Embracing Technology: How Seniors Can Stay Connected in 2024 

We’re in the Golden Era of Modern Communication 

It’s 2024 and there are more ways than ever for seniors to stay connected digitally with loved ones. Of course, we can still pick up the phone and make a call, but we are in a golden era for those in their golden years to communicate digitally. Let’s look at a few classic and clever ways for seniors to stay engaged with friends and family. 

Picking the Right Communication Channel 

Luckily, seniors and their families are spoiled for choice in terms of different methods of communication. Picking the right communication method depends on your level of familiarity with devices or apps as well as your communication preferences. Are you a big talker, or do you prefer to let pictures do the talking?  

  1. Calling and Texting: 
  • The Reliable Classics: These tried-and-true methods of chatting with loved ones aren’t going anywhere! These are likely the most familiar methods of communication for seniors and the most accessible.  
  • Versatility: Calling or texting from a cell phone is also the most reliable source of digital communication as it doesn’t require a Wi-Fi connection. Calling and texting can even be done across multiple internet connected devices, making it easier than ever to keep up with conversations. 
  1. Video Calling: 
  • Face-to-Face Interaction: There is nothing like calling to catch up with your grandkids and being able to see their sweet faces. The prevalence and quality of video calling options has grown exponentially in the past few years due to the pandemic. Video calling is most easily done via FaceTime for Apple users or using the video calling feature on Android devices. Most social media apps like Facebook and Instagram also have their own versions of the video call. One-on-one video calling solutions are super user friendly as the call can be initiated by one party and all the other party must do is answer the call. 
  • Group Calls: Free apps like Zoom and Google Meetings are the most popular video calling options if you want to add multiple people to a call and only require the user to set up an account.  
  1. Social Media Apps: 
  • Stay Updated: If you want to keep track of all your loved ones in between the visits and video calls, social media apps like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok allow users to post status updates, send messages, and upload images and video. You can post your own pictures and video to let loved ones know what’s going on in your life or interact with posts from ‘friends.’  
  • Community Engagement: Social media networks are a wonderful way to stay connected with many people, especially those you don’t see regularly. Posting content on social media can also be a fun way to bond with peers and meet new people in a long-term care and retirement community. Seniors are going viral on apps like TikTok by posting funny or sweet videos of themselves doing the things they love like dancing, cooking, and cheering on their favorite sports teams. 
  1. Email 
  • The Versatile Messenger: Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without including email! Email is a communication channel that allows users to send messages to multiple people at the same time and has virtually no limits on message length.  
  • Safety First: Email use is ubiquitous for personal and business communications these days, and seniors will likely already be familiar with the tool. However, email can also be the source of annoying computer viruses or dangerous phishing schemes. It’s important to teach your loved ones not to open or click on suspicious emails and to be careful when giving out personal information. 

Devices and Accessibility 

Choosing the right device (or devices) is just as important as picking your communication channel.  

  • Customizable Gadgets: Today’s cell phones and tablets have accessibility settings that allow users to adjust simple things like font size as well as more advanced features like voice activated tasks or getting your phone to read what is on the screen.  
  • Senior-Friendly Devices: There are also phones, tablets and laptops that are designed specifically to make inputting text and navigation easy for seniors. These devices feature simplified operating systems, larger icons, and larger text to make navigating and using all the important apps a breeze.  

Tips for Technology Adoption 

Regardless of the device that you choose, getting familiar with the device and having help nearby are the keys to success.  

  • Practice and Support: If you are helping a senior adopt a new technology, make sure to practice anything they may not be comfortable with before it’s time to use their devices.  
  • Instructional Aids: Consider leaving written instructions or a visual aid behind to help your loved one through the learning curve.  

Staying Connected in Retirement Communities 

For seniors living in a retirement community, it’s now easier than ever to stay connected with friends and family. With so many communication channels and accessible devices available to seniors, the options are endless to maintain strong relationships with loved ones between visits. For more information about what resources are available to help your loved ones adapt to helpful new technology or to get to know what life at Omni looks like, contact us today!