How Technology Can Be Used By Older People

Written by Chloe Harwood

It can be stereotypical to say senior citizens are clueless when it comes to new technology. Those who are at retirement age now will have had over twenty years using computers, and many older people are as fond of gadgets as those many years younger.

Admittedly, there are still those who find the latest trends confusing. An iPad must surely be something you wear over the eye, right? And if a family member is tweeting, then they are obviously making bird impressions.  Some older people consider technology pointless too. Unlike younger people, who resolutely remain glued to their smartphones, older people may struggle to understand why. After all, they have lived a life quite comfortably without the need to rely on Facebook for social interaction, and the joy of receiving a letter or card through the door is always more satisfying than getting an email.

Times do change, and for many people, technology advances have become a necessity. Not everything is designed purely for fun or status. For senior citizens, there are gadgets available which can be life-saving, dispensing medication, for example, or alerting medical services in an emergency. Using the internet need not be scary when many colleges and community centers offer tuition, often for free.

So whether you are a senior citizen or a caregiver, these are some of the technological advances that need to be embraced.

Smart watches

Remember the days when watches were only used for telling the time? Well, they still are, but smart watches have other helpful functions too. These include audible reminders when it is time to take medication, GPS technology to track the wearer’s location, heart rate and health monitoring and an SOS button to call for help in an emergency.


Not to be confused with the type you pop into your mouth, tablets are often an easier alternative to computers for many people. They are lighter, portable and feature touch screen technology.

The granddaddy of them all is the iPad, but there are many alternatives at a range of prices. With a whole world of apps to explore, brain fitness games, health tracking software, and full internet capability, a tablet is a near necessity.

For older adults with failing eyesight, tablets are a great way to read books, as the fonts can be enlarged or reduced as needed. The bright screens help, too.

Cell phones

There are now specific cell phones for seniors, with larger buttons and interfaces, voice activation, hearing aid compatibility and a range of apps for checking blood pressure, health monitoring, brain games and more. Of course, their primary function is for making phone calls, perfect for keeping in touch and calling for an emergency, whatever the location.


Older people often feel isolated and lonely, but Skype is a great way of keeping in touch with loved ones wherever they are in the world. With the press of a button, on a computer, tablet or smartphone, it is easy to talk to somebody you care about face to face.

About the author

Chloe Harwood