Using Technology:  Older Adult Perspectives

The Impact Theme series: Longevity Explorers Discuss.

Modern technologies like smartphones, computers, wearables, and the internet can be used in many ways that are very relevant for older adults. But they frequently are looking for help and advice on how to use the technology, how to choose it, and how to get it supported.

Below you can hear our discussions, and share what we are learning about these topics.

NOTE: Discussions about specific topics like Alexa or Apple Watch are found in other areas. Look under "Recommendations" in the top, main menu for things like Smarthome, Robotics and AI, or Medical Alerts, or if you are interested in video interactions you would look under Social isolation and Loneliness..


Hear what Older Adults Think: Using Technology

Staying in Touch: Parents in Lockdown

By: tel-editors

It's a pretty common scenario at present. Your elderly parent, who lives at home — or in a nice senior living facility — is under "lockdown" for the foreseeable future. You can't visit. They are not super tech-savvy and don't regularly use Facetime, or Skype, or Zoom. And you are wondering what... Read More. Add your Opinions


Best Video Call Technology

By: tel-editors

Now that we are all "sheltering in place", finding ways to interact virtually with people from our homes has rocketed up people's priority list.

We have had quite a few emails now from people wanting to know the best way to have video calls with their family and friends. Here are some... Read More. Add your Opinions


Internet Scams and Safety

This is a talk on Internet scams and Safety, from Capt John Alfred. Captain Alfred directs the cyber crimes and the state fusion units with the Rhode Island State Police.



Telephone, Cyber and Doorbell Scams Explored

Explorer Steve speaks about computer scams, including one brought to his attention by his neighbor who complained that a message would periodically appear on her computer screen telling her that her computer was infected, and to call the number in the message to get help in clearing her computer.



Ageism and Technology

Interesting discussion about Ageism, but also about the challenges of technology adoption by older adults. Among other things the group talked about how to reduce the friction between older and younger adults.



Virtual Reality: It's 'Almost Like Being There'

Diana asks whether anyone in the group owns or has used a virtual reality headset. 



Evernote: SF Explorer App of the Month

Explorer Rich reports on Evernote, an app he has found useful for years and especially now when his memory seems not so reliable as in the past.



A Few of Our Concerns: Online Fear, Built-in Obsolescence, Dealing with Scams

We are a new Longevity Explorer group: The Bayley Longevity Explorers in Cincinnati, Ohio.  This discussion segment is our first ‘real’ more involved, in-depth, and meaningful discussion as an Explorer group.  It was a very good first meeting!  This discussion segment is about some of the concerns our explorers have: Online Fear, Built-in Obsolescence, and Dealing with Scams



Beware: Spammers Just Want Your Money

The S. F. Explorers share their displeasure with unwanted email, messages and phone calls, many of which are scammers looking for gullible people.



Dan's Fear: What If My Computer Crashes?

Explorer Dan shares his fear of having his computer fail, and what to do if it does.



Amazon GO

SF Explorer Rich tells the group about his recent experience at the new Amazon GO market in San Francisco.



Scams - Bayley July 2019

Scams and Harassing Phone Calls - Bayley July 2019 by Longevity Explorers | Recent @ Cincinnati

A variety of differnet scams and harassments are reported by the Explorers.



Internet Use Necessitates Privacy Protection

SRC Explorers are asked their views on the privacy trade offs which go with the benefits of access to Internet data. 



Block Annoying Phone Solicitations with NoMoRoBo

Explorer Shirley shares her knowledge of an app that is intended to block unwanted phone calls from robot servers and solicitors.



Learning Styles for New Technology @ Cincinnati

Learning Styles for New Technology.  This discussion concerns the challenges that older adults experience learning how to use new technology and new tech-oriented products.  They also suggest a few ideas to help improve technology instruction and assistance.



Technology Poll @ Passavant

Following a quick poll of our circle we learned that nearly everyone uses some type of technology daily: flip phone, smart phone, tablet, PC/laptop. Interestingly only 60% of the group believed that technology made life easier, a few even felt like it may be complicating life and disengaging...



Help Me Navigate the World of Cell Phone Services

Explorer Bonnie describes a disappointing experience with her cellular provider, and seeks the input of group members as to how to deal with it or find a provider with better customer service skills.



What Internet Services Package is Best for Me?

Longevity Explorer Steve starts a discussion about the cable internet option and consumer choices to bundle or unbundle cable Internet, phone, and streaming services. 



Managing Passwords, Pleasanton

How in the world do we keep track of all our various passwords?



Ever Expanding and Changing High Tech Tools Challenge Seniors

This discussion started with a plea for some sort of guide to all the wonderful high tech tools that are available. We then turned to the ever-changing array of choices in high tech tools some of us have adopted. One example is Alexa, which can do so much for one, but it is confusing to manage....



Suggestions For Helping Seniors Make Best Use of their High Tech Tools

The discussion focuses on the challenge of keeping up with ever changing operating systems on our IT devices and suggested some valuable solutions.

One member spoke anxiously of her reliance on an IT helper and wondered how people cope if they cannot afford to hire someone.




The Challenge of New Products and Keeping up with System Changes

Software and Aps develop and change unrelentingly and some seniors have a hard time keeping up. One concern is that the aps some seniors have become familiar with are no longer supported or used by the people they want to keep in touch with. An example is Facebook and E-mail that are no longer...



Uber and Lyft: Users Like Their Experiences

The group is discussing use of the Uber app, which leads to a series of anecdotes and questions from members



Useful Gadgets, Providence, Part 2

The discussion of useful gadgets continued with demonstrations of new types of bottle openers, an antique tooth extractor, and a knife sharpener. The knife sharpener generated a brief discussion on the relative safety of sharp knives over dull ones.  A lamp turn knob (“Easy Comfort Lamp Switch”...



Useful Gadgets, Providence, Part 1

The gadgets members demonstrated were useful, interesting, and sometimes funny.  The first “gadget” was a small packet of yellow sticky notes which the member said he has used effectively for reminders and other things for years. From low tech we went to to high with one member’s new Alexa for...



About the Impact Theme Series

Our Longevity Explorers (hundreds of older adults with ages ranging from 60-95 years old) meet regularly to discuss topics at the intersection of aging and technology.

Among the many topics we discuss in these meetings, we have been exploring some specific themes which we think are going to be very important for older adults in the future, and which in our opinion are ripe for innovation. These make up our Impact Themes, and Using Technology is one of these themes.

In these discussions:

  • We share how we do things today;
  • We explore and critique existing products;
  • We talk about challenges we have that we wish products could solve; and
  • We dream up product concepts we wish someone like you would develop.

If you are developing products or services for older adults in the category of Using Technology, listen to the Longevity Explorer discussions on this page to get insights about how to develop better products and services for older adults.

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Topics (broader coverage of this theme):