Have you ever sat in the cockpit of a plane? Or perhaps you can picture a movie scene of a pilot sitting in the chair, flicking on switches, turning knobs, preparing for take-off.
As an outsider, someone who isn’t a pilot, your reaction to looking at the dashboard of a plane is probably something of overwhelm. What do all those buttons, knobs, lights, and screens even mean? How can anyone make sense of this?!
If you ever were sat down in front of this dashboard and told to operate it, you probably wouldn’t even know where to begin.
Well, for many seniors, this is the experience of using a computer or tablet or smartphone.
Technology is a wonderful tool. This year has shown us the amazing ways that the internet and all these gadgets can not only keep us connected but also keep us working and learning.
However, many seniors haven’t taken advantage of these benefits of technology because the learning curve is so steep. What is disheartening about this is that right now seniors are the population most in need of new ways to stay in touch with friends and family.
The outlook doesn’t have to be so bleak, however, because it is possible for seniors to learn how to use technology and thus stay in touch with the people who love them.
If you have a senior in your life who lives alone or lives further away or who simply doesn’t want to go out or have visitors right now, here are tips for teaching them how to use technology.
Keep it simple.
While you may enjoy replying to emails, setting your fantasy lineup for the week, checking the weather, and crushing candy to pass time all on your phone, your senior loved one probably doesn’t need to do all those things.
When you are selecting a device for them, keep it simple. It’s better to go with a device that does a core set of functionality well and is reliable over one that can do everything but is more complicated. The main things that a senior might want to do with a device are make video calls, receive pictures, listen to music, and play basic games. Making and receiving video calls is probably the most important, so focus on that and find a device that can use a software that is very straightforward.
Don’t assume anything.
The number one mistake people make when teaching a senior to use technology is that they assume a base level of technical knowledge. For people who have used computers for years, or even their whole life, they forget that it’s not just “second nature”, it’s something they learned.
Even something as “basic” as how to use a mouse might need to be explained. Some other commonly mistaken “second nature” understandings about devices are:
Overlapping windows. When a new screen appears, it’s not always understood that other screens are below it.
Nested menus. The fact that there are more options listed under the word “File” might have to be explained.
Power off versus sleep mode. This is important if you want your senior to be able to receive calls, which means the device has to be on. Many seniors will assume they need to turn it all the way off to preserve battery life.
Storage. Be sure to explain how they can access and use different things on the device, such as pictures or word documents.
The key is to ask if they are understanding and to keep things in everyday terms. Analogies will be very helpful in explaining these new concepts.
Be mindful of physical differences.
The thing about aging is that it affects both the mind and body. Many seniors struggle with using their fingers due to arthritis or other diseases. A touchscreen device may not be best because maybe their hand shakes or they don’t have enough strength to hold up their arm. A more traditional computer with a mouse might be better.
Hearing is another area to consider. If they use hearing aids, be mindful of the levels and frequencies of sound coming from the device. Ask the senior if it sounds okay for them.
Above all, it’s important to have patience. It might be frustrating to have to explain something multiple times and on multiple occasions. If you feel yourself getting agitated, just remember the plane’s dashboard and consider how long it would take you to understand that.
You are probably busy and have errands to run or work to do, but just remember the benefits of what you’re enabling them to do. You’re giving them access to a whole new world. Loneliness is not just an emotional concern, but it can also lead to other significant health issues in seniors. By empowering them to use technology, you are enriching their life and increasing their overall well-being.
If you have a senior living alone or far away, it’s likely that you feel concerned about their safety. To help reduce risks and increase safety in their living space, you can also use our Senior At-Home Safety Checklist. Our free comprehensive home safety checklist will help you systematically go through each area of the home to check for common hazards and make sure the proper safety measures are in place.
Download this checklist once and use it over again periodically to make sure your loved one’s home stays as safe as possible.
Elder abuse and neglect is very common in our society and around us, unfortunately due to the fact that little or no awareness is made about it to the public and our society in general, it makes it tough for us to see even when it’s happening close to home and around us. It shouldn’t be a surprise to us that most of this abuse and neglect occur within the family on a larger scale.
An abuse is the intentional cause of any physical injury inflicted on the consumer. Also, it is the unnecessary isolation or confinement of anyone as a punishment. Abuse can also be in the form of intimidation and also neglect.
Neglect is the failure to provide individuals with the most basic needs such as : Food , Water and Cleanliness. Neglect can also be when a caregiver fails to provide care and also to keep the consumer from physical and emotional harm.
