Seniors and Technology

Techs Impact on Aging

Technology has seen a lot of improvement over the years, and this means over the course of adult lifetimes. Most adults have witnessed everything; from the men landing on the moon to significant medical advances, and of course, the rise of a society that now depends on the internet.

Seniors are also aware of the ways in which technology is changing the face of aging. Below are three of the tech solutions that has made an impact on aging by keeping older adults safe, healthy, and socially connected while ensuring that caregiving tasks are less stressful for those that are taking care of them;

SOCIAL CONNECTION

According to a survey carried out by United Healthcare in 2012, staying socially connected or engaged is just as important to healthy aging the same way genetics and maintaining a healthy body is. While there’s no tech that can replace the one on one interaction that happens between people, internet based communication channels such as social media and emails, or video chat services such as Skype, allows seniors to continue enjoying their social interactions when visiting friends and family isn’t too frequent or just not possible. There are internet how-to classes that seniors can check in with, and most seniors have grandchildren that can set them up and let them know how to handle devices and services.

SAFETY

This is another great impact technology has on aging. Seniors who are living alone can now get help just by pushing a button. Studies have shown that most seniors stay in their own homes as they age. Technology has created a way to make them safer should they be staying alone in a house. Any older adult that is living alone should have a PERS (Personal Emergency Response System). PERS is a safety device that is worn by seniors; it allows them to call for help just by pushing a button. Family members as well as seniors can now have peace of mind with the knowledge that the PERS can get them help whenever they want it.

Another safety impact of technology on aging is GPS tracking devices. A senior with Alzheimer’s disease, or any other dementia, most especially those that are bound to wander off when no one is looking, should be well monitored and taken care of. There are now GPS trackers that monitors the location of these category of seniors. These trackers can also send alerts to the caregivers enabling them to know where the seniors are and if they are in any kind of danger.

HEALTH TRACKING

Thanks to technology, there are now smartphone apps and cloud-based information tracking systems that can aid seniors and their caregivers by helping them keep vital information such as physician contacts, medical history, and medication schedules, and also help them keep their health conditions organized and handy. There are also health tracking tools that allows professional caregivers to have a complete and precise set of information about a senior, thereby helping them make the best treatment decisions.

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The Importance of Staying Connected

The Importance of Staying Connected

Staying connected is why people predominantly use social media (a close second is selling).

More than anything else, more than the fun, more than the brain training, or reading news articles or watching cat videos—staying connected is the biggest reason seniors should be (and are) on social media. Because for age that is so connected, loneliness and depression are at an all-time high.

Why are we lonelier than ever?

In an age where talking with friends is only a few clicks away, people are lonelier than ever. Sadly, depression and a deep sense of loneliness is most prominent in older Americans.

What’s surprising is that even those who are married or live with partners are also lonely or depressed. This is because, despite their friendships and relationships they feel they are alone. What this tells us is that it’s not how many relationships you have, it’s the depth of the relationship. Typically, it’s seniors with depression or a deep sense of loneliness whose health declines rapidly, and who die sooner.

It’s been hypothesized that people who lose the will to live, simply go to bed one evening and die peacefully in their sleep—how this happens is still unclear.

We are not, by any stretch of the imagination, implying social media could solve this problem. What we are saying is that: seniors are not alone. And they should not have to feel alone.

An online chat or video call with friends or family each day can help remind them they are still loved, still interesting and that they are not alone.

One way they can connect with people, with friends, with loved ones is through the internet—whether that’s Facebook, Twitter, email or some other form of social media.

 

Social media cannot solve your problems. These platforms are only tools, and how you use those tools can either help improve your interactions with your friends and family and the world—or it can exacerbate your loneliness.

Loneliness is a horrible feeling. Being surrounded by people who love you, and who you love, and still feeling hollow is a hard thing to describe. It’s a hard place to be, mentally. A lot of darkness and not much hope.

Facebook can help you stay connected with friends and family. You can read the news and watch trailers for movies, TV shows, learn about new technologies and ideas. Facebook’s groups allow you to find people with similar interests who you can show new things to and vice versa.

Twitter, the internet’s cocktail party. You’ll find politicians tweeting, celebrities sharing photos, football scores, basketball scores. You can receive short updates about storms, snows, traffic accidents and road closures.

Twitter is where you can reach out to people and find out information that you need to know. You can actually tweet to celebrities, news broadcasters and politicians and ask them questions. There’s no guarantee they will reply, but on occasion you might be surprised.

LinkedIn is the best way to connect and interact with businesses—if you’re looking for work your LinkedIn profile can act as a resume. LinkedIn is the largest network for professionals online. You will not find a better place to interact with the professional community online. LinkedIn will provide you with a platform to blog about your ideas both business and professional—seniors can leverage their experiences both professional and personal to teach others.

Google+ has its uses. But it’s limping along behind the bigger, better social platforms. By all means explore and see if this platform is right for you, but in truth Facebook is a better place to be. Facebook is constantly evolving with the user in mind. Google is the best search engine on the internet. But as a social platform it lacks a lot of the subtleties that make the other platforms enjoyable.

