Recently I met a friend of mine who asked what I would recommend for his 83-year-old father, a smartphone or tablet? This reminded me that I’ve already been approached with almost the same question from people around me many times.
The story usually goes like this: the elderly have a landline phone, which cannot be by their side at all times. Using a laptop just doesn’t work. Skyping always ends in frustration on both sides.
Does this ring a bell?
Because of these issues, I’ve spent the last few years focusing on tech for the elderly – countless hours to find out what can work for elderly people with minimal computer knowledge. Among them, my own grandma.
So how did the chat about senior tech with my friend continue?
Well, I asked him why he wants to give a smart device to his father. Then I realized that even though his father has a standard headset, it remains switched off most of the time for sometimes unknown reasons. In addition, his father often mentions the possibilities of video calling and he just wants to be more in touch although he understands that his son is quite busy with his kids and life.
So I said, welcome to the sandwich generation – quite common for many of us. Work, kids, partners, commitments, holidays, … and last but not least, our parents. Nobody wants to hear that they don’t have time for their own parents, right? But the reality is that we simply cannot always be there for everyone.
Then I suggested my friend to get his father a tablet, and not a smartphone. For people who are not tech-savvy, they see a smartphone as a “telephone” yet more complicated and seemingly difficult to use. And the phone feature is the most important. So I’d let them keep the traditional phone they understand, and start with another tech device which gives them a new perspective on how to use modern technology.
With a simplified interface, they can easily learn how to make video calls or browse the Internet. And what follows is that in a few weeks they will feel much more confident. Why? Because you’re helping on the other side, plus they’ll quickly realize that they won’t break something on the device.
From this point onwards, it is not a stretch to give them a smartphone (with the same simplified interface). They have already entered the “intimidating” tech world with their tablet. Most importantly, you have a new and easy way to stay in touch. You become their hero.
You might have different needs and your parents different skills, but generally from a high level perspective, for seniors it is all about an easy approach to tech from the very beginning.
Simplify tech for your loved ones, try Oscar Senior now!