3 Great Senior-Friendly Tech Devices To Help You Stay in Touch
By Mary Shannon, seniorsmeet.org
Over the past year, families used technology to stay connected, even while staying physically apart. For many, this experience highlighted the growing technology gap that exists between seniors and their younger family members. The technology that helps younger generations stay connected often doesn’t work for seniors, for several reasons. Many tech devices simply aren’t viable options for people with limited hearing, vision, manual dexterity, technological prowess, or budgets.
That’s not to say that senior-friendly technology doesn’t exist—and Rock Your Retirement can help. These three tech devices are ideal choices to help seniors stay in touch, so read on.
- Noise-Cancelling Headphones
As Healthy Hearing explains, hearing loss is extremely common among older Americans. Cranking up the volume isn’t always a practical solution since most speakers create distortion at the high ends of their volume ranges. Plus, neighbors and roommates aren’t always on board with the loud sound. Being unable to hear well is extremely detrimental to communication efforts, not to mention frustrating to everyone involved.
Noise-canceling headphones block out unwanted background sounds and lower frequencies, selectively amplifying the desired audio in a distortion-free way that won’t result in a noise complaint. Many of these headphones feature wireless connectivity, Bluetooth, and built-in microphones. There are countless options available at nearly every price point.
These headphones can make video and telephone calls easier to hear and understand, and make movies, music, and TV shows more enjoyable. They can even be a boon to seniors who enjoy video games, which is also a great way for them to maintain their social connections and even can help keep their minds sharp, per the CBC.
Most seniors have some type of mobile phone, but few own the latest-model smartphones. Some may be clinging to an older model because it still works, and they know how to use it. Some may not want to spend the money on an upgrade. Still, others may not want to bother with the hassle of learning new technology.
While these arguments are common, they don’t hold much water. The latest smartphone models are more intuitive and easier to use than ever before. Most newer phones offer one-touch voice and video calling, and many utilize facial-recognition technology, which is much simpler than remembering and entering usernames and passwords. Today’s phones come with an array of built-in accessibility features, have impressive battery lives, and support wireless charging. Topping it off, seniors can take advantage of special offers that make upgrading all the more palatable, like trade-ins and low or free monthly payments.
Most importantly, smartphones are how most of the world stays connected, and seniors shouldn’t be excluded from the party. A newer smartphone is a convenient way to keep in touch via calls, text messages, email, and social media apps. A smartphone can also be used to quickly and easily access a bevy of information, such as news stories, weather forecasts, games, recipes, music, and even podcasts—such as from Rock Your Retirement—specifically created for older adults.
Basic Laptop or Large-Format Tablet
It’s hard to deny the importance of an updated, functional smartphone to help seniors stay connected, but not every application is well-suited to a mobile-size screen. Vision loss and limited dexterity can also make some apps hard to use on a phone. It’s a good idea to also have a large tablet or basic laptop available to take advantage of everything available.
The choice between laptop or tablet is largely a matter of personal preference. Some people prefer the intuitive layout and relative ease of navigating a tablet. Others find touch screens to be daunting and prefer a traditional laptop format.
Technology prices can be prohibitively high for some seniors, especially those on a fixed income. Sale-savvy seniors can keep an eye on ads and be cognizant of the best times to score tech deals. Many retailers offer senior discounts, which can sometimes be used in combination with sale pricing for an even deeper discount. While technology isn’t cheap, staying connected to senior family members is well worth the cost.