Snapchat is platform for short video messaging that only lasts 24 hours from the time of taking it. Snapchat also has news, sports, entertainment—in itself it’s a platform for sharing messages and funny videos and can be a source of entertainment for seniors.

Pinterest is a visual bookmark for all the activities you’d like to do, recipes you’d like to make. It’s a way to explore new ideas, and old ideas, to find new books, new knitting patterns, new music, and new fashions.

Social media can help seniors with stay connected across continents, across the world. You will find that in engaging in social media, the platform you chose will help you to feel more awake, more alive. But remember: any social media platform is only a tool, and like any tool it requires someone who knows what they’re doing to make it work.

Used properly, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Pinterest can provide entertaining, education and connection. Used properly, these platforms can help you stay connected and active.

keeping track of social media accounts

Senior Advice: Keeping Track of Social Accounts

Want to use multiple social platforms but are daunted by the idea of keeping tabs on each one? Thinking it’ll take up a lot of time that you don’t want to spend in front of a computer or on your phone?

The thing is you, you can choose to stick to just one social media platform, say Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest.  However, it’s not uncommon for people to have an account on 6 or 7 social media platforms.

The reason for this is that the people we interact with on Facebook aren’t necessarily the same people with talk to on Twitter, and those whom we send snaps to, are not the same people we interact with on Instagram.

Each social media has its own purpose, its own audience, and its own style. And each gives you a reason to use it—even if it’s only for five minutes a day. You can send a 30 second snap to a friend, or send a message to a friend on Facebook Messenger.

Or you might spend hours pinning pins to one of your Pinterest hobby boards. Or using Twitter to read up on the latest news and information—or the football score.

What if there were a way you could keep tabs on each of your social media platforms: post to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus and Instagram with just one website?

Social media manager tools

Social media manager tools were developed for business with multiple social media channels who wanted to talk to (and with) their audience on each social platform. These management tools reduced a business operators time and cost by aggregating all social platforms in one place.

This allowed business owners to more effectively reach a wider audience faster, quicker and with fewer errors. Social media management tools range from the basic like Hootsuite and Buffer to the more far reaching corporate platforms like Sprout Social and Hubspot.

A social media manger tool is a website that allows you to manage all your social media accounts in just one place. Well, not all of your accounts. Pinterest and Snapchat are still fiercely independent, saying if people want to use them they need to be on the platform itself.

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus are fine with people scheduling out content and posting from social media management tools. And let’s be honest, Google Plus will take all the help it can get.

For the casual social media user, a social media manager tool may be unnecessary. After all, if you’ve only got a Facebook page you don’t need a social media manger tool.

If you’re thinking of using social media to either help kick start your business or give it more exposure. Then a social media manger tool like Hootsuite or Buffer could the ideal option for you. Buffer and Hootsuite offer the option of posting content to a calendar—that is, you can schedule content out so if you spent an hour every few days you could ensure there’s a enough content for a week.

Using an app like Buffer or Hootsuite allows you to track your social posts, as well as engagement and valuable insights into your potential customers.

Buffer

This is by far the most popular as well as the cleanest and easy to navigate. The set-up process for Buffer is easy:

You can use either your Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn account to sign-in or create an account using your email address.

Once you’ve signed in, you can then attach your other social media platforms and create content calendars. The benefit of Buffer is that it can, based on your location and time zone, offer suggestion for the best times to post, which days, and how often each day.

Hootsuite

Manage all your profiles from a single dashboard. Unlike buffer, which doesn’t care whether you use it for person use or business, Hootsuite requires a login email that has a business URL attached to it. If you don’t have one, we suggest you use Buffer.

For those who do have a business email—this is essentially an email that is @yourbusiness rather than @gmail or @hotmail.

Hootsuite and Buffer have many similarities, but it what comes down to in the end is what you want from a social media manager dashboard. Hootsuite’s okay, if you’re willing to pay for it—and to navigate its somewhat clunky dashboard.

social media - seniors

Why do seniors want to be on social media?

The truth is, many seniors already are using one social media platform or another. For instance: one of Facebook’s largest growing demographics are people over the age of 55. Women over 50 are on Pinterest: after all, Pinterest is the best place to window shop in the world. It’s an entertaining place that has many interesting ideas in recipes, DIY projects, knitting ideas, drawing, art, books and so much more.

Seniors want to be on social media for the same reasons everyone else does: to stay in touch, to keep up to date with news and information and to be entertained.

Maybe around 2007-2009 it would have been rare to see someone over 35/40 using Facebook (but not Twitter). But since then internet has become a ubiquitous part of our everyday lives. Everyone is on there (although this in itself is not a good reason to join) talking with each other, challenging each other and generally living.

Which is odd, or at least something you might expect to see in a Philip K. Dick or Arthur C. Clarke story. Billions of people every day stare at a computer screen talking and laughing with friends, reading up on the latest technologies; learning how to cook, how to knit, how to paint and draw.

