Almost all of us rely on technology in our daily lives whether its for work, entertainment or financial management and today’s senior citizens are no exception. The advent of computers has allowed many home bound people who would otherwise be isolated from to society to participate in a global conversation.
Seniors today are using Facebook, email and Skype to keep in touch with family and friends around the world. Many retirement residences and libraries have programs in place to teach seniors the basics of computers. There are also several computers designed specifically for older clients, with large touch screen monitors and simple tabs for web browsing, video chats, photo sharing and email.
Learning a new skill, such as becoming computer literate, is an excellent means of keeping the aging mind active. Be mindful that older people may have poor eyesight so increasing font size can be helpful. Start out slowly, allowing one skill at at time to be mastered before moving on. Begin with some of the jargon, it can be overwhelming trying to make sense of this foreign language for many older people.
In addition to communicating with family, seniors are often interested in genealogy and can pursue this and other interests online. They may even want to check out some of the dating websites for seniors. Who knows what doors might be opened with just a click of the mouse.
For seniors who experience tremors from conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease, voice recognition software is available. Keyboards which have larger keys or high contrast can also make typing easier for seniors.
Funding has recently been made available for several senior technology programs through the Canadian Department of Employment and Social Development. For example, the Centre for Skills Development and Training just received money for its Technology Education for Seniors project in Burlington. For a full list of approved community-based funding projects, visit this link on the New Horizons for Seniors Program page.