Senior Wellness: Seniors and technology

Seniors can use technology to make life easier

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - Technology can be intimidating for those who haven't had it so quick to hand their entire lives. However, many seniors are using it more and more to keep in touch with their family and friends. Apps like Skype or FaceTime are simple ways to stay connected. 

Some new technology will also help out seniors as they go about their daily lives. Personal assistant technology, like Amazon's Alexa and or Google's Home may help with memory and mobility issues. Because the pieces of tech listen to voice commands and respond, seniors can accomplish things without having to get up. 

Seniors can also use that kind of technology to:

  • Set reminders to take medications, to call someone, or to get together to play cards with friends.
  • Have fun with Alexa by playing games and trivia, or telling jokes.
  • For people with memory issues it doesn't care if you ask it the same question 100 times.
  • If you have a hard time seeing a computer screen, the personal assistant can read books to you.
  • Ask to get weather information, news headlines, play radio programs or your favorite music.
  • Ask to turn lights on and off, adjust the temperature, turn on TV, adjust volume, pause a movie.
  • Get access to health and exercise, programs and general medical information from WebMD

However, seniors are at risk when it comes to technology as well. They are often the target of scams or malicious efforts to get money as they are trusting, and often have larger savings accounts. 

So, how can they protect themselves? By using these tips: 

  • Keep current with computer, phone or tablet system updates.
  • Be suspicious of emails with links or pictures. Even if it appears to be from someone you know.
  • Never open email messages from an unknown person or company. Too good to be true? Probably is.
  • Think of a password as a “passphrase.” A sentence that is easy to remember and substitute key letters for numbers.

The Family Caregiver University at the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan is offering a class to discuss some of the things. The class is August 22 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. at 3215 Eaglecrest Dr. NE in Grand Rapids. You can register for the class by calling 616-222-7032 or by emailing registration@aaawm.org.

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