For Baby Boomers who are thrust into a highly technological world, where everything is instant and everyone is glued to their gadgets, it’s not an easy adjustment. It’s lucky for those who naturally love technology or who find no problem adjusting to change. However, for some seniors, introducing themselves to using technology – such as seniors phone devices – can be overwhelming.
Tips to Making Seniors Phone Use Easier
To help seniors better navigate the world of mobile phones, here are 4 ways you can try to facilitate the process.
- Start with the basics
The reason why most seniors are not as intimidated with telephones, in contrast to mobile ones, is because it serves one function. That means they only have to master that and they’re good. A mobile phone is multipurpose. There are so many things you can do it, and most people make full use of that. However, with seniors, it’s best to start with the most basic functions of a cellphone – which are calling and texting.
Start with the feature they’re most familiar with first – calling – because that’s easier to grasp. Teach them how to make a call and how to answer it. After that, you can introduce them to texting – like how to read messages, how to respond – and other basic phone functions – like adding a passcode or installing Seniors Apps.
To make sure that they only have to worry about the basics, you can switch the usual home screen with the “Easy Mode” version. Some phones have this built it, but you can also download apps that would declutter the home screen and make them more approachable for seniors. You can try Wiser or Necta which both streamlines Android and iPhones, so all you can see on the home screen are the fundamental necessities. Should you want to eventually customize the home screen to add apps that fit a senior’s needs, you’re also free to do that.
- Customize seniors phone to fit his/her preferences
Seniors may understand phones, but it’s harder to get used to a virtual keyboard. They’re not tactile and are smaller in comparison to a traditional phone and older mobile phones, so typing is a bigger challenge.
To make the keyboard more approachable for them, disable advanced keyboard options, such as auto-correct and gesture-based typing. You can easily accommodate that by changing the settings. The same goes for changing the font.
Most seniors’ complaints about mobile phones have something to do with not being able to read properly. That’s because most phones’ default setting is for younger users, meaning smaller fonts. All you have to do is go the phone settings, the switch out the “normal” font for a “large font”. This will make a world of difference for seniors with eye problems.
- Lock the settings
To make sure that the settings of the seniors phone – such as the font and the keyboard preferences – stay how they are, lock the settings with a passcode. It’s not unusual for someone new to using mobile phones to accidentally change settings when they’re panicking and don’t know which button to press. This can happen to anyone – even younger users. If this can happen to more adept users, the likelihood of this happening to novice, elderly users is higher.
The solution is simple. Just install an app the locks the settings and requires a passcode to change. That way it’s harder to change the settings by accidents or while the senior is browsing through the phone. There are a lot of apps out now that you can try. One of them is AppLock. You can choose which apps and settings – like the WiFi or sync features – should require a passcode to change.
- Add apps that they’d be interested in
Most seniors don’t see the value in mobile seniors phone because the apps and uses they hear of and witness are mostly catering to the needs of the younger demographic. Open them up to the prospect of apps that can help them with their daily lives, such as those that can monitor their health, secure their home, help them in the case of emergencies and even be a source entertainment when they’re bored.
There a lot of apps for this. You can check our blog discussing the best apps to install for seniors (insert link to “5 Apps that Seniors Need in Their Lives” entry).
Why Use a Mobile Phone
Mobile phones these days come with a lot of features, and while to the average Millennial, that’s great, it translates to confusion for older people. That is enough to discourage them from trying, which is a shame because we know that mobile phones come with a lot useful functions. Even the most basic functions of a seniors phone – such as calling or texting them to make sure they’re okay – to the most extensive features – like apps that monitor their medication intake and records their vitals – make mobile phones worth introducing into a senior’s life.