Technology for seniors - coping in a digital world
It’s one of the many challenges that the third generation face today – tech for seniors. Coping with technology is an issue that affects us all, apart from the bright young things that grew up with it. As the world is increasingly drawn away from physical contact (think automated tills at the shops, Zoom calls instead of meetings, half the world with a Facebook account) seniors tend to either grasp technology with both hands or avoid it where they can.
My post looks at the various ways in which technology affects our third age lives, and how we can make the most of it. One thing is for certain – technology is not going away, so ignoring it will only cut you off from experiences, activities and adventures. Which is what retirement is for.
Maybe in future years they will come up with a way of not having to remember complex passwords, but right now they are a source of frustration for me. I’ve tried password managers, having a standard phrase and changing the number at the end, and using my browser to save for each site. I have no answer – a struggle for seniors worldwide I suspect.
Apparently I have £6.5m waiting for me, numerous ladies offering their services and someone wants to give me Bitcoin. Plus, my McAfee subscription has expired and I have viruses. I know this because the junk folder of my Gmail account tels me so.
These scams are easy to spot (no-one is going to give me money, I don’t have McAfee and don’t want Bitcoin. Hopeful about the ladies though. The more difficult scams are the ones that might not be – expired television licence, parcel awaiting collection, email from a friend with a link. And scammers are getting more sophisticated – better logos, grammar and message. Still, if I use the old adage that it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Plus awareness, a healthy level of suspicion and constant wariness are necessary to avoid the traps.
It’s marketing. Apps offer you a taster for free, but to get real value you have to subscribe – for just a few pounds a month. Or even worse, an annual subscription that is often forgotten. We have to live in a state of constant wariness about what we are signing up to/committing ourselves to. I think I preferred it when I had a pound in my pocket.
Utility and Insurance renewals
Aside from the constant vigilence, we are also obliged to spend a part of our lives on comparism sites. Household fuel, broadband, car and house insurance – either spend time at each renewal to see if a cheaper deal can be found, or just accept the hiked price from the current supplier. Life’s too short, surely?
For many voluntary organisations, seniors are the lifeblood for committees, activists and worker bees. But to be truly valuable these days, a grasp of technology is a must. Not too long ago a treasurer could cope if s/he had an email account and a basic grasp of spreadsheets. Now, the financial world is online, and banking sophistication has moved away from local contact to an amorphous call centre. Familiarity with digital fundraising, automated payments and digital payment systems is essential. And the secretary with a grasp of website updates, social media and online marketing is manna from on high.
Conversley then the volunteer that does not bring those skills may have several others, not least availability and willingness, but may feel of limited usefulness in a digital world. The best national volunteer organisations harness skills appropriately of course, but you won’t get far without an email address and a phone.
Being positive – tech products for seniors to make your life easier
Recognising that I’ve strayed into grumpy old man territory, there are technology plusses
(note – I’m not an Affiliate so I don’t get paid for these suggestions):
Pill dispenser – useful for remembering when you need to take your medication – and if you have taken it already! Or, you could just remember.
Grandpad – a tablet for the elderly. At £719.28 for the year (no wifi required though) it’s a way for seniors to stay in touch with the family without having to learn irksome technology. Note – an Ipad is £329 for life, but you do need a broadband and some effort is required.
Tile sticker – now this could be useful. Add it to your remote, car keys and other gadgets and find them using your phone. Of course, there is an optional subscription too.
Books – personally I think they are an insult to the older generation, but there are a range of tech books written for us. Allegedly they guide us in simple language toward making the most of our phone, PC, tablet etc. Personally I’d rather sit for an hour an fiddle, but that’s just me.
Conclusion – tech for seniors
There are benefits to technology, but we are in world of pain and frustration for tech for seniors. We have no choice of course – just be grateful you’re not at work!