3 Tips For Helping a Senior Get Comfortable With Cell Phones and Technology

  |     |   Senior Living

happy senior on cell phone

Technology is evolving at incredibly quick speeds. In some parts of the world, AI is being developed and implemented into robots. In others, there are mothers struggling to figure out how to open a web browser and reply to an email. This contrast is staggering, but it makes sense. Cell phones for seniors are a great way to combat the confusion. Many of the buttons on regular screens are too small, and for most seniors, it’s all very new. The screens are bright, they’re difficult to see, and they cannot figure out which buttons do what. 

A Cell Phone for Seniors

Remember that catchy commercial about the JitterBug? It had that theme song stuck in all of our heads for years! The JitterBug was one of the first popular cell phones for seniors. The reason for the craze wasn’t just the catchy tune, it was the wonderful ease of navigation. The buttons are bigger, making them large enough to see and also creating enough surface area to be easier to push. They don’t come with too many additional features that a senior would never use, and they are lightweight and easy to carry. 

Help your loved one understand how to navigate their cell phone, whether it is specially designed for them or not. Many cell phones have a simplified version built into the phone these days, and if you fiddle with the settings you may be able to reduce the number of widgets and buttons on a touch screen phone. However you do it, make sure that the brightness is not overbearing, the buttons are all in plain view, and the text is easy to read on the screen. 

iPad for Seniors: Is It Worth It?

iPads have always been renowned for their ease of navigation. Some people continue to buy technology from apple solely for that reason: they worry they would have to learn how to use all the additional features on an Android phone. iPad icons can be increased in size, making them easy to click for your aging loved one. If a stylus is too difficult for them to use, the bigger buttons will be a huge help. 

After the pandemic, many seniors realized that they would like to create a better relationship with technology. One way to help them get more comfortable is to make sure they understand the benefits. Being able to talk to grandchildren and other people in the family without having to go anywhere can be a powerful tool. Many older people do not want to go outside very much anymore, and kids can often be reckless. They also may not show symptoms of an illness, but still carry the germs.

Have patience with your aging loved one as they get used to their new tech. It may feel too foreign for them to get comfortable with it quickly, and this can be frustrating when it’s something that feels so simple. Adjust your approach and be patient with them–this is a big change, however silly it may feel. If you’re having a difficult time getting through to them, try searching for an online class or video that can help with your explanation process. Here are a few tips:

1. Take it slow

Let your loved one move at their own pace. This is all new to them! 

2. Make sure they understand the benefits

If they know what they’re gaining, it can make it feel more worthwhile. Missing the family is a powerful motivator! 

3. Assure them that mistakes are okay

Learning new things can be frustrating. Make sure they know it’s okay to mess it up sometimes. 

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