Seniors want to be on social media because it can help them to stay active; maybe not physically but certainly it can help them stay mentally active—you don’t need your legs to use social media. Which may sound insensitive, but the truth is for bedridden seniors they don’t have much to look forward to during the day—what if they could video call a night just for a few minutes. Or receive a short video message before bed.

A quick note on the state of the internet

Did you know in that late 90s the internet was called a fad? Businesses entrenched in their ways said it would never be able to take off because television and radio were already so well established: the really believed the internet could never break into the market.

Needless to say, those naysayers were on the wrong side of history. And for those who said television and radio would die: they were wrong too. While radio and television aren’t as important or powerful as they were pre-internet, they are still a big part of people’s lives.

People, as a species, crave connectivity. Modern humans fear loneliness the way cavemen feared the dark. It’s not being alone that’s bad—many people crave being alone. But loneliness is an evil beast, you can be surrounded by loved ones, by people who genuinely care for you and love you and still feel lonely.

That’s what people don’t understand. To the uneducated a nursing home prevents loneliness because there are so many bodies in one place. But that’s what they are bodies. To the lonely, a room full of people means nothing, because what they crave they cannot find, and they cannot find it because they don’t know what it is.

The internet has provided people with a way to connect, a way to find people who are like-minded: a way to stymie the loneliness.

 

 

Can Social Media Help Alzheimer’s?

Social media means many things to many people. Racking up a ton of friends on Facebook isn’t going to help a person suffering from Alzheimer’s. But then, racking up huge number of friends on Facebook isn’t really going to help anyone, unless they like the numbers for their ego.

Alzheimer’s is a horrible disease, and research is going on daily into preventing, slowing down and curing it. While the research continues searching for a definitive treatment, there are some measures for slowing the process a little.

One writer put it like this:

“Could you imagine if a weekly Skype call with your grandparents could prolong their memory for six months, or a year, or ten years? What if exchanging five-second snapchats with your best friend every day were proven to decrease your chances of developing Alzheimer’s by 5%?”

What is Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s is a chronic neurodegenerative disease that starts slowly and worsens progressively over time. As yet, there is no cure and the exact cause has not yet been uncovered. Many theories abound as to what might cause it, but at the writing of this, they are working theories only, with nothing definitive. Everything from gum disease, to old age and to not actively using your brain as you age.

Alzheimer myths, and the late, great Sir Terry Pratchett

For a while it was believed those who were creative, intelligent, and who were constantly using their brains would not get Alzheimer’s: or at least their chances would be minimal. This has proven to be a myth. Staying physically and mentally active can help to slow the effects of Alzheimer’s but it can neither stop it nor prevent it.

An example of this would be the British novelist Sir Terry Pratchett. Pratchett was knighted by the queen for his services to literature—he spent the better part of forty years writing some of the most entertaining, witty satirical fantasy novels you will ever read.

He was diagnosed with posterior cortical atrophy or PCA (Benson’s syndrome), an atypical form of Alzheimer’s in 2007. Here was one the greatest modern writers of fantasy and even he, with all his brilliance and intelligence ad wit, died 8 years after he was diagnosed. In that time, he managed to write 9 best sellers, and write 3 documentaries. He called his disease the embuggerance: refusing to let the stigma of Alzheimer’s claim him.

You see, Pratchett knew his diagnosis was a death sentence: his diagnosis meant that his chances of reaching 70 were slim to none. So, instead of succumbing to defeat, Pratchett wrote about Alzheimer’s and went on British TV to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s. And he wasn’t just trying to find a cure, although he did want future generations to have that option.

He campaigned for more social awareness—for people to take better care of Alzheimer’s sufferers and to understand what it was to suddenly lose your hold, to go from being intelligent and articulate and watch it slowly

slip through your fingers. And for Pratchett he knew it was happening, he lived it fully cognizant of what was happening.

Sir Terry Pratchett wrote constantly and when the embuggerance took away his ability to write, he had a computer program installed to dictate what he said. Because that’s what posterior cortical atrophy does, it slowly disrupts complex visual procession (you know you’re holding a fork, but you’re not sure what it is or what you’re doing with it). He stayed active right up until he couldn’t. Which may sound silly, but the point is he stayed active and possibly gave himself a few more years. They may not have been particularly fun years for him, but he gave his family—and his loyal readers—more years of his shining self. Not to mention the attention he brought to Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

Pratchett leveraged his celebrity status to get in front of many people as possible and let the world know. He stayed active right up to the end, and showed Alzheimer’s sufferers and their carers that there is plenty of life after diagnosis. But it is up to both the person who suffers from Alzheimer’s and those around them to help them stay active both physically and mentally.

That’s the point of mentioning Sir Terry Pratchett. His collection of non-fiction “A Slip of the Keyboard” contains most of his writings on the subject of Alzheimer’s and is definitely worth reading if you would like to know more information on the subject.

There is one thing about Alzheimer’s that researchers can agree on

One thing everyone does agree on (at the writing of this book) is this: Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging. However, the greatest risk factor of getting Alzheimer’s is increasing age. Which is based on the fact that most people with Alzheimer’s are 65 or older. Although, there are around 200,000 people in the U.S. alone who have what is known as early onset Alzheimer’s.

