Technology has driven a variety of trends which has become an integral part of people’s daily lives. Most technology that is designed for communication is focused enhancing one’s self-reliance, life enrichment and even health and safety. At a touch of a button or two, anyone can instantaneously make a video call with family and friends through Skype, wear a watch that tracks one’s heart rate, or use a tablet to read a book or make a purchase.
While all this may seem like an ordinary convenience for the younger generation, seniors on the other hand find themselves posited with various challenges with technology, especially when we are in an age where it rapidly develops and advances every day.
Some of these challenges include:-
1. Physical limitations
a. Manual Dexterity
Seniors often struggle with reduced reactivity due to their age, making it harder to keep up with fast-paced technology. Elderly people commonly experience difficulties with hand functioning requiring fine precision grip, and loss of hand strength that can affect simple everyday actions.
b. Visual Impairments
Visual functions decrease as people age, especially after the age of 50. The age-related changes in colour vision and contrast sensitivity makes older adults have more trouble with the small details, distance perception and estimating the speed of moving objects.
c. Decline in Memory Function
When our body becomes older many of our biological processes’ changes. These changes can affect brain function, even in healthy older people, affecting memory because the speed of communication between neurons become diminished. As a result older adults find that they don’t do as well as younger people on activities that require complex memory work.
2. Understanding how it works
There is perception that older adults are incapable of adapting to the latest technology. One must understand that mastering new technology is really complicated as the seniors have no experience in using technology to use as a baseline. Seniors generally have a lesser frame of reference to enable them to absorb new knowledge. Like everyone else, older adults learn best with one-on-one and hands-on tutorial, though they require slow and patient approach to teaching.
3. Lack of perceived benefit or need
Some seniors who are not using the Internet don’t think they would get much out of doing so as they tend to be very task-oriented. when learning computer skills and need to understand exactly what the benefit of learning technology will be before they are motivated to do it.
4. Negative feelings about social media
Older adults who have not used social media may have very negative views about using a computer for social purposes. Many tend to dislike social networking in part because they fear it will have a negative effect on normal face-to-face social interactions.
5. Fear about Internet safety
Some areas within the Internet requires some kind of personal information from the user to enable them access. Seniors in this regard may be afraid of putting any sort personal information online and won’t feel secure when learning about technology.
Seniors have habits that compose of nearly half their life. It can be strange and disconcerting to pick up a smart phone or tablet, and some seniors may long for the security of familiarity and may not be motivated to actually learn and dedicate themselves to the habit of mastering it.
Therefore, it is only necessary to examine the ways in which these barriers can impact the older adults so that this significant chunk of our society is not missing out on communication opportunities. Whether it is teaching someone how to enjoy apps on a tablet device, or arranging for a video call, we can our seniors stay up to date with the world today and help them enjoy life to the fullest.