Tips for Learning and Using Technology While Aging-In-Place

Tips for Learning and Using Technology While Aging-In-Place

According to the AARP, in the past year, 51% of older Americans say they bought some type of technology product. The top purchases were:

  • Smartphone (23%)
  • Computer or laptop (12%)
  • Smart television (11%)
  • Tablet (10%)
  • Smart home technology or device (12%)
  • Wearable device (7%) (4)

There are many devices for seniors living alone that can improve their everyday lives as they age in place, including a medical alert system. An Alert1 emergency response solution can provide you with a fast and easy way to contact someone for help when you experience a fall or emergency. When you press the panic button, it will instantly contact and emergency response agent who will talk to you through the speaker and ask you questions to analyze the situation. Then they will contact whoever you need for help and stay on the line until help has arrived.

1. Computer Tips for Seniors

Computers have the most abilities of any other technology items on this list. You can access the internet, watch movies, read books and newspapers, play games, listen to music, video chat with people, go on social media websites, and more. Computers typically have a lot of storage space, so you can store photos, documents, music, and movies.

Here are some tips for using your computer and keeping it working properly:

  • Invest in Good Antivirus Software and Keep It Up to Date – This will help protect your computer from viruses that can damage your computer.
  • Change Settings to Read and See More Clearly – Computers have a variety of different settings that can make them more accessible to everyone. You can change settings such as font size, color contrast, and brightness to tailor your computer to your needs and preferences.
  • Don’t Keep Your Computer On – Your computer will need to perform occasional updates. It can’t do this if you leave it turned on all the time. If you leave your computer on all the time, it can become slow and experience other performance issues.
  • Keep It Charged – If you are working on a project, or watching a movie, it can be frustrating when your computer loses its charge and shuts off. Remember to pay attention to the battery life and charge your computer when you need to.
  • Learn How to Use Keyboard Shortcuts – Learning how to use keyboard shortcuts can help make things easier and save you some time when performing certain common tasks with a computer.
  • Buy Computer Accessories for Seniors – Choose computer accessories that make the computer more accessible to you such as large print keyboards, typing aids, etc.

2. Phone and Tablet Tips for the Elderly

According to the AARP, “Smartphone adoption is at 86% among Americans age 50 to 59, 81% for those 60 to 69, and 62% for those 70 and older.” (5) Phones and tablets offer many of the same functions as computers, but they are much more portable. They typically don’t have as much storage and can lack some abilities of a computer depending on what type you get. Phones are commonly used for texting, emailing, and calling people; using social media; and for navigation while traveling.

  • Add Family and Friends as Contacts - Add your family and friends to your contacts so that you know who is calling you. If your phone doesn’t recognize the number and you aren’t expecting a call from anyone who is not in your contacts, you can decline the call to avoid telemarketers and scams.
  • Use a Captioned Telephone – If you have trouble hearing, use a captioned phone so that you can read the screen and get all the information you need more easily.
  • Keep It Charged – Keep your phone charged so that you can use it whenever you need it.
  • Look for a Large Keyboard for Texting – A larger keyboard size and font will make typing and reading text messages easier.
  • Disable Unwanted Apps – Disable any unwanted apps to make finding the apps you do use easier.

3. Smart Television Tips for Older Adults

Smart televisions offer more movie and show options than cable. With a smart television you can watch all sorts of movies on your larger screen rather than on a computer, tablet, or phone. You can download different streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+, and more. While most streaming services require you to pay for a subscription, you can also find free streaming services.

  • Hire Help – Depending on where you purchased your smart TV, set-up help may be available right from the store. Alternatively, there are many tech-savvy individuals or companies that you can hire to set up and/or connect all your devices and show you how it works.
  • Connect Your Smart Assistant or Phone – This will provide you with an easy way to control your smart television.
  • Figure Out What Content You Want – Research the movies and shows each streaming service offers before you subscribe to any.
  • Use It for Fitness – Download the YouTube app to find fitness videos for seniors so that you can follow exercise routines on your smart TV (provided this is approved by your doctor). Be sure to wear your Alert1 medical alert wrist watch while you do. This way you can track your steps and have an instant and convenient way to contact someone for help if you fall or experience a medical emergency while exercising.