Life expectancy for someone with Alzheimer’s depends on two factors: their age, and when they are diagnosed. Typically, a person with Alzheimer’s—once symptoms are apparent to others—has an average life expectancy of eight years.

Treatments for Alzheimer’s

While there is no cure, yet, there are treatments currently available which can temporarily slow the worsening of memory loss symptoms as well as improve the quality of life for people with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.

Around the world, researchers and doctors are working on the problem trying to find a cure to this horrible disease, delay its onset and prevent it from developing.

[1] https://isys6621.com/2013/11/20/can-social-media-cure-alzheimers/

Facebook Privacy Settings

Controlling Facebook Privacy

How to control privacy on Facebook

You have control over how much information you provide Facebook, and you have control over who does, and doesn’t see your Facebook posts.

In Facebook’s “Privacy Settings and Tools” you can determine who sees your posts—review content you’ve been tagged in. And, if you want, you can change the settings so only friends can see what you’ve posted in the past.

“Who can contact me” allows you to stop people you don’t know from contacting you.

“who can look me up” is another way of protecting your information. If you don’t want people to find you by your email, you can change it to so only friends of friends can find you this way. And the same goes too for your phone number: if you chose to provide it.

And if you don’t want search engines outside of Facebook linking to your profile you can turn that off too. This last one is definitely worthwhile if you’re worried about your information being stolen, or just don’t want your name showing up in a Google or Bing search.

Is Facebook worth it?

This question probably doesn’t get asked very often. Or, if it gets asked—there are very few solid answers. Facebook’s worth depends on each user. There are plenty of people between 18 and 28 who are not on Facebook—they just don’t care enough to be there. If their friends and family want to contact them they can either text, call or email. Which is fine.

For the younger demographics, they tend to gravitate to the newest fad social platform—something like Facebook is too established for them: also, their grandparents on Facebook.

Some people like this, after all it’s now really easy to stay in touch with family, share old photos and stories instead of waiting every 6 to 12 months for a family gathering. And others don’t want their grandparents to see the sort of thing they (and their friends) and sharing and saying.

 

The real worth of Facebook depends on you: if Facebook seems like something you’re interested in, then it is definitely worth it. There are, as we said in the benefits section, plenty of good reasons to jump onboard and start using Facebook.

Being able to share photos and videos and have conversations without worrying about the price of a phone call has really enabled people to better stay connected.

So yes: Facebook can be worth it—if what you’re looking for is an online tool to prevent social interaction. Not to mention the games like chess and scrabble you can play to stay active and entertained.

The best way to find out if Facebook is the right social media platform for you, is to try it out yourself.

Facebook for Seniors

Seniors and Facebook

Facebook is still the most popular social media site with 1.86 billion active users each month—a 17% increase year over year. Facebook is no fad, it’s been around commercially for over a decade, and it’s only getting stronger.

Did you know: 75% of over 55s who use the internet are active on Facebook, with that number being consistent since late 2010.  It’s mostly women who use the platform (83% of women use Facebook compared to 75% of men), sharing photos, jokes, interesting news articles and talking with friends and family no matter where they are in the world.

Benefits of using Facebook

Using Facebook has many benefits. From staying in touch with friends and family, to becoming reacquainted with lost friends and staying up-to-date with news and your favorite brands.

Using Facebook to stay connected

The biggest benefit Facebook has provided its users is the ability to stay in touch. When friends move interstate, or to another country, Facebook, and its messenger app, Facebook Messenger, allow you to keep in touch with friends.

The benefit of this is that you can send photos, make phone calls, video calls all within Facebook—and all it costs is a good wi-fi connection.

The Facebook Messenger, which on a mobile device is a separate app (we’ll cover this in the section on using Facebook on a mobile device), allows you to text, call or video call.  You can even video call people in other countries (who also have the app) for free.

Getting reacquainted with old friends

Okay. So, we fall out of touch with some people for a good reason. And we’re happy to stay out of touch with those people. But what about that friend you had at school or college, who you loved hanging out with but for all sorts of reasons lost track of?

Facebook is a surprisingly useful way of finding old friends and getting reacquainted.

And for those people who you’d like to stay out of touch with, well, you can also ignore their friend request (we’ll discuss friend requests soon).

News and your favorite brands

If your preferred news station has a Facebook presence you can follow them on Facebook to stay apprised of the news. You can receive content daily to read (or ignore) at your leisure.

You also have the option of following your favorite brands, celebrities, comedians and—sometimes—politicians. This can be a good idea if you want to stay informed about the latest gossip and news.

Why would I want to follow brands on Facebook?

This is a fair question, with a simple answer. Brands know their customers don’t have to follow them on Facebook, or any social media platform, so they often encourage people with competitions and specials that are exclusive to their Facebook page.

By following your favorite brands, you can also find out about in-store specials and other deals before they make it to newspapers, TV or radio.

Setting up a profile

Creating a Facebook account is fairly straightforward.

