Since older adults are at a high risk for contracting the coronavirus, it’s unwise to spend a lot of time around other people right now and increase the risk of catching COVID-19. At the same time, we want to stay connected to each other. Technology can help immensely, but some of our older loved ones may be uncomfortable or unfamiliar with technology. So how do we help our loved ones get over those technology barriers so we can continue to support each other without putting ourselves in danger?
There are countless ways that tech can improve ours and our loved ones’ lives, make daily tasks easier, and facilitate risk-free social connection. To start with, you can set up a sound system that brings Soundscaping Source’s remote music therapy experiences to life, right in their home. Music can promote emotional and physical well-being, so you can make it as easy as possible for loved ones to enjoy their favorite tunes.
Read on for more ideas that bring us together safely via technology:
Addressing Online Safety
Technology can do wonders for your loved one’s life, but it can also come with dangers. Older adults are at much higher risk of online scams and viruses. Take some time to talk with them about digital safety practices that will protect them and their assets. For example, let them know that many scammers reach out via email, and to never wire money or send personal information through that route.
You can also set them up with a password manager that allows them to use a single, memorable password to fill in highly secure, randomized passwords for all their accounts. This is a great way to lower their risk of falling prey to phishing scams, account theft, and other common attacks.
Improving Video Chat
Since our ability to meet in person has been stymied, focus on finding ways to connect with older loved ones virtually. Video chat can be a great solution for seniors, but you may need to give them a hand with getting everything set up.
For example, you might want to help your loved one find a tablet or laptop they can use for video chat rather than their phone. Small screens are harder to see, and that can substantially limit how much seniors enjoy the experience. There are a lot of senior-friendly devices out there that make video chat substantially easier.
Another tool that can help enhance video chats for seniors are bluetooth headphones. These can be a total game-changer for people who are hard of hearing, since they broadcast the audio directly to the ear. They also reduce ambient noise, which can make a big difference for hearing properly on video chat.
With a good set of headphones, your loved one can enjoy hearing you play music or watching their grandkids dance along. Never underestimate the power of great audio to bring people together.
Building a Smart Home
Another tool seniors can benefit from is a smart home system. The great thing about these kinds of systems is, once they’re set up, they can be basically hands-off. Voice command can allow your loved one to easily make phone calls, play music, set reminders, and more.
If you have the time and funds to set up a full-home system, you can even make it so that your loved one can set the thermostat, turn on the sink, or switch lights on and off just by asking. This can be an absolute game changer for anyone with accessibility or mobility issues. There are a ton of smart home devices that you can link to a single hub – take some time to investigate the possibilities and see if they could make your loved one’s life simpler.
Right now, caring for an older loved one can feel fraught with risks and challenges. However, technology can make a big difference. The ability to connect with your loved one virtually and make their lives easier from a distance is invaluable in the current moment. Explore the options available, and you’ll be able to find digital solutions that improve your loved one’s life substantially.
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