Engineers, scientists and government leaders thrive on creating innovations and programs to improve the lives of the elderly. Yet change can come with personal costs. Unsure of modern conveniences and care regulations that look promising, it is common for the elderly to bristle when they have managed well for decades. Common resistance phrases for older people include: I do not need it. It is too complicated. It costs too much.

How can accelerating innovations and services be a positive support for your elderly loved one and his/her caregiver? Will he/she really use them? An Internet and telecommunications analysis reports 70.5 percent of people in Europe and 45.7 percent of people in Asia use the Internet compared to a worldwide average of 42.3 percent. The rise of online usage by elders is expected to climb as ageing adults live longer and want to remain more in control of instant connection with family, friends, health information and the world around them.

In adjusting to ever-advancing solutions and products for the ageing, an important first step is to talk with your ageing loved one about why the new device or service would be of help and address the following:

  • Vision – Make sure your ageing loved one can clearly see the computer/smartphone screens and keyboard/keypad, plus any buttons or switches.
  • Hearing – Adjust volume controls according to hearing ability. Consider using more powerful external audio monitors or headphones.
  • Memory – Can your loved one remember instructions and tasks to use the computer and other equipment? If dementia or memory recall is a problem, try writing down step-by-step instructions.
  • Dexterity/Touch Sensitivity – Arthritis and shaking from Parkinson's are two conditions that can affect flexibility and accuracy when using a keyboard, touchpad or other controls. A digital stylus or voice recognition software can help.

Often family caregivers turn to Right at Home and other one-to-one training specialists to ease elderly loved ones' transition to new regulations, programs and technology devices.

What do you think helps your elderly loved one adjust to modern-day conveniences and social services changes?

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