Technology can be both intimidating and expensive. Fortunately, there are ways to get the tech devices and services seniors need without breaking the bank. Plus, many devices and tools are easy to use, even if you’re new to such products. If you’re in an assisted living or rehab facility, the following tips can help you stay connected to loved ones regardless of the distance.
Look for Tablets and Laptops with Specific Features
While you can find tablets and devices with many advanced features, you can expect to pay more for some upgrades. The good news is that the features that seniors need most are among the most affordable. For example, all tablets have touch screen interfaces, which are especially useful for older adults, and many are compatible with keyboards, too.
Consider the following when shopping for a tablet:
Try Out Voice Assistants
Voice assistants are another technology service that is beneficial for seniors—and almost half of Americans are already using them, says Pew Research. From Apple’s Siri to Google Assistant to Amazon Alexa, all manners of voice assistants come built-in with a range of devices.
A voice assistant can make phone calls on your behalf, schedule reminders so you don’t forget appointments or medications, and answer questions about the weather forecast, news, and more. The key to choosing a voice assistant is compatibility with your smart home equipment and any existing devices.
For example, Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant works with Amazon Kindle tablets and Echo devices. Apple’s Siri is available on iPads, iPhones, and Mac computers. Google Assistant is available on Google smartphones and through Google Home speakers and devices.
Don’t Forget About Discounts
No matter what type of device you want to buy, make sure to look for ways to save before you check out. Looking online for promotional codes, sales, and coupons from retailers like Best Buy and Walmart can help you get the best deal possible. If you shop at sites like Rakuten, you can find deals from stores with free gift offers so you can save even more.
Avoid Overspending on Cellular Data
Making a lot of phone calls—or even sending text messages or browsing the internet—can use up your cellular phone data plan. Making sure you have a good phone plan with enough data, text, and calling allowance can help you avoid overage charges. Plus, many companies offer discounted plans for seniors.
Use Free Calling Services
According to the Family Online Safety Institute, an organization dedicated to protecting people from risk and harm while using the internet, video calling is popular among all demographics, but seniors especially can benefit from connecting virtually with family and friends. But video chatting can use your cellular data, quickly running up your bill, unless you have a high enough minute allowance on your plan.
One great way to connect via video chat for free is by using apps. For example, Viber and WhatsApp are video calling and messaging services that let you chat with anyone for free. Both apps can use your Wi-Fi connection rather than using your smartphone’s data. Plus, you can use many video calling apps on tablets and computers, too.
Answer the Door Easily with Video Monitoring
From doorbells with built-in cameras to video surveillance inside and outside your home, technology can help you feel safer and make life easier, too. Doorbell video cameras allow seniors to answer the door without physically crossing the room or going downstairs. Many devices also allow two-way communication so that you can speak to delivery people or visitors without having to open the door.
Adapting to new technology can be intimidating at first, but the benefits of such tools are too great to ignore. For seniors who are working to maintain their independence and connectivity with friends and loved ones, all while sticking to their budget, there’s nothing like the right technological tools to help achieve your goals.
Photo via Pixabay
Tom McClintock is the owner and founder of Relationship Martech.