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

Ideas for Alexa skills or routines to keep my Dad engaged

By: Allynn

I'm giving Dad a couple of Alexa Echos for Christmas (he has a big house and is hard of hearing).  I'm trying to find some good skills and maybe set up some routines to get him to actually engage with the devices.  I was thinkng of creating a morning routine that includes a greeting, the weather... Read More. Add your Opinions


Tech Support: How Do You Do It?

By: tel-editors

 How do you keep your gadgets and computers working?

Our explorers are talking about this topic, and comparing notes. Join the discussion. Share what you do in the comments... 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


Need a Simpler TV Remote Control

The Longevity Explorer groups have frequently brought up the complaint that their TV remote is too complicated. It's a recurring theme any time one asks about technology design and examples of poorly designed gadgets.



GrandPad @ Passavant

The Passavant Longevity Explorers evaluate a senior-friendly tablet.



The iOS Health App Explained

San Francisco Explorer Lynn tells the group about how first responders can use your iPhone or Apple Watch to access your essential medical information during an emergency.



Simple Shared Calendaring for Distant Parent

It's a common situation: an aging parent starts needing help from family members organizing things like doctors visits, or other care-related or social activities. How do you set up and maintain some type of mutually convenient, calendaring solution that maintains the right balance between "...



Life Changes After Covid-Virtual1

As 2021 arrived and vaccines started to become available, the Virtual1 Explorers Circle members were ready to discuss what they thought life would be like as they emerged from lock down. The resulting wide-ranging conversation had several threads including: the aspects of life that had been forever changed by the pandemic, things that members were eager to do once the lock down was lifted, positive behaviors developed or technologies learned during Covid that members wanted to keep as part of their lives, and the opportunities that change opened up for the future.



Digital Tools to Keep Post-Pandemic

During this period of social distancing and isolation, SF Explorers consider which aspects of virtual connectivity they intend to continue to use after the mandated isolation is over.



Making Zoom Even Easier

Now that "Zooming" is a verb, knowing how to make video calls via Zoom is becoming an important life skill. The truth is Zoom is extremely easy to use, which is why it became so popular during COVID. But some people still have difficulties with some aspects.



Devices and Gadgets Sustaining Older Adults’ Resilience

Older adults ingeniously use a wide variety of devices in navigating their daily life. As we age, we use both low- and high-tech gadgets to increase our resilience and overcome any difficulties thrown across our path. Members of the Virual1 Explorers Circle discussed their favorite “helpers” in a far-reaching and spirited session which covered both physical items and digital applications.



Virtual Connections: SRC Perspectives

The Group was asked whether they have been successful at staying in touch with people they can't go to visit during the COVID lockdown.



Need Help Making Alexa Useful

I am setting up Alexa for my parent who lives at a distance. I am unsure what features to include, or how to set it up so it is as useful as possible.



Google Translate: App of the Month @ SF

San Francisco Explorer Michaela explains to the group how she uses Google Translate, one of her favorite apps.



Tech Support During COVID, SRC

Saratoga Retirement Community Explorers tell what they do during the pandemic lockdown when their electronic devices don't work.



Tech Support, Virtual1

During their Zoom Circle meeting, Virtual1 Explorers Circle members discussed personal approaches to tech support developed from their own experience. The discussion included issues like ongoing tech support; updates; learning about new tech; and the challenges of helping friends and family with technology.




"Senior" Finds TV Hard to Use

As older adults develop physical and mental frailties, they sometimes have difficulty using products they want to be able to continue to use: such as the TV.

For example, physical impairments, like arthritis or tremor, may make it hard to press buttons. And cognitive impairments may make...



Getting Tech Help: SF Explorers

The SF Explorer Circle discusses and shares how they get tech help for their devices or tutoring to operate them.



Parent's Computer or Phone "Not Working"

Helping family members who are technology-adverse, with their technical problems, has always been tough, but becomes even harder when they are remotely located or in an isolated facility. Part of the problem of remote support is “seeing” what they are seeing and “controlling” what they are doing...



Lost the TV Remote?

Who is not familar with this experience?

It's time to watch TV. Where did you put the remote control for the TV?



Parent Keeps "Losing" Their Phone?

Your loved one is frequently misplacing their smartphone while at home.

Many people misplace their phones, but if your loved one has mobility issues or cognitive decline, it’s even more frequent. Wouldn’t it be nice to offer your loved one a solution?



Hand Tremor: Obstacle to Charging "Devices"

A family friend is having problems keeping his iPad charged as he has recently developed hand tremors and is unable to plug in the power cable.



Mother's Fire TV Cube "Not Working"

The Amazon Fire TV Cube that you set up for your mother, who lives in another state, is sometimes hard for her to use. You wish that you had a way to give her remote help on its usage, other than trying to explain it over the phone.



Family Video Call: Too Cramped

When my whole family is here, and we want to have an Alexa call with my Aunt who is now in the nursing home, it's rather cramped sitting around my phone or even my Echo Show



TV Noise Drowns Out Phone Ringing

In my Dad’s nursing home everybody has their TV blasting, including My Dad. Sometimes he can’t even hear me calling on a video chat request on his Alexa Show.



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):