First, go to: www.facebook.com

On the right-hand side, there will be a form with the heading “Create an Account” and the subheading “It’s free and always will be.”

 

Each box has grey words telling you what you need to put there (e.g. write your first name where it says first name etc.).

Once you have filled in all the information, selected your date of birth and gender—you can click the green button that says “Create Account”.

If you have filled out all the boxes correctly, a new page will load. If you have not filled out all the boxes, a red line of text will appear under the box you need to fix.

Once you’ve done this, you’ll be taken to the next screen. Which will ask you to merge your email contacts. If you don’t want to do this, go to the right corner and click next.

Your profile

The next screen will say “Welcome to Facebook” with a four-step process. Above the title “Welcome” will be a colored banner (usually blue) that will ask you to go to your email and confirm that you are who you say you are.

All you need to do for this is click the “confirm now” link and follow the instructions. This isn’t time sensitive, so there’s no need to rush. If you are unsure it’s always good to read Facebook’s email in full.

Once you’ve confirmed your account you can add friends, discover just how safe Facebook can be, and upload a photo.

Adding Friends

Here you can add your email to see if any of your email contacts are on Facebook. It’s as simple as entering your details and clicking the blue button that says “Find Friends”.

If you don’t want to import your email contact list—or you don’t have an email contact list to import—you can skip this step. You don’t need to do anything, just move on to step two:

Privacy Settings

This is a great option for those who are worried about posting their private information on Facebook. Facebook takes the privacy of its users very seriously, because it knows that if a user has just one bad experience; they will leave. They will deactivate their account, completely remove the app from their phone and go use one of the dozen other social media platforms around.

Facebook wants you to use it. The more people on Facebook the more it can charge marketers and advertisers. Which is good. Because while advertisers and marketers are paying for Facebook—the general population doesn’t have to.

You will see, as we go through what you should and shouldn’t do, that Facebook does two things: tries to look out for its users and tries to keep them using Facebook or Facebook-affiliated apps as often as possible.

Take Facebook’s privacy tour

To take Facebook’s privacy tour, click the blue button “Take a Privacy Tour”. Now, depending on the speed of your internet connect, it might take a few seconds for a small window to pop up.

“Who sees what you share” is the first of four windows you can view. Each one provides you with snapshot of information on how you can keep what you post private. The difference between “Public” and “Friends” is:

If you pick friends, then only people who are friends with you on Facebook can see what you post. This improves your privacy by telling Facebook not to make it accessible to every Facebook user.

Which is what happens when you select public. If you post something and choose public, the post can find itself in Facebooks search results. However, this isn’t necessarily something to worry about if you’re sharing interesting recipes, YouTube videos or cat memes (more on these things in “How to get the most out of Facebook”).

You’ll notice that at the bottom of “Who sees what you share” there are buttons on the left and right sides. If you don’t want to view the next slide you can click the grey “Close” button, and then move on to step three (we recommend clicking through all four slides though).

If you want to see the next slide, click the blue button on the left that says “Next”.

Tagging is something to do when you post photos of family and friends—we’ll cover this in more detail in “How to share content”.

“Your Privacy Shortcuts” is the most important when it comes to: who can see your profile and what you post; who can contact you; and how to report abusive or unwanted behavior to Facebook.

Friends and family may invite you to play a game, in which case you will need to download that game and provide it with information before it downloads: we’ll cover this in more depth in “How to get the most out of Facebook”. For now, this screen shows you what to expect from a legitimate app asking for permission to your public information.

It’s also important to point out it says public information, not private information. This is just one of the reasons it’s so important to set your privacy settings on Facebook.

Once you have read this last screen you can either press the grey button “Close” on the left-hand side or the blue button “Finish” on the right-hand side. And you’re ready for the final two steps:

Upload a profile picture and find friends

Uploading a photo of yourself helps your friends find you on Facebook—after all, are you the only person with your name?

Click the green “Add Picture” button on the right next to the picture frame and choose a photo you’re happy to place on Facebook. It may take a minute or two for the photo to load: and when it does the photo will go from being on the left, to in the center, like this:

Once you’ve done this, you’re ready to find your friends and family on Facebook.

Underneath the text “Search by name or look for schoolmates and colleagues”, you’ll notice it says enter a name or email. You can now starting sending people you know friend requests to befriend you on Facebook.

This is a segment of our publication on seniors and social media.  To receive a copy of the entire book please contact us.

The best apps for seniors

The Best Apps For Seniors

From social media apps, to staying informed and games: we look at some of the best apps for seniors

The internet does not belong to the younger generations. Despite the many negative stereotypes around seniors and social media, the internet has been as great for seniors as it has for everyone else.

In a previous blog, Seniors and Social Media, we looked at 5 of the benefits of social media for seniors:

  1. Staying connected
  2. Staying informed
  3. Starting a new business
  4. Taking advantage of online sales
  5. Entertainment

What we didn’t address in that blog was how to do these things. And while the largest growing demographic on Facebook is over 55s (there was an 80% increase in America between and 2014), many other tools exist to help seniors communicate with friends and family across the globe.

