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Tech Tips for Older Adults

The technology is constantly evolving - from new emojis to software updates that we’re not quite sure what they do. It’s important to help older adults stay abreast of new advances, so they can keep up with our culture and not get left behind. Here are six tips to help your residents stay tech-savvy.
 
  1. Change your settings for easy visibility: Computers and smartphones have settings to increase text size, add brightness, alter colors, etc. You can help them change these by looking for terms like “ease of access” or “accessibility” under the settings.
  2. Be careful of phone numbers, email address and friend requests: To avoid scams, seniors should avoid communication with people they don’t know in the “real world.” Even emails may look like they are from a trusted friend or family member, but be sure to always check the sender’s email. If it looks strange or is not already in their contact list, they shouldn’t open it.
  3. Follow online etiquette: There are unspoken rules for social media. For example, writing with the caps lock turned on is generally read as yelling, angry or not. Moreover, make sure they know the real meaning or internet slang and emojis before they try it out.
  4. Want to learn something, search for it: We have the world’s knowledge at our fingertips. If they want to learn more about a subject, all they have to do is use a search engine like Google. They can search for local restaurants, top news stories, music from their childhood. You can give them an extra boost by bookmarking a few key websites, such as Facebook and YouTube.
  5. Check the sources of articles: Unfortunately, not all articles are genuine “news,” or even truthful. Encourage residents to determine who is writing the article. Do they tend to lean one way or the other? If they are ever unsure, they can use PolitiFact or FactCheck.org, both of which are nonpartisan fact-checking websites. They can also check out Snopes.com, which has been writing about viral claims and online rumors since the mid-1990s. It also maintains a list of known fake news websites.
  6. Check privacy settings on social media: Change privacy settings on social media websites, such as Facebook, to private. Remind them that if they leave their settings on public, anyone in the world can see their posts and photos they share.
You may also want to see if there is an existing free program in your community that partners older adults with someone well versed in computers and other technology like the Senior + Computer Buddy in New Jersey.
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