Smart Devices for Seniors

Smart Devices for seniors are very widespread now across the United States. Many older adults now have Smartphones and tablets in particular. Seniors using a Tablet or phoneOthers are exploring tech items to make for a “smarter” home. A popular gift from adult sons and daughters is a Smart Phone. Unfortunately, many people over age 75 haven’t ever really worked with or used smart devices and they become very frustrated and opt to return to simpler flip top phones or not to use one at all.

The Weisman Center in Delray Beach has an in-house “Tech Guy” who once a week sits at a desk in the Senior Center and answers individual tech questions – be it a camera, a tablet or phone. He is of course very popular. Having taught Smart Devices for seniors’ classes in Deerfield Beach, Boca Raton and Delray/Boynton Beach the growth of seniors using their gadgets and using them for more things is astounding. However giving the gift of a smart device for seniors requires more than the purchase of the gadget, they need follow up. They need some lessons and help in setting things up and learning the particulars of a device. So if you are giving your elder parent or friend a tech gadget, include some instruction or set up instruction for them.

Security Concerns

Security and privacy is a big deal for all of us and even more so for older adults who grew up in a world that was more private with respect to personal information.  The use of so many passwords and privacy concerns are two of the biggest issues I’ve found in teaching seniors about technology. It is recommended for anyone with a new smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer who is new to technology, to take some instruction. There are many private instructors who will give individual lessons in the home. Senior communities may have Computer Clubs or have instructors teach classes in the Clubhouse. The public library and Senior Centers often have a computer or tech classes. If they don’t, ask for them to consider starting one. You can hire the Geek Squad for lessons as well.

At the very least, if your parent or elder loved one is new to technology; address the security and privacy concerns. In some ways, the notion of “privacy” is a quaint idea of the 20th Century – it doesn’t exist much in the 21st. Many seniors who do not use technology believe they are thereby inoculated from hacks and other privacy nuisances. If they get a Social Security check, see a doctor, have a bank account, a credit card BINGO! – They are online, or at least their information is. Medicare has finally moved (will take up to 2 years to complete) to replace the Social Security number with a patient number on the Medicare card— at long last.

Teach the elder in your life how to:

Create and log safe passwords

The importance of routinely changing passwords

Consider freezing one’s credit

Never click on an email or link if you don’t recognize the sender

Cover the camera hole on your laptop

Know that Credit Card companies, banks, the IRS, Social Security do not contact you by phone or email – and never give your SS number out — they have it already

Have a computer/gadget maintenance service – i.e. through the Geek Squad to have regular cleaning and back up of your gadget and material

The real concern is your info with other companies which get hacked rather than individual hacks — i.e. Target, Equifax, and VISA

Nothing is foolproof but we can take some steps to help protect our online/personal information and identity.  We cannot live in the world with ease any longer as most businesses and government entities require some computer or tech knowledge. Encourage your elder loved one to learn and use technology as it does make so many things easier and address their concerns.