Five Ideas for Staying Connected to Your Senior (From Afar)
Guest post by Mary Shannon of SeniorsMeet.org
Feeling close to family and friends is vital for people of any age. But for older adults, feeling loved and cared for matters more than ever. And yet, being far apart physically makes it more challenging to show your senior that they matter. The good news is that there are solutions to this emotional dilemma.
Whether your senior loved one lives at home alone or in a group setting, staying in touch doesn’t have to be a challenge. Read on for five ideas on how to feel closer to the older adult in your life through technology.
Consider Newer Equipment
Buying brand-new devices can be expensive, not to mention intimidating. But with online deals and discounts, you’ll find that even the biggest manufacturers offer affordable computers and tablets. If your senior needs a new smartphone to keep in touch, discounted plans can offer connectivity at a lower price than the going rate. Then, you can spend time together navigating the new device, setting up accessibility support, and getting connected to the internet.
Try Out a Voice Assistant
All manner of smartphones and smart home hubs have voice assistants these days. Many seniors find these voice tools to be excellent household companions. Voice assistants can also make it easier for your senior loved one to make phone calls to family and friends. For the millions of seniors with a vision impairment, voice-activated calling is a useful feature that helps maintain both connectivity and independence.
Navigate Video Chat Together
Video chatting is a wonderful way to feel closer to family all over the globe. For seniors who have hearing loss, which the WHO estimates at around 33 percent of adults ages 65+, video chat can help fill social needs even more than phone calls. When you can see one another on screen, the connection feels more real than audio-only or text-based conversation. Plus, video chatting means families and friends can play games, share hobbies, and even watch shows together in real-time.
Protect and Save Passwords
Older adults may love going online, but remembering a long list of logins and passwords can be a challenge. Many older adults have age-associated memory impairment — just under half of seniors experience memory loss after age 65. To ensure a simpler internet navigation experience, help your senior get set up with a password manager app or browser extension. These digital tools save each password with encryption protection, so your loved one need only remember one code or password to access all their social media profiles, email accounts, bill paying services, and more.
Cover Cybersecurity Bases
Many hackers and identity thieves prey on older adults who are less tech-savvy. In fact, the FBI has a special name for it: elder fraud. Millions of seniors become victims each year, but it doesn’t have to be that way. To protect your loved ones, be sure to address digital security before letting them loose online. Cybersecurity measures like installing antivirus software and defending against identity theft can help older adults surf the web safely.
Helping seniors stay connected with their friends and loved ones can seem like an insurmountable challenge when distance is a factor. But with technology, nearly anything is possible. From chatting daily to video calling to connecting on social media, seniors and their loved ones have countless ways to enjoy togetherness when they’re apart.
For families who want to learn more about navigating the distance while their loved ones are away from home, visit Cura for Care for resources on supported living for older adults.
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