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Overcoming the great digital divide

Overcoming the great digital divide

It’s not uncommon for the elderly loved ones in our lives to feel frustrated with today’s technology. After all, much of the new devices and tech tools seem to be geared more toward the younger generations.

“What’s developing is a digital divide,” said Ken Dychtwald in a recent NY Times article. “New technologies are largely oriented to people under the age of 50. If you’re older than that, you have to muster the courage to ask your family how things work.”

Dychtwald is the chief executive of Age Wave, a research and consulting organization that focuses on population aging, and he understands the hurdles that older individuals face. In the article, he explained that “the workplace is a breeding pool for learning about and sharing new technologies. If you’re home, you don’t have that environment around you.”

The article did, however, offer up a few ways for seniors to stay active, stay in touch, stay informed, stay productive and be entertained. NY Times editor Sam Grobart suggested buying gaming systems like the Nintendo Wii to get exercise and improve balance. He also suggested getting a webcam, which is the next best thing to an in-person visit.

Surprisingly easy to use, Grobart also recommended that older individuals consider purchasing a tablet or an e-reader. And to enhance those experiences, he suggested apps like Evernote to help older individuals maintain organization and software like Dragon Dictation to transcribe e-mails and execute voice commands for those who might have arthritis or trouble typing.

“Evernote allows you to copy and paste almost anything you find online into searchable ‘notebooks,” Grobart explained. “Find a picture you like online? Copy and paste it into Evernote. Highlight a portion of an e-mail and store it in Evernote. Post a link your friend sent you to your Evernote account.”

Finally, Grobart said that investing in a digital photo frame can be a great way for grandparents to watch their grandkids grow. “If the grandchildren are at the beach, their parents can e-mail photos as they take them, and they will show up on the frame at home,” he said.

With all of the viable digital tools available, we here at Freedom Home Care hope that the elderly loved ones in our lives don’t write off technology. It can, after all, serve as a way to be healthy and stay connected with those who care.

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