Apps to stay connected

Staying connected is the primary reason seniors use the internet (75% of seniors in fact use it to not feel isolated), with email and Facebook being the standard options. Email has proved useful for seniors who no longer feel comfortable going down to the post office and mailing a letter—also, with email you don’t have to worry about the price of stamps: or whether the mailman will deliver the letter on time.

Apps to stay connected:

  1. Skype

Skype transformed the way the world used video conferencing. With a wide range of options, and an option to type, or talk without image—sometimes good for slow internet connections—Skype has helped people stay connected.

Seniors with a desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone can, after installing this app, talk with their children and grand-children wherever they are. Skype is usually a more cost-effective option than long-distancing calling.

  1. Facebook messenger

We’ve already mentioned Facebook, but one of Facebook’s apps Messenger provides more than just a text message service. In a similar—but more basic—way to Skype, you can do video and voice calling to anywhere in the world.

These are just two apps to stay connected. There are plenty of text-only and video calling apps available depending on whether you use an Android, Apple or Google phone. For example, Apple has FaceTime, which in an excellent service if you have an Apple device.

Apps for staying informed

Most news services have their own apps, however, many of these put their articles behind a paywall—often charging a few dollars per article or offering a monthly subscription fee. Often finding the best news app depends on which news channel you prefer to watch, or which newspaper you prefer. Here are two apps which aggregate news for you:

  1. American News

For Android users, there is the app American News. This provides you with easy access to read the latest news in America.

  1. News Addict

This is an app which provides access to 41of the best mobile news sites. Which also integrates with a full-screen browser for those whose eyes can’t read a phone screen.

Taking advantage of online sales

Everyone likes a sale. And now that most businesses offer to deliver to your door, staying informed about when your favorite store is having a sale is incredibly handy.

Apps like Flipp and Ibotta, while not as functional as Facebook, offer users a way to find coupons, save them and use them either straightway or later. These apps, both available for Apple and Android have their pros and cons.

The pros of these apps are their ability to collect coupons, and special offers in one convenient place. However, navigating these apps can be at times clunky. At the end of the day though, these apps, and similar apps can provide you with good shopping deals.

Apps for entertainment

This section is an extension of apps to stay connected. Game apps allow you to connect with friends wherever they are and play games like chess, scrabble, checkers and card games.

  1. Words with Friends

This has quickly become one of the most popular free word game apps. Similar in many ways to Scrabble, Words with Friends allows players to connect and play with friends or play solo.

You can improve—or refresh—your vocabulary; track your performance and improvement with in-game statistics; chat with friends in-game as well as access the game on your computer, laptop, tablet and phone.

  1. Chess.com

There are thousands of chess apps. Most are terrible, and clunky and detract from the experience of playing chess. Chess.com is simply to use, easy to read, easy to see, and best of all; it’s easy to navigate.

Benefits of entertainment apps

Entertainment apps keep the brain active, keep the user entertained and allow them to talk with friends. Entertainment apps are great for seniors who are looking for ways to keep their brains occupied, and with apps like Words with Friends and Chess.com, they provide the challenge and stimulation that is so beneficial.

Apps for reading

For the avid reader who doesn’t want to pick up a weighty book, but is fine with the modern, sleek e-reader: apps like Kindle and iBooks are a great way to store hundreds of books on an e-reader. A good e-reader will allow you to enlarge the text, highlight words (some have in-built dictionaries) and leave notes for later.

Health

  1. WebMD

WebMD is a good source of information, but it’s also a terrible place for those with a tendency to self-diagnose. With that said, WebMD is still one of the most trusted places for medical information online.

  1. Medisafe

Forgetting to take medication is not just something seniors do, but there is app to help seniors keep track of their medication—and when to take it—as well as help them to comply with a treatment plan. With this app, you can set reminders and create status reports to help track their treatment plans and provide accurate reporting for their doctors.

The best apps for seniors

The best apps for seniors are the ones that help them with their day-to-day activities as well as the ones that help them stay connected and active. Our list is the tip of the iceberg for effect apps to help seniors in their day-to-day living.

Thank you for reading.

combating Alzheimers with video games

How Videos Games are Helping to Fight Alzheimer’s Disease

Research is emerging which hypothesizes video games may help seniors retain cognitive function

Alzheimer’s is a horribly debilitating disease with no known cure. However, scientists are working on a video game would could delay the symptoms of, or prevent, Alzheimer’s.

Research data shown at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in the middle of 2016 suggested a certain type of video game could decrease the risk of dementia symptoms by half.

The role video games could play in fighting Alzheimer’s disease

A quick disclaimer: playing Call of Duty or Halo is not likely to help decrease the symptoms of dementia—these games are good for those trigger-happy gamers who like mindless violence as a way to switch off and ignore the world for a while.

The type of video game being discussed here is called speed-of-processing task: a cognitive training program that 2,800 people took as part of a study. The average age of the participants was 74, and the scientists tracked them for 10 years. The ten-year study’s objective was to hopefully find out how the cognitive training could impact the functioning of older healthy patients.

