Amidst social distancing as a result of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, there is an increased reliance on digital devices for individuals to stay connected to work, friends and family members. Many adults over 65 are not comfortable with technology, yet they are also particularly at risk for becoming isolated and lonely during this unprecedented period. In order to stay safe and connected, now is the time for all older Americans to become more computer or smartphone literate.
As COVID-19 takes its toll in the United States, most Americans have endured stay-at-home orders, which means they’re only leaving home for essential activities. Adults over 60 are particularly vulnerable to this virus, and they’ll likely need to practice social distancing for an even longer period of time than others in their community.
While friends and family cannot visit one another, it’s nevertheless important to find ways to connect with others. This connection is always important, but it’s especially important for maintaining mental and physical health in these uncertain and stressful times.
During this period, connecting with others, conducting business or visiting family is dependent on technology. While talking on a phone can help, utilizing computers or smartphones gives additional opportunities for connection that can help to make this period of isolation not feel so lonely or difficult.
In this unique context, resistance to technology will no longer serve you well. Whatever your technological knowledge or confidence, now is the time to expand your skills, face your tech fears and increase your computer and smartphone literacy.
The good news about this time of isolation is that there are lots of innovative ways to stay connected, get things done and meet all needs while still staying at home. A few common ways to use technology to improve your quality of life while staying home include:
In addition to some of these basic services, there are some more specific services that could be beneficial. For example, for seniors with underlying health issues, there are smartwatch devices that monitor vital signs and have a button for instant contact. For people missing classes or social outings, an online class might be a good way to feel more stimulated and connected during this time. Smart home devices like Google Home or Amazon Echo can give you access to information and news without having to use a screen or keys.
For individuals who are not comfortable with technology, utilizing some of these services can feel overwhelming. The good news, however, is that it doesn’t have to be. There are many things that are very user-friendly and not hard to start using.
The first step is to learn to use some of the basic technology. Consider starting with FaceTime and Zoom. FaceTime can be accessed on Apple devices, and Zoom can be used on a computer or a smartphone. Don’t be afraid to ask a family member to talk you through the basics of these. Also, you can watch tutorials to help get you started. Here are some tutorials that offer a good first step.
While everyone does have to stay home right now, that doesn’t mean that you can’t connect. In fact, it’s important that you do find ways to connect with others to ensure that you stay healthy and get all of the essential items and services that you need.
The bottom line is that technology can make this time easier and more enjoyable. Even if you’ve been resistant to technology in the past, now is the time to face your fears, ask for help and learn some new skills. Hopefully the above resources will help. And, if you need additional support, don’t be afraid to call a friend or neighbor for help. It will be worth it to help make sure that you’re healthy, connected and cared for during this unprecedented time.
An Alliance America financial advisor can assist you in maximizing your retirement resources and help achieve your retirement goals. Alliance America’s planning process is focused on personalized retirement income planning. As fiduciaries, our advisors are required to act in your best interest, and we are dedicated to helping you achieve the retirement lifestyle you seek. You can request a no-obligation consultation by calling 888-864-2542 today.