The Information Age – Wired or Not?

How many of us know people who get to a certain point technologically and then stop? They don’t care to learn the latest tips and techniques for successfully using a mobile phone or any kind of computer, including electronic readers and smart watches, TVs, or social media on any platform. These might be the same folks who dress or have a way of wearing their hair that dates back to the ‘80’s … or even earlier. Perhaps this person is you.

It’s not just the electronics themselves. It’s being smart enough to navigate the tech support world when something goes wrong. Where to call, who to talk to, will they speak English, and will I have enough patience to wait online for several minutes? Some lucky elders have kids or grandkids who can help them set up and maintain the equipment that allows them to be an active member of the information age. And if you’re like me and don’t have those family members, you find the easiest and most patient tech consultant you can hire to be there when everything blows up!!

Advantages of being wired

The advantages for seniors of increased information, answers, new ideas, and possible solutions to myriad things are huge and growing. The medical field alone has expanded into our homes, and tests and monitoring are now available at any time of day or night, without having to drive to the doctor’s or a hospital. All of this is made possible with daily technological advancements that we barely can keep up with. Some of the technology is relatively easy to operate and some is more complicated. It’s ease of use depends on how the manufacturer strives to make it easier for seniors, with versions updated for us specifically and what our individual capabilities are in working on small devices with small buttons, few written instructions, and the number of steps required to achieve our goal.

Email has been around for a long time and most of us are familiar with how to use it. It gets more complicated for us when updated versions delete some of our desired uses or when versions are updated so quickly with new components we can’t recognize. Know anyone with an iPhone 6, even though the latest version is up to 14? I bet you do. Perhaps you don’t even know there are new versions. Still, email has been a real boon to home-bound elders and those who desire and appreciate connections with family and friends who live outside our areas.

Sequestered seniors during COVID were drawn into technology, in some cases, kicking and screaming, when access to family, to resources including groceries and take out and other goods as well as classes and entertainment was the only way to survive. COVID pushed many of us to work hard to embrace a wider range of digital products.

Slow to arrive or not at all

While seniors are generally considered “late adopters” for most technology, more and more older people are beginning to embrace the digital age. According to Pew Research, almost 60% of American seniors over age 65 are now online, a number that is increasing rapidly each year.

In spite of the advantages of being more readily informed, some elders aren’t going to budge. They’re done trying to stay up on all the latest technological gadgets and apps, and we have to be okay with that. Some have the attitude that they’re not missing something or some capability they never had or got used to.

Even though we may be characterized as being a “late adopter” for most technology, it’s pretty healthy to be curious but take baby steps into new technology especially if you don’t know or understand how algorithms are established by all platforms to view and gather personal information, including banking and medical information.

How about you?

Personally, I’m about in the middle. I have an iPhone 11 (not the fanciest one), and use and maintain three email accounts. Plus I create this blog at my website online. BUT, when something goes wrong with any of these, whether equipment or electronically, I’m stuck. I’ll try a few fixes but have learned that in doing do, I might make matters worse. So, I hire someone to help me.

Where are you with electronics and technology? Do you love or hate them? Everyone’s got aggravations about some aspect of being wired. What are yours?