4. Assistive Devices and Gadgets for Seniors

There are also multiple devices that can improve your daily life and keep you safe while you age in place. According to the AARP, “Older individuals are particularly interested in using smart home and security tech to see who is at the front door (59%), to automatically shut off appliances (42%), to control a thermostat (38%), to detect a fall or get emergency help (39%), and to monitor doors and windows (48%).” (6)

  • Smart Assistants – Smart assistants, a form of software stored inside a device (such as Google Home and Amazon Echo), can give you reminders, tell you the weather, answer questions, and control various appliances in your home. You can access their abilities by simply talking to them.
  • Lighting – Smart lights can be controlled via smart assistance or by apps on your phone. If you are at risk of falling, this technology can help keep you safe by controlling the lights from anywhere in your home. You won’t have to cross dark rooms to turn lights on or off.
  • Thermostat Controls – You can also control your thermostat using smart assistants or your smart device. Similar to lighting, you log into an app to change the settings on your thermostat, or you can tell your smart assistant to change the settings for you.
  • Security Cameras – Security cameras can help let you know who is on your property. By using an app on your phone, you can see and talk to whoever is near the camera.
  • Medical Alert Technology for Seniors Senior life-saving alert systems can ensure that you have someone on call for emergencies whenever and wherever you need help. Alert1 emergency button alarms for seniors allow you to contact a certified emergency response agent instantaneously by simply pressing a button. Unlike a phone, this small device is wearable, and there is no need to find the contact you are looking for or input multiple numbers.

You can also get a fall detection device for seniors that will automatically contact an emergency response agent for help when it registers a fall. Certified emergency response agents are available to you 24/7/365. They can help you analyze the situation and contact whoever you need for help. They will also stay on the line until help arrives, so you’ll never experience a frightening emergency alone.

Useful Apps for Seniors

1. Social Media – Social media apps like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn can keep you in touch with anyone in the world. Socialization is important for seniors’ health and wellness as it helps keep the brain sharp and improve mood. ¾ of all adults ages 50 and older use social media on a regular basis, primarily Facebook, followed by YouTube, Instagram, and LinkedIn.” (7)

2. Zoom – Zoom is a video chat service that can also help seniors socialize. You can call family and friends to learn what is happening in their lives and tell them about your day. This became a very popular mode of communication during the pandemic, as those in isolation sought out ways to “see” their loved ones.

3. Brain & Word Games ­– Brain games and word games are another great way to keep your mind challenged and sharp. Keeping your brain healthy with brain training apps and word puzzles has even been shown to help reduce the risk of falling.

4. Entertainment Apps ­– There are countless streaming services to choose from. A streaming service is an online source of entertainment that allows you to watch movies and television shows. There are also streaming services for music. Some popular ones include Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Hulu, Pandora, Spotify, and YouTube.

4. Budget and Finance Apps ­– If you need help managing your finances, investigate budgeting and financial apps for seniors. These apps can help you track your money, find discounts, manage bills and more.

5. Medical Apps ­– Medical apps can help you track doctor’s appointments, find the best deals on medicine, track your senior health and wellness and more.

Ready, Set, Go

If you’re ready to start integrating technology into your life, these technology tips for the elderly can help you get started:

1. Don’t Be Afraid

Technology can be intimidating if you are not familiar with it, but being afraid of it can prevent you from realizing incredible opportunities. There are many ways in which technology can improve your life. You’ve already come so far in life, take the extra step to learn something new and do things you never thought you would.

2. Be Open to It

The more open you are to learning more about technology, the more you will get out of it. You may hear negative things about technology from friends or the media, but you won’t know what it can do for you until you try. If you end up not liking something, you can simply stop using it. On the other hand, if you like it, you may find that it can improve your life in a variety of ways.