Financial Abuse is another form of abuse that occurs with our seniors and this happens with the misappropriation of their properties, stealing their saved up money or cajoling them to sign documents and papers to favor them. Other kinds of abuse perpetrated to Seniors include: Verbal Abuse, Emotional Abuse and sexual abuse.
If you happen to live close by any senior, be on the alert to see if you suspect that there’s any form of abuse, depression or fear.You can also report any suspicious incident to the nearest county’s Aging and Adult services representative.
❄️ Colder temperatures can be dangerous for seniors. Always keep indoor temperatures warm and if going outside, dress in layers and cover all exposed skin in very cold temperatures.
When venturing outside make sure you are outfitted with warm socks, gloves, a heavy coat, a hat and a scary. 🧣 A scarf does double duty–it will keep you warm but can also be used to cover your mouth and protect your lungs.
Starting a conversation with an aging parent around long term care can be difficult. If you find yourself not knowing how to broach the subject with your parent, check out these tips to learn how to discuss things in a way that is sensitive and effective – at any time of the year.
A visit home for the holidays is an ideal time to connect with parents and family members you don’t see every day. It’s a time-honored opportunity to catch up, share old memories and create new ones. But sometimes these holiday gatherings can also be a time when you notice an elderly loved one is struggling.
Dad and Mom may be moving slower, forgetting things or showing signs they can’t take care of their home. Sometimes the signs of a struggling elderly person are more subtle. For instance, you may notice an overgrown lawn, a messy kitchen or a disheveled appearance. Adult children are sometimes afraid to confront these changes. Will Mom or Dad be insulted that you think they can’t take care of themselves? Will “the talk” become an argument that ruins the holidays? These fears can make it easier to just avoid the topic altogether. But failing to discuss and plan for things like cognitive decline, physical ailments and other realities of aging can lengthen the time your parent suffers.
Fortunately, you don’t have to approach the tough conversations about aging with fear. In fact, you may find that it is easier than expected. But you can’t find out until you get started. Keep reading for tips to help adult children discuss things in a way that is sensitive and effective. We cover topics from retirement finances to end-of-life wishes.
As family members get older, it may become difficult for them to continue living entirely on their own. Health concerns, diminished mobility, and cognitive decline are all factors to consider when deciding when older family members need living assistance. Contrary to popular belief, there are options other than traditional nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Depending on the level of care required, some seniors can remain at home with the help of home care services. River Oaks Home Care is dedicated to helping Seniors continue to experience the richness of life in the comfort of their own home.
Allowing seniors to remain in their homes can produce better outcomes than moving them into a nursing home or assisted living facility. Home health care for seniors used to be the kind of thing that only the wealthy could afford. However, an increase in the number of trained home health professionals has led to more affordable prices. River Oaks Home Care provides high-quality home services for seniors that are effective and less expensive than other forms of managed care.
River Oaks Home Care has home health aides who improve the quality of life for seniors through professional, hands-on care and compassionate kindness. Often, our clients consider their home health aide or caregiver to be a trusted friend. We have a diverse pool of associates, so we always have someone with the skill set you need. Depending on the training, home health aides can administer a client’s medication or check vital signs, change bandages or dressings, and or provide skilled health care as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) or Patient Care Assistant (PCA).
Home health aides can also help around the house in a variety of ways. They can assist with tasks such as bathing, dressing, meal preparation, grocery shopping, and light housekeeping. Our home health aides can stop by for companionship visits, give the client a ride to appointments, and more. River Oaks Home Care does everything possible to help improve the health and quality of life of seniors.
River Oaks Home Care can also provide care for seniors who are experiencing the effects of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Our attendants provide specialized, non-medical Alzheimer’s care that can allow seniors in the early and middle stages of the disease to remain at home. More than half of all diagnosed Alzheimer’s patients continue to live in home settings. River Oaks Home Care staff can help with responsibilities (e.g., daily orientation to time, place, and person) that can overwhelm family and friends who are assisting the senior.
Our specialty Alzheimer’s care services utilize a customized care regimen that will take into account the environment and unique needs of seniors, which makes their lives less difficult and stressful compared to moving them into a nursing home or assisted living facility. Other advantages include staying in the home that provides a familiar frame of reference, the freedom to move about in a more casual and unrestricted space, reduced stress which aggravates dementia symptoms, and continuity of daily routines and schedules.