Technology: Using It, Choosing It, Finding Support


A big focus of Tech-enhanced Life’s work is finding ways technology-based products can improve the quality of life for all of as we age.

But often, for those products to be useful, older adults need to make some changes to their way of life and learn new things. Sometimes, people need some help and advice with that.

This page is our Topic Hub for “Using Technology” — considered from the points of view of an older adult, or their family member, or caretaker. 

If you or an older adult you know would like to use some of the clever new products and services that can improve life, but are not sure how, this is a place to look for ideas. You will find lots of more specific recommendations (Alexa, Smartwatch Medical Alerts, Wearables, Tools for Avoiding Loneliness and more) on various Topic Hubs listed on the main Recommendations page.

If you have something you think belongs on this page and are interested in being a contributor or collaborator, see more about how to collaborate here.


Featured Research

Teaching Alexa to older adults

Alexa and My Mother: Learnings for Teaching Older Adults Technology

Over the past few years, I have been the major caregiver for my mother, who lives 350 miles away.

This article is partly about my experiences using Alexa to help her, and partly to share some things I have learned about what is important in teaching technology to older adults in ways that mean they will actually take advantage of the benefits of that technology.


Technologies for Aging in Place

Seminar Series: Technologies for Aging in Place. Semester 1

Wondering which products and services can help an older adult live independently, with autonomy, as long as possible? Sign up for this seminar series to learn the answers.

Together with a community of older adults called the Longevity Explorers, Tech-enhanced Life has spent the last 8 years exploring the intersection of aging and technology, and evaluating a wide range of products and services designed to help people live independently for as long as possible. In this seminar series, we synthesize what we have learned.

Omni Fire TV for Video Calls

How to Use Amazon Omni Fire TV for Video Calls

Amazon recently announced a Fire TV Omni Series that features Alexa Calling & Zoom Meetings built-in…. no need to add a Fire TV Cube! Longevity Explorer Frank Engelman has tried it out, and shows how to set it up for one of his “older adult” relatives.

Tech Support: Older Adults Explore

The good thing about modern technological innovations — like smart phones, smart homes, computers, video call technology, or telehealth — is that they can improve quality of life in a variety of ways. But tech gadgets are only useful if you keep them working. And today’s gadgets often need quite a lot of tech support for that to happen.

In 2020, the Longevity Explorers explored the different approaches to keeping all your gadgets running — especially during the COVID pandemic, when face to face visits are hard or impossible. Here is what we learned.

Gerontechnology Innovation

Gerontech Products We Wish Existed

Here are some high-impact, gerontechnology product concepts that do not yet exist as commercially available products — although the technology to enable them already largely exists. Our hope for products like these: to significantly postpone the time at which frailty and functional disability get in the way of “living life”

Technology for Older Adults: Notable from 2020

There are a lot of things that have been memorable about 2020. Many of them have been pretty horrible. But, in the area of innovation as it relates to the lives of older adults, we actually see some positive developments, and room for optimism about the future.

Engelman Interview

Tablets with Simpler User Interfaces: Interview

After completing a comparative evaluation of products in the category we call “senior-friendly tablets”, lead reviewer Frank Engelman was interviewed by Richard Caro, co-founder of Tech-enhanced Life.

Best senior tablet: comparisons, and how to chose.

Best Senior Tablet: How to Choose

This article is about a category of product marketed as senior tablets, or tablets for seniors. We explore which type of person would benefit from a senior tablet, rather than a more mainstream product like an iPad, and how to decide which is the best senior tablet for a specific life situation.

DIY solutions

DIY Technology Solutions to Things Bothering My Aging Relatives

My relatives and their friends are in their 70’s and 80’s and 90’s now, and I am finding they have some recurring “problems” that get in the way of life being as enjoyable as I think it should be. I have come up with a variety of DIY “Tech Solutions” to these problems that I have implemented for them. I hope they will be useful for you too.

TV and Older Adults

Making TV Useful For My 94-yr-old Aunt

This is about how I took advantage of the ubiquity of TV in the lives of many older adults.  By adding various smart integrations, I turned the TV from simply a source of background noise into a useful tool — that helps my 94-yr-old aunt accomplish all sorts of things she previously had trouble with.

Fire TV Cube with TV

How to Set Up an Amazon Fire TV Cube

Recently, a product called the Amazon Fire TV Cube has become available and I am finding it often helps me solve challenges I am working on on behalf my older friends. I have developed this "How to" guide to help other people like me set up a Fire TV Cube for their friends, relatives, or aging parents. I include instructions for how to enable various features I have needed for the solutions I have created for my friends and relatives.

video calls seniors

Virtual Connections to the Tech-Challenged

How do you have rich and engaging interactions with your parent who you can’t visit in person? Especially if they cannot, or will not, adopt mainstream consumer technologies.

That’s the challenge we are exploring in this article.

Setting Up Alexa Calling

How to Set Up Alexa Calling for a Loved One

Are you looking for a way to setup video chats with your loved one who lives independently or in a facility? This article tells you how to do that, using the Echo Show, without requiring your loved one to do any of the “setting up”.

Magic Carpet Apps

Magic Carpet Apps for That

As I mentioned in the introduction to “My Internet Enabled Life, you can see the world while sitting at your PC in your own house or apartment. Here is a list of websites that offer an amazing assortment of places to visit, theater performances to watch, TV series, and movies.

How to find Whatsername

How to Find “Whatsername” After All These Years?

Peter Paul and Mary had a hit single decades ago called “Whats-her-name.” The chorus goes: “I wonder whatever happened to whatshername.” Your PC might help you find not only whatshername, but also whatshisname too. Here is how to do it.


Tech-enhanced Life Community

An Internet Enabled Life

Having used technology all my working life, and now being retired, I notice that many of my peers are missing out on some of the benefits that come with appropriate use of the latest technology.

Amazon Echo Show: Older Adults Explore

Our Longevity Explorers have been testing the Amazon Echo Show and exploring its capabilities. With the ability to make phone calls and video calls on request, Alexa and the Amazon Echo Show have added important capabilities since our community of older adults first explored Alexa back in 2017. Learn what these “seniors” think is (or is not) useful about it; what questions they have; and what they think needs improvement.

Amazon Echo (Alexa) for seniors and the elderly, brainstorming session by older adults

Amazon Echo and Alexa for the Elderly

The older adults in our explorer groups have recently become interested in a relatively new product: the Amazon Echo and its artificial intelligence Alexa. Here are their thoughts on topics like: do we want one; why would we want one; what do we use it for; and wouldn’t it be great if it could also do …”.

Additional Research in this Topic Hub