Discovering a video game that could prevent the development of Alzheimer’s

The ten-year study had four groups, one was a control group that did nothing. Another group played the speed-of-processing task and the final two groups took a memory or reasoning class.

A paper from the test was published in 2014 showed cognitive training could help with certain tasks like driving or balancing a checkbook.

In July of 2016, findings showed that of the group who played the game 10-14 hours of the game over ten years were 48% less likely to have developed Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia; this was compared those who didn’t have any brain training.

The harsh reality of Alzheimer’s research

The results sound promising. 48% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s from playing a video game for 14 hours over ten years! What’s not to get excited about? Well, the nature of Alzheimer’s is that no one wants to get their hopes up—especially the people responsible for treating and hopefully one day curing it.

At the moment, the news that computerized training could one day have significant preventive effects on Alzheimer’s is exciting enough. It’s given scientists a launching pad for further research and study.

Even researchers who were closely involved in the ten-year study have said, yes, these findings are good because we now know training and exercising cognitive function can mitigate the possibility of Alzheimer’s.

What researchers also know is they are a long way off from claiming they have found a cure to one of the most devastating, destructive diseases known to man.

Video games and the future of Alzheimer’s treatment

The possibility of apps and online games to improve cognitive ability and so lessen the chances of Alzheimer’s is now very real, and could soon—hopefully—be an answer to a devastating problem.

[1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/07/27/could-this-computer-game-delay-alzheimers-symptoms-new-study-suggests-it-could/?utm_term=.c4a9a86c939f

 

Seniors and Social Media

Seniors and Social Media

Why older Americans should be using social media

The idea that people over 50 don’t use social media is archaic. Especially since, over 50s are one of the fastest growing demographics on Facebook.

For those who are familiar with Facebook, this should come as no surprise. More than any other platform, Facebook makes it easier to connect with friends and family as well as learn more about brands and charities you want to keep up with.

Benefits of social media for people over 50

Here are some benefits of social media:

Staying connected

Social media has allowed grandparents to connect with their grandparents, their great grandparents and even old college roommates, school friends and old neighbourhood friends.

Social networks like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Pinterest allow us to view videos, read blogs, share photos and talk with people.

Staying informed

Social media allows you to research about topics that interest you. And with more intuitive search functionality, social media excels at putting the most relevant information in front of you.

The internet has allowed over 50s to learn more about new products as well as do things like study genealogy and learn new skills.

Start a new business

The internet is credited with revolutionising a lot of things. Most of it’s just hype…or advertising. One thing the internet has made easier than ever is starting a new business.

Whether you are looking to sell crafts, offer coaching advice, start freelance writing or consulting, the internet is providing over 50s with the resources to start a new business.

For over 50s who are struggling to find work, for reasons such as age or health, social media and online networking and productivity tools can help them earn money and work from home.

Take advantage of online sales

Social media allows everyone to follow their favorite brands and businesses. By following their favorite brands online, over 50s can take advantage of promotional opportunities and online sales.

Quite often brands and businesses will provide freebies and discounts only available via Facebook or Twitter.

Entertainment

This has to be the biggest reason after staying in touch that anyone, irrespective of their age, uses social media. You can watch old black and white videos, read ebooks, articles, find song lyrics and follow what your favorite performers are up to.

Seniors and social media

Being on social media has a great many benefits for seniors; from staying connected with friends and family, to starting a business, grabbing a great deal and learning a new skill.

As social media becomes more and more a part of everyday life, over 50s are increasingly adopting social media platforms. Platforms like Twitter make talking with brand representatives easier than ever before, and YouTube lets you find old videos to enjoy.

The internet, and by extension social media, has been a fantastic way to connect as well as reconnect, and help over 50s stay active, stay aware and keep making money even if conventional businesses won’t have them.

Seniors and Blogging

Making Money Blogging: A Great Hobby For Seniors

Let me start out this post by saying that making money blogging is not an easy venture, but it can be accomplished by putting in a significant amount of time, effort, and in some cases money.  The good news is that anyone with access to a computer, and basic writing skills can create a blog, and develop a following.  The best approach to making money blogging is to first figure out what you are passionate about, and what you could easily talk about with the world.  If you eventually want to make money blogging it is always best to focus around a specific niche, and overtime become the go to place for subject matter in your chosen area.  Before I go into detail as to why blogging is a good option for seniors I also want to mention that making money blogging does not happen overnight.  You will need to dedicate time and energy developing topics around your niche that people will want to engage with, share, and hopefully contribute to.  I also feel the need to mention that I am in no way a professional blogger.  I blog because I enjoy sharing my experience, knowledge, and insights.

Why Seniors Should Consider Blogging

There are many reasons as to why blogging would make a great hobby for seniors.  One of the most mentionable reasons is that it allows them to keep up to date with technology, and learn more about digital communications.  There is no better way to learn technology then to get online, and teach yourself new skills.  There are plenty of how to videos, and other resources online to teach people how to set up a blog, contribute to it, and analyze its success.  Blogging also gives seniors a chance to learn, and enhance their social media skills.  Making money blogging involves both writing content, and figuring out ways to share it….hence the new social media knowledge.

