like passwords, or even signatures on fraudulent documents. Always be skeptical before providing any information online. On a website, check the URL bar for an icon like a padlock that will tell you the website is encrypted and safe to enter information. Never share credit card or banking information over email – it’s insecure and no reputable companies or government agencies use email to collect such sensitive data.
Some email providers are getting better at identifying potential scams, and may provide warnings when they detect language used in “phishing scams” – scams where cybercriminals convince you to provide information willingly.
#2 Skype and FaceTime Help You Connect with Grandkids
If your family lives overseas or across the country, you may not see them nearly as often as you would like to. Technology can make it easier for them to get in touch with you. There are a few apps you can use from either a computer or a smartphone to stay in touch without paying huge long-distance fees – and that your grandkids will be more likely to use. Apps like Skype are easy to set up and free to use.
#3 Use Health Apps
There are hundreds of health apps you can install on your smartphone for a variety of purposes. There are apps that can help you locate medical professionals and specialists in your area, manage and book medical appointments, manage your medication reminders, and track your fitness goals. There are apps that help you eat healthier, help you sleep better, and that can help you train your brain in ways that are proven to help prevent cognitive decline.
Technology doesn’t have to be intimidating or dangerous. There are plenty of great ways technology can help you stay connected with family and friends, help with managing your health, and more. Stay vigilant about cyber-security and find the apps and technology that are right for you.