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Technology tips for older people (over 70) in times of corona isolation

Seniors belong to the main risk group in the Corona crisis. According to the Robert Koch Institute, corona deaths in Germany are currently 80 years old on average. That is why the authorities always emphasize that older people in particular have to stay at home to protect themselves from the corona virus. Seniors, of course, react differently to the current situation and some do not take the epidemic that seriously. Elderly people in particular are hit hard by the exit restrictions. According to experts, blocking contacts in particular can have serious psychological consequences for many people. With this in mind, we’ve put together a few tips and ideas on how to make quarantine at home as safe, convenient, and unfrustrating as possible for your parents or grandparents. More and more technical innovations can support older people in their everyday life and also offer entertainment and distraction. Because quarantine and social distancing may last for months.

Help for the elderly in technical form

Older people over 70 got a new laptop

Some of those over 70 are already familiar with using apps to order groceries and recipes. Therefore, most of the advice here is aimed at older family members who struggle with tech at home. Before you limit contact with your parents or grandparents because of Corona, or if you are supposed to do everything remotely, take a look at the following ideas about digital devices and intercommunication. These will bring many new opportunities for seniors.

Start with the cell phone

Prepare older people over 70 for corona isolation with the right technology

While we’re going to show you all the digital networking options below so you can stay in touch with your older loved ones, many people over the age of 70 will feel most comfortable using a phone. Make sure you know the basics of making and receiving calls when you have one Smartphone or a cell phone with large buttons, like Doro’s.

Older people over 70 can handle a smartphone well

Go through your contacts and add the Numbers of friends or family members that may still be in a notebook. Add your phone number to favorites on Android and iOS so your name appears at the top of the list. Also, find the cell phone charger and make sure seniors have it on hand. The label on the charger “Telephone”, e. Using a sticky note, for example, is never a bad idea, considering how many different chargers there are in every home these days.

There are now several initiatives that Hotline for lonely seniors offer in the Corona crisis. Such as the “Silver Net” project, for example. Older people who are alone and have no one to talk to can report to the telephone hotline. You can find people to talk to on 0800 4 70 80 90 between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. The hotline is free of charge for callers.

Check your internet and email access

older people over 70 experience difficulties in using digital technology

Ask your parents and grandparents how and where they are save the important information that they may need, such as their Wi-Fi password, their email address and password, and maybe their Facebook login as well. When they’re ready to share this information, it may be useful that you have a copy of it too.

Show them where the Wi-Fi symbol is on their smartphone. Sort the apps and rearrange the phone and tablet home screens. If you haven’t already, add payment details to the App Store or Google Play Store if you want to buy apps, games, or make online purchases.

Sort grocery deliveries and utilities

Prepare older people over 70 for corona isolation

To at the Online grocery shopping to help, and depending on how curious your family members are on the internet, you have a few options. They could simply give you their shopping list by phone so that you can order and have the groceries delivered online or via a supermarket app. You could also set up their own profiles for them so that they can do everything themselves on the phone. It’s best to get them an inexpensive tablet or laptop. You can also access your parent’s computer using Remote Help (Quick Assist) in Windows 10 or the Screen Split feature in the Messages app on Mac. That means you can surf while you click and order.

Food delivery service for the elderly

You might also want the variants of Food delivery services in your area or ask your relatives which restaurants nearby they would like to order takeaway over the phone. And ask about local WhatsApp or Facebook groups that offer to run local errands.

Judge her Online banking if you do not have any login details yet. Use an online service at a pharmacy to order prescriptions for drugs that have been prescribed as long-term therapy (so-called Repeat recipes).

Internet service providers are already starting to restrict personal visits from technicians. But do a quick speed test to see the Check internet speed, and if it’s too slow to support video calling, call the provider to see if something can be done without a visit.

Now is the time for video calling

If your parents and grandparents are already on WhatsApp, it is probably easiest to be with them chat by video. And WhatsApp video calls help with that. The same goes for FaceTime for iPhone users. You don’t have to learn anything new, and it works well enough.

For longer chats or group chats is Skype a good choice. HouseParty is well suited for an online family celebration. The app Marco Polo could also be worth considering if you still work at your usual workplace and not from your home office. It allows you to send video messages when you cannot always make live calls. Don’t forget that WhatsApp also has built-in voice notes, which is perfect for any family member who likes to leave voice messages.

Consider a smart display or speaker

Smart display for regular video calls

For anyone who lives alone or has problems controlling technology due to diseases like arthritis, we recommend considering a smart display. What is a Smart display? It’s essentially a tray on a stand that usually has a voice assistant built into it. The best smart displays currently include Amazon Alexa Show 8 and Lenovo with Google Assistant. This means your relatives won’t have to worry about holding or setting up devices for regular video chat. All they have to do is get it to the right place and answer your calls.

Amazon Echo Dot helpful for seniors

If you’re not in the mood for the camera, a cheaper Echo Dot (from 30 euros) or Google Home Mini (from 20 euros) or the cameraless, cheaper and smaller Nest Home Hub are also suitable as a companion for elderly people living alone. If Google isn’t your thing, there’s the Amazon Echo Show in this category as well. The Facebook portal TV, which transforms the television into a video device and automatically pans and zooms through the room, depending on who is speaking, is unfortunately currently not available in Germany.

Keep them fit with a health and fitness smartwatch

Choosing a smart watch for seniors

One of the major concerns of the 70-year-olds about the exit restriction is the change in their exercise routine. Maybe they had to stop going to the gym or doing aqua aerobics. If they have a Fitbit or another, easier Fitness tracker you may want to discuss how to change your daily activity goal or daily step count for the self-isolation period.

Whether you’re going up and down the stairs, walking through the garden, or – as it currently seems to be allowed – for short, socially distant walks near your home, there are ways to take 2,000 or even 5,000 steps a day . Something as simple as a resistance band for home workouts and stretching could also help a lot.

apple watch series 4 fall detection function

For parents or grandparents who are at risk of falling indoors, Apple has introduced fall detection with the Series 4. This means that the Series 3 is unfortunately no good here. The Series 4 or Series 5 Apple watches are expensive accessories, but the additional warning system is worth it.

E-books, streaming and game night

Elderly woman with gray hair reads e-books on e-reader

If your relatives are over 70 and have a E-reader As you already own the Kindle, download an entire library of e-books for them from the Kindle Store now. The Kindle user interface is simple enough to read, but some elderly people may have difficulty finding and downloading the titles they want to read.

Also could be a Streaming stick be useful for on-demand television and movies if they don’t have a smart television. Choose a TV stick with a remote control such as a Now TV stick (approx. 40 euros) or an Amazon Fire TV stick with Alexa voice remote control (approx. 30 euros), instead of one that scrolls in-app based.

Don't get annoyed game for 4 players via Facebook Messenger

The contact with your parents and grandparents cannot only take place via video calls – especially if none of you now necessarily has a lot to report from your everyday life. Try it Mobile games in group mode – like Scrabble Go and Uno King for iOS and Android as well as the human-annoy-not-game for 4 players via Facebook Messenger. Two real chess boards and a Skype session on the laptop might work just fine as well.

Ultimately, you know how to best entertain your own family and yourself. Do you miss your grandchildren yet? Let her “babysit” via a webcam“. Perhaps the best mood-enhancer would even be to suggest that they look for vacation destinations when the coronavirus crisis is over.

Find new vacation destinations after the corona crisis