Another key reason why seniors would make great bloggers is they have had life experiences that many of us younger generation have not had.  Why is this important? Well for one it gives seniors access to a wealth of subject matter to transform into consumable content that engages an audience.  People are looking to engage with blogs that deliver quality, and unique perspectives.  There is also an untapped opportunity in blogging for seniors because there aren’t that many seniors doing it.  Blogging is often looked at as a young a hip practice, but the times are changing, and all generations are beginning to see the value of contributing to online conversations.  Are you going to be the next senior blogger success? You can be!

Besides being an outlet to share experiences with the world blogging is also a great way that seniors can combat loneliness, and enrich their lives in a new way.  I find in my own life that blogging gives me another purpose, and a part of my day that I look forward to.  Blogging creates an avenue to build a network, and have conversations with people from all over the world.  The moral of the story is that blogging is an awesome way for seniors and other adults to connect and build meaningful relationships.

How Should Senior Get Started

There are tons of blogging platforms out there that are easy to set up, and easy to manage.  It really depends what your blogging goals are.  If you are looking to jump right into blogging today I would suggest looking at blogging platforms like Blogger, or Tumblr.  Both options are very easy to set up, and contribute quickly.  If you want a platform that has more customization capabilities, and SEO features then I would suggest looking into wordpress.org.  At the end of the day this is going to be your blog, and place you build your network so it’s best to weigh the pros, and cons of all of the blogging sites you are considering.  Don’t forget, there are a ton of bloggers out their talking about the best practices of blogging.  May be worth a quick Google search do assist in your research.

Final Thoughts About Making Money Blogging

Some bloggers are very fortunate to be able to make a career out of their blogs.  For others, they have yet to make a penny off of their effort.  If you enjoy writing, and are up for a challenge then blogging may be for you.  Just remember that the most successful blogs are the ones that deliver unique messages that people actually want to read, and engage with.  Writing content that is consumable and shareable involves passion outside of the idea of gaining financial success.  If you have an idea for a blog that would add value to the lives of others, and the time to dedicate then what is stopping you? Age should not stand in your way.

Interested in learning more about seniors and technology?

in-home care franchise marketing

Marketing a In-Home Care Franchise – Part 2

In this blog post we cover several additional ways that an in-home care franchise can market their services to the community.  If you did not read part 1 in my series covering social media marketing and SEO.  In today’s post I want to talk about several additional tactics that can help elevate the reach of your in-home care business.  These tactics include both email marketing, and direct mail campaigns.  Both forms of marketing can be incredibly effective for in-home care providers if done right.  It is important to note that there is no magic form of marketing for in-home care franchise or any small business.  Effective marketing tacks a lot of time, analysis, and adjustments to yield optimal results.

Email Marketing for In-Home Care Franchise

Email marketing has become a very popular form of outbound marketing over the course of the last few years.  The goal of email marketing is to develop content that potential leads want to read that moves them through the sales funnel.  Email marketing involves building a list of contacts that are interested in receiving your business correspondence.  Remember that sending cold emails or emails to people who do not want to receive your emails is bad business and can get you into trouble.  The email contacts that have the highest conversion rates are the ones who opt into receiving emails from your business.

How to Build an Email List for Your In-Home Care Franchise

Building a quality list of contacts for your in-home care franchise can take a lot of time and effort but it is worth it.  The best way I have found to build email lists is to promote some gated content on your website.  In order to do so you need to have a piece of collateral that your target market would deem as valuable enough to provide their information.  Think about the information that you want in exchange for the collateral that you are providing.  In my professional opinion the less info that you ask for the more return you are going to get for your time and investment.

Another method of building a list is advertising a monthly newsletter on your website.  Some of your website traffic may be interested in continually learning information about your business.  Remember you need to have a strategy behind all of the content on your newsletter, and gated content.  What stage of the buyer’s journey are you trying to appeal to? Addressing this question can help you figure out what kind of assets you need to promote.  Do yourself a big favor and actively promote content for all stages in the buyer’s journey.  If you are not sure what kind of content to promote for each stage here is a great article by Hubspot the covers that topic.

Direct Mail Campaigns for In-Home Care Franchise

Direct mail does not work effectively in all industries but in-home care franchise marketing is an exception.  Your in-home care business has a target geographic market.  Often times franchise owners own a set of zip codes that they are able to serve.  This is an advantage for direct mail campaigns.  There are many local services including Fedex that can help you set up a target list based on your demographic and send your content.

The key to success with direct mail is how well you target and what kind of value you provide the recipients of your content.  Take the time to really think about who in your community would receive the most value from your services.  Finally, it is key that your messaging gives your target market a reason to contact you.  Some suggestions are to provide them with a discount for becoming a new client, or invite them to an event to learn more about in-home care franchise services and how these services can help them or their loved ones.

Do you have experience with in-home care marketing? What strategies have worked for you?