“Technology is anything that wasn’t around when you were born” – Alan Kay

Did you Know?

  • French walking stick makers Fayet, have manufactured a walking stick that monitors its users as they move and alerts caretakers if they have a fall. It is fitted with software that over time learns the way the person using it walks. If there are any major changes in the way the user walks the stick can send messages to relatives or healthcare professionals. The cane, which is currently a prototype, is due to launch in the next six months at an annual technology show in America.
  • There is also a robot offering companionship for elderly citizens and an under-the-mattress sensor that can monitor breathing, heart rate, sleep patterns and stress.

Whilst technology is moving forward at an increasingly fast pace can the older generation keep up?

Knowledge is key in moving forward in this fast moving society

There are numerous gadgets on the market which can assist with day to day tasks such as online shopping. This is ideal if you are unable to get out of the house or carry heavy bags. However, not all of the older generation have the knowhow let alone anyone to guide them on these processes. When it comes to an application for a Blue Badge this now needs to be completed on line, together with email and scanning documentation required. Very daunting if you don’t know how or have the equipment at home. Yes, there are many seniors who embrace the latest gadgets and are quite savvy in the use of smart phones, email and tablets etc. However, my experience with my older family members is quite different. I have tried to encourage my relatives to buy and use technical gadgets but it appears to cause stress and fear as opposed to assisting and becoming part of everyday life. I have purchased mobile phones with larger key pads to help them with dialling etc. and more so, to use in an emergency situation. But, more often than not they never charge them up let alone turn them on. Some of the problems I have encountered with my older relatives are:

  • Afraid of fraudulent activity on their accounts when online shopping
  • Unsure as to logging on and providing passwords
  • Don’t like to keep asking how to use online facilities when they have forgotten how to after being shown once or twice

As with most activity the more you use it the better you become. When things become familiar you are less nervous and gain confidence. But do the elderly really want any of this when many have not got to grips with the more basic technology most of the younger generation take for granted?

Moving forwards

There are many avenues offering courses on basic computer use such as:

  • Age UK offer courses which explain things clearly in plain English to help you gain cccconfidence and et more confident online. These courses offer easy-to-follow confidence and knowledge with the aim that technology will become useful as well as enjoyable. Age UK’s Freephone number 0800 678 1174 or for your nearest Age UK and ask about local training opportunities.
  • Your local library may also offer computer training courses.
  • In addition there are now more than 12,000 Barclays Digital Eagles, who are empowered to introduce customers, particularly those over 65, to the benefits the internet can bring. As part of that objective, they have introduced Tea and Teach workshops that are open to people wanting to learn how to use their smart devices. Each session will give you practical and helpful advice on all your online issues. They’re held across the UK – within branches, libraries or local community centres.