Budget-Savvy Tech Strategies to Keep Grandparents in Touch
Many older loved ones want to maintain connections with friends and family members, but distance and travel make it harder. Technology is a solution for people trying to stay in touch. However, it also presents hurdles for some, between struggling to learn how to use devices to fitting sometimes expensive tech into an already tight budget.
Happily, there are solutions. Check out these tips so you can stay in touch:
Smartphones are common and convenient, but sometimes seniors have a phone but don’t know how to take advantage of especially helpful features. The AARP points out that setting up options such as voice recognition and live captioning can make it easier to use the phone for texting, calling and sharing pictures.
It may also be time to upgrade the phone to a newer model that offers improved accessibility, or make the move to a bigger device such as a tablet with a larger screen or a laptop with a web camera so it’s easier to hold video chats or browse the internet. Stretching dollars is made simpler by shopping with discount retailers online, plus if you do a little looking, you can snag cash back offers and coupons for stores like Overstock.com. It’s an easy way to ensure that you or your loved one can make the most of every penny.
Don’t overlook the power of free and low-cost apps, too. Best Mobility Aids notes there are especially useful choices that enhance accessibility for seniors, like Magnifying Glass + Flashlight, BIG Launcher (which increases icon size) and Speechnotes (a dictation app). The simple addition of mobile apps like these can make a dramatic improvement in quality of life for seniors, and provide peace of mind for friends and family who aren’t closeby to help with daily affairs.
Naturally, staying in touch decreases worries about isolation and loneliness — an issue WhereYouLiveMatters point out can directly impact health for seniors. Social media platforms offer an obvious solution, and they can engage online games, puzzles and books to chase away boredom. Those who love learning can also access museums, online classes, and games that teach second languages. What’s more, many apps directly aid in maintaining well-being, such as with medication reminders or by monitoring medical concerns.
Seniors often need a little encouragement and assistance getting through the tech learning curve, but you can help them and it’ll only cost you a little time with these helpful pointers:
- Demonstrate the value of the technology. Call up a good friend or family member and introduce your loved one to the ease of staying in touch.
- Introduce apps and features slowly using familiar language. Be aware that there are many tech words that have become familiar to younger generations but that may still trip up parents and grandparents. Stick to terminology that your loved ones already use, or share with them a glossary of common terms to help them get into the swing of things.
- Write down a step-by-step list that helps family members use apps when they aren’t with you. If certain questions pop up each time you help, jot the answers down in the same place.
- Make time to cover these steps frequently when you first introduce technology. Repetition is often vital in helping someone learn new tech skills.
- As CNBC explains, seniors are often vulnerable to internet scammers. As you help your family member or friend learn to use modern technology, be sure to talk about internet safety and how to avoid scams.
Interpersonal connections are vitally important for the health and welfare of people as we age, emotionally and physically. Technology is a valuable resource for communicating, and by finding devices that fit within your budget, you and your loved ones can remain connected even when time and distance separate you.
Certified Homecare Consulting is dedicated to providing valuable information to those who aim to support the well-being of seniors and their families. Call 617-477-9594 to learn more about partnering with us.