3. Learn Its Value and What It Can Do for You

The first step in integrating technology into your life is coming to understand its value. While you can get by without it, technology can open a door full of new opportunities for you.

  • You can buy things to fulfill your wants and needs without leaving the house.
  • You can socialize and keep in touch with friends and family using your devices.
  • You can learn about almost anything you want in the digital universe.
  • You can access endless sources of entertainment.
  • You can manage financial, legal, and medical matters.
  • You can improve your safety while aging in place.

According to Think with Google, 91% of seniors use technology to stay in touch with friends and family, 87% use it to organize their finances, and 73% use it to improve their health and wellness. (2) By learning how to use computers, cell phones, tablets, and smart technology, you can enhance your quality of life.

You can find ways to access almost anything you may need with technology. For instance, you can buy Alert1 assistive technology for seniors. If you mostly stay in your home, you can get an in-home personal alarm button. This model includes a home base unit and pendant with a 600-foot range. On the other hand, if you like to travel, you can get a mobile medical alert pendant. This model includes a 2-way speaker that you can use to talk to an emergency response agent for help.

You can also add fall detection to both models. Fall detection alarms can automatically contact an emergency response agent for help when the built-in sensor registers a fall. This is helpful in cases where you are injured or have a condition that prevents you from pressing a button.

If you want the most technologically-advanced system, you can get a medical alert watch for seniors. This emergency response system is sleek and stylish and looks just like a normal wrist watch. It also includes a weather app and a pedometer. The weather app can help you plan for your day while the pedometer can help you meet your fitness goals. All of these models can instantly put you in touch with an emergency response agent whenever you need help, 24/7/365.

4. Ask for Help

If you are trying to use a new device or learn a new app or program, reach out for help. Ask a friend, family member, or neighbor if they can assist. If you know how to do a Google or YouTube search, you can also find plenty of answers, information, and tutorials online that may also be able to help you.

5. Take Notes

Whether you have someone teaching you or you keep learning through Google searches, you will likely find it helpful to take notes. Keep a notebook to write down what the icons for the apps or software you use look like, write down website addresses you need, and perhaps most importantly, write down all your username and password combinations.

6. Be Patient with Yourself

Learning a new skill takes time at any age. It is important to be patient with yourself as you learn new technology. Take the process one step at a time. Technology can be complex, and it can take a while to learn all the different tasks it can perform. If it helps, you can try to pace yourself by learning one new thing every day or at whatever pace works for you.

7. Learn How to Keep Yourself Safe Online

According to Statista , as of April 2021, 75% of seniors 65+ use the internet. (3) It is important to guard your personal information when surfing the web. If someone else gets your information, they can pose as you and get into mischief that can be harmful to you. For instance, they can open accounts in your name, pose as you on social media, or may even try to access your financial accounts if they get the right information. Watch out for suspicious activity when using the internet.

  • Use strong passwords, write them down, and store them in a safe place.
  • Don’t give anyone your social security number.
  • Don’t click on links in suspicious emails.
  • Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know.
  • If any offers seem too good to be true, they typically are.
  • Avoid buying things from websites that aren’t secure.
  • Read reviews before buying things.
  • Don’t click on suspicious pop-up ads.
  • Don’t put your personal information on websites, unless you are certain they are trustworthy.

There are endless ways technology can benefit seniors who are aging in place. Get started today and watch a whole new world open up to you!



1 AARP staff. April. 2021. Technology & Innovation. AARP Press Room. Tech Usage Among Older Adults Skyrockets During Pandemic.

2 Twohig, Kelly. July. 2021. Consumer Trends: Digital Seniors. Think with Google. Why Marketers Picture Seniors’ Is Getting Old.

3 Johnson, Joseph. April. 2021. Internet Demographics and Use. Statista. Share of Adults in the United States Who Use the Internet in 2021, By Age Group.

4,5,6,7 Kakulla, Brittne Nelson. Jan. 2020. Technology. AARP. Older Adults Keep Pace on Tech Usage.