Helping the Elderly with Tablets and Mobiles

Not knowing the basics of how to use a computer or a tablet seems an alien concept to those of us who work in front of a computer all day, then sit in front of a tablet all night. Kids are seemingly born knowing how to operate an iPhone these days, but those who are older can often struggle to keep up.

There are a number of reasons a tablet or a mobile can appeal to an elderly person. Long gone are the days when you would have to ask for a large type book – with Apple’s iPhone the user simply pushes their fingers apart and reads whatever size suits them. The ability to use email makes it much easier to stay connected with children and grandchildren – even those finding it hard to type can still enjoy receiving photos and videos and use voice assistants to respond. Although our care homes have an environment tailored to keep our residents’ satisfaction levels high, a tablet or mobile can be used for FaceTime or Skype, which eliminates the miles between the family and allows for easy face-to-face communication – perfect for when one is feeling a little lonely.

But initially introducing the tech to an elderly parent can be hard. Some will fear their mobile or tablet – not wanting to damage the expensive piece of equipment in their hands, while others may not have the patience. When teaching anyone anything, it is important to consider how they learn best. Some parents will be auditory learners while others will be visual, but just make sure you let them do the tasks themselves!

Remember how long it took you to learn how to use your devices? Sure, it may seem easy now, but most of us have been practicing using iPhones and tablets for years. You didn’t learn it all at once, so make sure not to expect your parents or grandparents to. Often one of the easiest ways to begin is to start with one particular game or app. If you present an elderly user with something fun to play, they’ll most likely learn how to turn on the device and open the game by themselves.

Remember to always leave a very simple written list with instructions. The joy of a tablet, is that you can teach someone how to look for answers by themselves, meaning your parents won’t just give up if they are hesitant to ask the rest of the family for help. Barchester offers quizzes and discussion groups as one of its activities, and being able to search a query on the tablet compliments this.

 Whilst Japan’s iPad for OAPs hasn’t rolled out in the U.K. just yet, many tablets have a number of features that make them more accessible for seniors as well as apps that can be used to help remind them when to take their medication, as well as when to book a doctor’s appointment. The settings can be changed on the text so that it is larger on a number of tablets, which is well worth doing if your grandfather’s poor sight is putting him off using the tool. There are also a number of options available for those with hearing impairments – so there is no need for your elderly relatives to be left out of all the technological fun!

Barchester’s homes offer a variety of activities to keep your brain and body active, with care and specialist services tailored to meet your needs. Contact us to find out more about how you can find the right care.