How To Embrace The Digital Age as a Senior

man walking with child

How To Embrace The Digital Age as a Senior

Tuesday, July 09, 2024

In recent years, technology seems to have evolved at an unbelievable rate. People are taking calls on their televisions, talking to their refrigerators, watching deliveries on their doorbell cameras, and texting instead of calling each other. For an older person, it can seem overwhelming, and many seniors are not even interested in trying to keep up with all of it. Still, for those who are willing to attempt to learn, the number of seniors using technology is on the rise. 73 percent of seniors now use the internet, up from 14 percent in 2000, and 53 percent of older adults use smartphones. This should be heartening for older people because it shows that it is possible to learn and adapt, at any age. What’s more, it is beneficial to learn to use technology, because it helps promote connection, boost cognitive function, and much more. Here, we offer some tips for embracing the digital age as a senior. 

Benefits of Embracing Technology 

Because learning to use new technologies can be intimidating, older people need good reasons to make the effort. That’s why we have compiled this list of ways in which technology can be useful. 

  • Technology makes connections easier. For many older adults, loneliness and isolation are significant problems that can lead to anxiety, depression, and health problems. Using technology helped people stay connected during the pandemic, and it is still a great way to stay in touch. Skype, Zoom, and Facetime allow people to talk face to face despite being separated by distance, and social media can give people a place to share positive images and videos, enjoying each other’s happy moments. Further, online support groups and social organizations allow older adults to connect with like-minded peers, giving them new ways to share tips and enjoy hobbies. 
  • Modern technology can enhance an older person’s quality of life. In decades past, it would have been unimaginable that we could talk to our doctors via telehealth appointments, allowing us to be diagnosed and treated without ever leaving home. That is far from the only way in which technology can make life better for seniors. Smartwatches can connect to health monitoring apps, tracking not only an older person’s steps, but also his or her medication. If the person doesn’t confirm taking medication, the family or caregiver will be notified by the app. Home assistants can be used to order groceries to be delivered, to answer questions, to play music, to make lists, and much more. There are even apps that can run the vacuum or feed the dog!
  • Technology helps seniors stay informed. It is easy to keep up with the news with online subscriptions to favorite publications, watch the weather with weather apps, and stay up to date on new developments on health through health-based websites. There are even websites to teach new exercises and help seniors stay on top of their physical fitness.
  • Technology can be fun! Audiobooks, music, and games are available through new technology, to help entertain older people while also challenging them intellectually. 

Tips for Using Technology

If you are an older person who wants to learn to use technology but does not know where to start, we have some suggestions to make it easier. 

  • Get help from a patient teacher. It is understandable that using new technology would be overwhelming, if you don’t have someone to help. One of the best ways to learn is to find someone who is willing to work with you, at your pace, and teach you the ins and outs of the technology you are trying to master. This could be a family member, friend, or neighbor, or you could look into nearby classes. Community centers and community colleges often have free or low-cost classes to teach older people the basics of certain technological devices or programs. 
  • Don’t be embarrassed to enlarge the text. One of the great things about today’s devices is that it’s easy to make pictures and text larger and easier to see or read. While you are learning to use your device, ask how to change the text size or zoom in on something you are viewing on the screen. 
  • Use search engines to your advantage. If you can’t figure something out, use search engines to find answers to your questions. Google is a great tool, but if you don’t want to use Google, there are other search engines, like Ecosia, Bing, or Duck Duck Go. Use one of these search engines, and you can find a wealth of instructional videos and tutorials online, including resources to improve your technological skills. 
  • Use devices designed for older people. There are accessible devices, like captioned telephones for the hard of hearing, and many devices have options to make them more accessible. Even an e-reader can make life easier for a senior, by providing an entire library in a device that can be carried in a pocket, with a screen that allows for enlarging the text and the option to have it read aloud. 

Staying Safe Online

Of course, everything about technology is not sunshine and rainbows. There are very real dangers on the internet and on devices, and seniors need to stay on their guard to stay safe. 

