In many ways, technology has got a very ‘youthful' reputation. The assumption is that the latest smartphones, tablets and computers will probably be enjoyed by those in their 20s-30s and that the older generations will most likely stick to their books and… fishing. Part of this belief is due to the fact that the current generation of 20-30-year-olds was raised during the dawn of commercial computing. If you are in your 20s or 30s right now, then in all likelihood you will have grown up with a ZX Spectrum in your living room, or an Apple 2 computer, or an Amstrad. Either way, you were around during the genesis of the computer (and also… during the Genesis) so you grew with it and gained a natural insight that other generations weren't giving the opportunity for.
Meanwhile, the elderly will have been introduced to these machines when really, they had little use for them and often with little interest. By the time they became a big part of everyday life, that older generation may well have gotten too far behind to catch up. And thus the currently held misconception: computers are for young people.
Turning the Concept on Its Head
Of course, though this idea is not all that true – and it is becoming more and more apparent that there are many ways the elderly can benefit from this kind of technology, as long as they have the right gadgets.
To demonstrate just how useful technology is for those in their advanced years, let's take a look at some of the best devices out there for older generations. These devices aren't only more accessible for someone who wasn't brought up on computers, but they also provide a range of useful benefits that anyone can benefit from. Read on for the top devices that fit these criteria.
Perhaps the best example of some universally friendly technology is the Kindle. This is a device that fulfils a simple need, and that does so in a way that makes it intuitive to grasp and powerfully effective.
We all know the concept behind the Kindle by now: it's an eReader that allows the user to take their entire collection of books (and more) wherever they go. Unlike previous devices though, it also uses an e-ink display making it much easier to read in normal conditions and avoiding the problem of eye-strain.
Thus, this device appeals to people of any generation, while the fact that it feels so much like a book means that it won't put those off who consider themselves ‘technophobes'. Best of all, the device can actually make reading that much easier for those who are perhaps struggling with their sight or who want to read in more difficult conditions – because the text can be enlarged, unlike a real book.
Likewise, the iPad did a lot of things right when it was first introduced, but one of the most important things was to open up technology to a much wider audience. How did it accomplish this? By making interaction so highly intuitive that anyone could grasp it. The icons you use to interact with it are large and respond to touches and gestures, while the design relies on skeuomorphism to indicate precisely what everything does. This is a device you can give to someone with no experience in technology and they will instantly be able to get something out of.
Better still, the iPad provides a light and practical alternative to a computer that's easy to use in terms of logistics, and that gives you access to an incredible wealth of media and useful apps.
Of course, not everyone over 60 is going to be a complete technophobe! But for those that are feeling a little left behind, devices like these show that it’s never too late to learn.
Health and Safety
Unfortunately, as we age there is an increasing likelihood that we will develop a range of health issues. The key is to be proactive about these and not let pride get in the way. Something like a medical alert system can be life-changing not only for you but for the family that cares for you. Even if you’re fine now, the sooner you get one of these, the better. Read about it here and be prepared.