Several experiments assess the introduction of new information technology in seniors’ daily life. As the Austrian project “MyTablet” or the Georgian service of the Blue Hair Technology Group, CareNET decided to experiment tablets offering a training support as prerequisite to develop its numerous uses.
These projects identify tablet as the appropriate device to introduce new technology to seniors. The easy use of tablets is the first argument for this choice. The touch screens are considered as an intuitive interface that people at every age can handle, especially older people who may live with challenges. The tablet is adapted to frail people as an easy tool to use. These also have wireless access to the Internet everywhere, with broadband support. A third quality is the visual appearance of tablets that distinguishes them from computers.
While he device appears elderly-friendly, it requires a support when introduced in older people’s life. Older people may first be frightened by this technology. The existence of experiments refers indeed to seniors’ needs of tutoring and learning to use tablets. To teach older people the Blue Hair Technology Group offers classes lasting an hour and half and online training videos like “Check out the weather on your Kindle Fire“. The MyTablet project proposes a lesson of two hours on the use of the tablet and a contact person for their questions and needs during the project’s lifetime.
Thanks to this support, seniors are empowered to incorporate technology to their daily life. Tablets mainly allow them to have a mobile connection to the Internet. They can contact their families and friends online through several applications like FaceTime, Skype and e-mail accounts. They may also change habits in their hobbies online like reading books thanks to adjustable font size. The CareNET Map of competences identifies some other benefits of tablets like self-expression, online transactions or well-being.
To support your relatives on how to use a tablet, read the UK Older People’s Day instructions: Get older people using iPads & Apps!
Studies show that the online activities of the elderly suggest that they do more or less the same online as most other age groups – that is, communication and searching for information as well as using online services. E-mailing and keeping in touch with their children are the main reasons why many seniors started to learn using computers.
However, these studies also show, that many elderly people resist technology through the lack of security associated with the web, and they are very concerned about unpleasant experiences. Another very common fear is that a computer and the internet is just “too difficult”.
Finerday is a solution developed as a free, safe, easy to use, online communication web service for families to keep in touch with each other. It has been designed to look as cool to a ten-year-old as it is easy and intuitive to use for a ninety-five-year old. At the same time Finerday.com can be an inspiration of nurses and care workers who wanted the recipients to be more connected to their families, especially the grandchildren.
This social network allows you to share photos, send and receive messages, see special dates for birthdays and anniversaries, write and share memories and even use simple links to useful websites, at the touch of a button. The first steps are supported by several instructional videos, and all the buttons and texts are presented in large and contrasted make them easy to use for old people as well.
This secure platform has been successfully piloted in care homes and is being used by several leading digital inclusion organisation in the UK and Australia.
Author: Barbara Lázár