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Things to consider when buying technology for the senior loved ones:
WiFi, home internet, or data. In 2019, only 7% of adults over the age of 65 had access to the internet, while access to WiFi connectivity varies greatly among residents in nursing homes and assisted living. Look for devices, like GrandPad, that come with built-in cellular connectivity and free data service.
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Vision loss. The average adult begins to naturally experience vision loss between the ages of 41 and 60. Meanwhile, 23% of adults experience vision loss due to a pre-existing health condition. Look for devices that have larger screens, high-contrast buttons and text, and large, easy-to-read icons and navigation.
Hearing loss. Approximately one-in-three adults between the ages of 65 to 74 experience age-related hearing loss or presbycusis. Standard technology that has a single speaker at the bottom or top of the device will likely not be loud or crisp enough for someone with hearing loss.
Dexterity challenges. Arthritis makes it difficult for many people to use mobile devices that come with small plugs or connectors and small buttons. In addition, as adults age, their skin can become dry and papery, making it difficult to use touchscreen technology (screens respond to the moisture on the figure tip when you tap it). Look for devices with hands-free, wireless charging, a no-slip protective case, few if any small parts or connectors, and that are light weight.
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Cognitive impairment. Changes in cognition can influence how an individual interacts with technology; but does not mean they cannot use technology. In fact, some studies show that regular use of technology can improve test results related to short-term memory, processing speed, and other functions. Look for a device that offers games and activities that can improve memory, that elicit joy and nostalgia (such as music), and that can help reduce anxiety.
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