How Can I Integrate Technology into My Elderly Parent’s Life?

Jun 19, 2019
JF Berube

We get that question a lot. Technology is everywhere.  It links us to our doctor’s office, the bank, news, shopping, the local library, and even our families!  Everyone is connected via the Internet and knowing how to get the most from it is more vital than ever, especially for seniors.

Technology can make it easier to stay in touch and provide news about family, and to “check-in” on a regular basis.  (Reassuring for you.)  Encouraging your parents to learn their way around the Internet will not only enhance their lives, it may well make them safer.  But, if you didn’t grow up with it, technology can be intimidating.  If you have ever watched a Millennial zip around their cell phone, you know how much you don’t know!  So, how do you sell your parents on the idea of Face Timing with their grandchildren or signing up for an e-banking account without driving you both crazy?  The same way you eat an elephant.  One byte at a time.

Introducing Technology: The Why

Remember when we called long-distance on Sundays, had film developed, and put those pictures into a letter?  Your parents do!  If your mom and dad have mentioned how they miss hearing from and seeing their grand kids, let them know that they can use the Internet and a tablet or a phone to stay in touch and see photos and videos.  They can even share them and tote around that “Brag Book” right on their phone.  They can use Facebook to stay in touch with distant friends from school, and they don’t need to clip that newspaper article or that recipe to share it.  They can even check the day’s winning lotto numbers!

It’s a Big, Wide Web Out There and Nobody Likes Drinking from a Fire hose

Your mom and dad will learn the ins and out of new technology gradually.  Be encouraging and don’t be afraid to let them make mistakes. It’s the best way to learn.  Remind them that they can’t break it!  When you feel that they have made enough progress with the basics; e-mail, google searches, saving photos, etc., enlist the grand kids and introduce them to a few more advanced apps.  Beware of information overload!  Taking breaks will reduce confusion and give them a chance to practice what they have learned.  If they get frustrated, reassure them and bring up a few cute puppy videos on You Tube. Who can resist those?

Technology is Useful, Becoming Necessary, and it Can Be Fun!

Showcasing the advantages of the Internet to your parents can go a long way in piquing their interest. Google Earth can allow them to explore the far corners of the world, or just let them see the house where they grew up. E-mail not only links them to friends, far and wide, and makes you available to them, and vice-versa, it provides them a written record to refer to if they need to check an important detail. Face Time and Skype may not only mean “seeing” their grand kids more often, these apps can also link them to medical specialists and even to university classes.

Let Us Help

Home care today is so much more than just helping with transportation, housekeeping, and meal prep.  Teaching seniors’ new things in a familiar, home care setting is highly effective.  It’s not maintenance, it’s life enhancement.  Our specially trained team of caregivers in Ottawa stands ready to assist elderly patients and their families with a whole host of chores and tasks.  For more information about personal care and respite services, contact Assurance Home Care today!