  • Be careful with passwords and personal information. Do not use the same password on every site, and avoid using easily recognizable patterns like 12345 or ABCDE. Come up with a formula for your passwords that is easy for you to remember and uses a combination of numbers, uppercase letters, lowercase letters, and symbols. Never give personal information like passwords, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, your social security number, or other information to anyone you don’t know or on a website with which you are unfamiliar. 
  • Screen your calls. This is extremely easy with today’s technology, and seniors can ask for help adding contacts, email addresses, and any other important information to their devices, so that they can easily recognize friends and family. That way, when an unknown number calls, it can easily be avoided or sent to voicemail. By adding in numbers of healthcare and service providers, seniors can avoid scams. 
  • Be wary, to avoid scams. Scammers often target older people, but you can be cautious and remember some important facts. First, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. For instance, an email saying that you won a prize, when you do not remember entering a contest, is likely to be a scam. Be careful, too, when responding to email. Sometimes, emails from scammers are designed to look like they come from a legitimate website, to trick people into providing personal information. Avoid clicking links and supplying information, instead reaching out to the company from which the scammer claims to be from, and ignoring the scammer. 
  • Use anti-virus software. Keep this software updated on all of your devices, making sure to stay up to date on any payments that may be required, so that your subscriptions stay active, and your devices stay safe. 
  • Be on your guard when on social media. Social media is wonderful for connecting with friends and family, but it can also be dangerous, because scammers can use it to access your personal information. Don’t post your vacation dates, phone number, address, pictures of your property, and so on, and never respond to messages from people you don’t know. If you receive a message on social media that appears to be from someone you know, asking for money or claiming there is an emergency, verify this information offline instead of responding online. 

A Great Place to Stay Active: Mentally, Physically, and Socially

Are you a senior who embraces curiosity and wants to continuously grow and evolve by staying intellectually active? When you’re choosing a place to spend your retirement, look for somewhere that fosters this passion for knowledge, with plenty of opportunities to learn, grow, connect with your peers and engage in your favorite hobbies. At Parkwood Heights, want our residents to live life to the fullest, as they enjoy all the amenities that make Parkwood a great place to live their best lives. A lovely community in which to spend your retirement, Parkwood Heights is located just minutes from Victor, Fairport, Farmington, and Canandaigua. Call (315) 986-9100 to learn more about all that we have to offer, or check out our website and reach out if you have any questions.


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Rosa / Family

Here it is just a little over two weeks since we moved Bruce into Parkwood. I just wanted to tell you how pleased we are with Bruce’s transition and acclimation to Parkwood Heights. The entire staff and residents have been so very welcoming, helpful, and supportive.I see a remarkable difference in Bruce’s energy, health, and his avenues of interest….. We owe this to the eager and affirmative attention everyone at Parkwood has given Bruce over these past two weeks…Oh my gosh, I can’t tell you how relieved, rested, and encouraged I feel since Bruce has joined the Parkwood community…

Ken and Bev Keyes
Ken and Bev Keyes / Family

Ken and I just want to let you know how much we appreciated having our Uncle in the Enriched Program at Parkwood Heights. His apartment was bright and inviting and the care he received by all the staff was wonderful. He could be independent, as well as cared for in relation to his needs. No matter what the day brought, the staff would tell us they loved their jobs and would always have a smile and a hug for everyone, helping to make each day a better day for those around them.

Dolores / Resident

I moved to Parkwood Heights in 2005 because I wanted to live closer to my daughter. The activities department was the deciding factor. I enjoy having so many activities and events to choose from. Also, when calculating my expenses to live in my home or to live at Parkwood, the decision was made easier because the cost was about the same.

Tom & Donna
Tom & Donna / Family

On January 19th we moved mom from Florida to New York. We were pleased with Parkwood Heights, from staff to the lovely facility. It was a difficult move for mom at the age of 97 as well as us with the arrangements. From day one, all of our questions were answered and we were guided through the move as easily as possible.

Tom and Nancy
Tom and Nancy / Villa Residents

We had been looking around for about 2 years ... we knew that we wanted a spacious villa ... we came to Parkwood because we wanted to do things and they had just what we were looking for. There are so many activities to choose from, places to go and people to visit with. We love it here.

Norma / Resident

I've been living at Parkwood Heights since November of 2000. I am so happy here ~ the people are so nice and there is so much to do. If I didn't like it here I'd be a fool.

Elenore Bulau
Elenore Bulau / Resident

I have no qualms about saying the management staff is excellent – always friendly and will drop everything to listen to you.

Jeannette M.
Jeannette M. / Resident

There is a great variety of activities and the staff are willing to do anything!

Helen Lund
Helen Lund / Resident

The maintenance guys are so friendly and take care of our requests promptly

J. Bieler
J. Bieler / Resident

The drivers are super caring people who always do a good job

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Bev Breen / Resident

Our servers are wonderful!