The healthcare industry is quick to encourage adaptive technologies and assistive devices to help seniors live safely and more independently. With some of these tools and services, it’s amazing to see how a single technology can help empower seniors aging in place. For example, a loved one may have trouble remembering what pills to take each day, so you get them an electronic medication reminder. Or, you might worry about them falling, so you have home monitoring devices installed. Whether a senior has mobility challenges, difficulty communicating, symptoms of dementia, or they simply need a watchful eye, there is likely a technology or device to fit their needs. However, for a person of any age, learning and accepting something new can elicit mixed emotions. Anxiety, resistance, anticipation, confusion, stress and uncertainty are common feelings when trying to overcome a learning gap. Expecting some baby boomers and especially those from the silent generation to adopt new technologies and devices isn’t always an easy feat. These age groups aren’t as familiar with technology and electronics as younger generations. They tend to stick with what they know and may appear stubborn in their acceptance of new people, places or things. So what happens when you show a loved one a helpful, new device or technology and you are met with resistance and frustration? Here are some tips to minimize the distress of introducing a new technology to your loved one…
- First and foremost, keep things simple. Stick to the motto of minimal technology for maximum quality of life. Once a senior feels overwhelmed with information the less accepting they’ll be as you explain how it works. Think carefully about how you first broach the subject. Once you do always lead with options and choices to give them control.
- Next, explain how the technologies or devices you’re proposing work. Keep it basic, but emphasize how these tools will help them stay not only safe, but connected and independent. It’s critical to make sure they know why they’re being asked to give something new a try.
- Understand their hesitancies, concerns and try to compromise. For example, a senior may be hesitant to allow cameras in their home for monitoring purposes because it seems invasive. Suggest video chatting as an alternative to check in and stay connected.
- If one thing is for sure, younger kids love technology and gadgets. Whether it’s a blood pressure monitor, electronic reminder device or a smartphone app, give the grandkids a shot at explaining it. Seniors love spending time with their grandchildren and this could be the best route to introduce a new technology.