The rapid advances in technology are not necessarily tailored for seniors and their different needs. Touch screens can be hard to use, passwords and user names can be hard to remember and confusing, and menus and user interfaces can be overwhelming.
In order for seniors to stay connected and avoid painful isolation, MOWSF’s Social Work team works in a variety of ways to help many tech-impaired seniors. For instance, our social workers provide them with referrals for training classes specifically designed for older audiences. They also research tech products that are geared toward seniors and they listen to, and where possible, respond to the frustrations many seniors have as they struggle to keep up or communicate through ever-changing advancements in technology.
Some of the referrals include a great program for seniors that is based right here in our backyard. Community Tech Network (or CTN) provides training and a lifeline to many older folks (and some younger people too) who may find tech a challenge.
Many studies have been conducted on seniors and why some struggle with learning technology. The National Library of Medicine found that there are a variety of barriers to learning technology for older people. Some challenges range from lack of support and training to the natural aging process, as human brains shrink with age and the capacity to learn new things can diminish over time. However, many seniors are very eager to learn and adopt new technologies via tablets.
One of the key factors that MOWSF focuses on is healthy, engaged independent living for all seniors. Through outreach, targeted training, and patience many seniors would benefit from the connection that technology can provide in decreasing loneliness and isolation.