New technology has an impact on all aspects of our lives. It drastically changed the way we communicate with our friends and family and how we get information.
There is almost no person in the US who doesn’t have a gadget. However, the percentage of people who have a smartphone is lower in the 65+ group for various reasons. This is one more element that contributes to the gap between younger generations and older adults.
Seniors gain a lot of benefits from using a smartphone, but they face many obstacles as well.
What is the motivation for using smartphones, and what are the main obstacles for the elderly? Find out below.
Obstacles for Seniors to Use Smartphones
The main barriers are:
- technology is complicated
- senior’s level of knowledge
- high price
There are more older adults using smartphones, although many continue to use older cell phones. Seniors usually use them for texting and calling, while the minority also take photos, send email, surf the web, watch videos, etc.
However, the slow adjustment to a smartphone happens due to various reasons.
Many seniors are uncomfortable with a smartphone—and technology in general. It is often too complicated for them, and with such rapid advancements, they have difficulties in adjusting to the new technology. Operating systems and apps are mostly designed for the younger generations, without older adults being considered.
They are often too small (although smartphones are getting larger), which is not friendly to seniors who have vision issues.
It is not uncommon that a senior doesn’t have reliable support and training. Their digital skills are not superb, since older adults didn’t grow up with so many gadgets around them. Older adults need help and understanding. When they face a problem, help and try to teach them how to solve it the next time.
The price is also a barrier. New devices cost over $1,000, thus it is better to buy a smartphone a few generations older when the price has plummeted.
Benefits of Smartphones for Older Adults
The main benefits are:
- safety and security
- social impact
The main perk of using a smartphone is security. Seniors can call an ambulance or family, in case of an emergency. It is a good idea to have these numbers on speed dial, so they can quickly make a call when in need.
The social aspect is also very significant. Loneliness is a common problem among seniors over 65. Having a smartphone means they can easily talk to their loved ones, no matter how far they are. This means they can keep in touch with everyone and not lose contact. A video call was only futuristic imagination when our parents were young, but now it is only a few clicks away.
If your older adults are forgetful, setting reminders on a smartphone can be useful. Especially if they keep forgetting to take medicine.
The last but not least: fun. Studies have shown that many older adults find using a smartphone enjoyable. Despite the complexity, they have easy access to all the information they have an interest in. Seniors can even buy and download movies and TV shows that were broadcast when they were young. That will surely bring a smile to their face.
To sum up: Smartphones and other gadgets offer enormous benefits for older adults. However, they can be too complicated for use without proper training.
Therefore, help your seniors learn how to use new technologies. It will probably take some time, but knowing how to use a smartphone will mean a lot for them.
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