Smartphones Can Help Seniors Stay Connected

For many of us our smartphones are an essential part of our lives, helping us navigate the roads, avoid traffic jams, check our email, snap photos on the fly, update social media accounts, and more.  In fact, anyone who has ever panicked upon realizing they left their phone at home knows that perhaps we have become a bit too reliant on our beloved phones.

For the most part, though, smartphone ownership is limited to younger demographics.  Seniors (age 65+) could benefit greatly from smartphones to stay connected to loved ones in other ways than phone calls alone (i.e. through social media), but they trail the younger generations in terms of smartphone adoption, according to a Pew survey conducted in 2011.

The survey found that 68 percent of respondents aged 66-74 (classified on the survey as “Older Boomers”) reported having a cell phone, while just 48 percent of respondents aged 75+ (classified as the “G.I. Generation”) reported having one.  Older Boomers used their cell phones for taking pictures, sending or receiving text messages, accessing the Internet and sending or receiving emails at higher rates than did the G.I Generation.

While the survey didn’t indicate the reasons for lower smartphone use among seniors, it’s probably safe to assume that since seniors didn’t grow up with this technology it may feel a bit overwhelming and confusing at first.  But there are plenty of ways seniors can benefit from smartphone technology.  Our phones function well beyond phone calls, enhancing communication between family members and friends through mediums like social media and connecting us to the world at large.

In-home and assisted living caregivers can help seniors learn how to navigate and use the various functions of their smartphones, including the camera and email features, which could potentially help seniors feel more engaged and connected.

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