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How Technology Is Finding A Place With Seniors and Grandparents

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Home » Technology & Our Grandparents
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Technology & Seniors – How It’s Finding a Place with the Grandparents

Regina WoodardSummary: Although technology, the internet, facebooking and the like are all standard-issue for the younger generations, the case can be made that the group that has benefitted the most from technology is our grandparents and seniors
exclusively for Assisted Living Directory

Regina is a contributor for Assisted Living Directory

I’m a big proponent of technology and the usefulness that it affords. Maybe it’s because I’m a member of the Gen X crowd – those of us in the 30-something literally grew up with computer, way before those ‘millennials’ did. In fact, the personal computer was introduced into our homes during the 1980s and we were the first folks to learn about this ‘Internet’ thing that Al Gore "invented".

But in the decades since the first introduction of something called a Macintosh or computers that ran a form of household standards of ‘Windows’, technology has advanced further than we probably could ever imagine.

Ironically, the people who have probably benefitted more from technology isn’t those of us who are able to keep in contact with our friends through Facebook, find jobs from LinkedIn, or even follow our favorite celebrities thanks to Twitter and Google+; no, the people who are benefitting the most is that of our grandparents.

In the past, technology was seen as something hard to understand and not really worth the time to learn for not only seniors, but many baby boomers. Social networking, for instance, was seen as something the young kids did, to match our weird tastes in music and our unhealthy obsession with watching kitties and puppies do adorable things through online videos.

But in the last six months, the growth in users 65 and older has skyrocketed. Think about it – in the midst of a Great Recession, many college age kids moved away and some baby boomers may have as well, going out to find better paying jobs in order to support themselves and their families. This often means that seniors are left in their homes or have been placed in assisted living communities in order to get the help they need when no one is around.

With so many kids, baby boomers, and seniors residing in other places, keeping in contact wasn’t as simple as just calling or even sending a piece of snail mail. Now, thanks to technology, more and more seniors are drifting towards it in order to speak with grandchildren or great grandchildren; many baby boomers have been thrust into the digital age, thanks to their current or maybe even previous jobs.

Much of the business world has come about to technology albeit slowly, however the impact that it has on their consumers and partners has been a big boost to helping baby boomers learn about the growing digital life that many of my generation and younger have known about for years.

Does Technology Really Help Seniors?

When looking at technology, you need to look at the impact it has on various age groups and demographics. Again, my generation and younger have grown up with computers, the Internet, email, smartphones, etc, so taking the leap in learning more and more about technology isn’t that much of a stretch. However, for the generation above mine – baby boomers – some of the technology is new and unfamiliar.

I’ve come across several in the baby boomer age group that are in one of three groups – those that find it unnecessary to embrace technology, those who embrace it enthusiastically, or those who are into between both groups. The first group are those who don’t like the cold personification of, well, personable relations; the idea of communicating with someone through a computer screen or mysterious wires doesn’t make sense and isn’t very appealing.

The second group, of course, are those who have joined the ranks of the early adopters sometimes, those that want to stand in line for the latest and greatest technical device.

I think the most common, if not the first group, is the last group, those that like some of the aspects of technology, but don’t want to be using it every day. This group has mostly been introduced to technology thanks in part to their work or even their kids and in many cases, they may turn around and teach their own parents how to use the same technology to keep in contact.

Seniors will usually fit into the first group, those who don’t see any use to this Facebook thing, but as I said, this demographic is steadily growing. And it’s not just in the use of online technology – consider the devices that can alert medical and health personnel to a home in the case of a fall or even the new technologies of having a personal robot to keep them company and even remind them to take their medications.

Where Seniors are Headed

With the growing numbers of baby boomers and seniors heading to the digital life, does this mean that the older generation will unseat us as the tech lovers we grew up to be? Not very likely, however the push does help to keep seniors connected, as well as provide some companionship, if the trend continues.

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- Article by Regina Woodard exclusively for Assisted Living Directory

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