Baby Boomers and Technology: Five Must-Haves
Charles Bell, a tech enthusiast, is guest blogging today, giving us baby boomers some great practical tips and listing five must-have modern technologies we should all consider. If you feel like you’re having trouble keeping up with all the new devices, systems, gadgets, and apps – like me – his advice will keep you up-to-date on what’s available to make our lives simpler and more efficient with technology.
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Without further ado, here’s Charles….
Baby Boomers are becoming almost as addicted to technology and the internet as millennials.
According to a Pew report, about 80 percent of younger Baby Boomers (those born between 1955 and 1964) go online. Don’t count out the older Boomers (born between 1946 and 1954) – 75 percent use the internet as well.
Whether it’s laptops, Smartphones, online banking, searching online for health information, shopping, or the latest news, many “silver surfers” are on board!
In fact, people over 50 are 27 percent more likely to research travel destinations and pursue hobbies online than other adults. In addition, Baby Boomers now represent the fastest-growing demographic among social network sites like Facebook.
That being said, technology is advancing so quickly that even some older members of the millennial generation are having trouble keeping up with the latest developments. There are new devices, systems, and applications with each passing week and month, and the progress can be somewhat dizzying.
However, the fundamental idea of technology is that it makes everyday practices simpler and more efficient. And for that reason, it’s important that Boomers never feel left out.
Here are five modern technologies that are ideal and, in some cases, essential for Baby Boomers:
# 1 Fitness Trackers
The idea of a device that records physical activity may sound ridiculous to some Boomers, and there are even some arguments out there that inserting a layer of tech is a backwards step in making people more active.
But I’d disagree.
Sure, on the surface it’s a little bit silly to wear a device that tracks the number of steps you take in a day and monitors your sleep patterns and heart rate. But whether or not you like the idea, you might just be motivated by it.
A lot of Boomers are at an age where health becomes a more primary concern and staying in shape is progressively more difficult. Having a daily goal of steps and gaining a more thorough understanding of your hour-to-hour activity level can go a long way in helping you to form healthier habits.
Plus, this isn’t even a complicated technology. The devices literally do all the work for you.
#2 News Aggregator Apps
As pointed out above, plenty in the Baby Boomer generation are perfectly familiar and comfortable with the internet. In fact, many are quite proficient, having taken the time to learn the ropes. But there are also those in this generation who have never quite fully transitioned to consuming news and information online.
If you fall into this category, a news aggregator app can be a wonderful tool. There are numerous apps available, but the basic idea is the same.
You set up the app with your own preferences (for sites, types of stories, or even people of interest), and it does the rest. The app pulls news stories from all over the internet and combines them in one easy place for you to sort through. For a lot of people (not just Boomers), this is more hassle-free than navigating the internet every day.
#3 GPS Shoe Soles
A lot of Baby Boomers are caring for elderly family members which is an extremely demanding responsibility. There’s a lot that goes into it, and of course every family’s situation is unique. But one of the problems a lot of people with aging parents and family members encounter is that they can easily get lost or wander off.
Advanced modern GPS has led to a very specific solution to this problem. The GPS SmartSole used an insole to track the wearer, so you’ll always know – to a very precise degree – where an elderly family member is located.
Learning how to use this type of device can give Boomers a tremendous amount of security in being able to pinpoint the exact locations of elderly family members. For that matter, for Boomers, it can be helpful in keeping tabs on the grandkids as well!
#4 iPads (Or Other Smart Tablets)
Going with something simpler, an iPad or other brand of tablet, is a very fun piece of technology for most anyone.
Yes, it’s still a pretty expensive plaything, and many will ultimately deem it unnecessary. But one article about gadgets and services for Boomers describes it perfectly as “this generation’s must-have digital coffee table book.”
This description captures the nature of tablets: they’re unnecessary, but they’re fun to have around and perfect for sharing. Beyond that, we’re only going to head further down the road to touchscreen devices and highly responsive technological devices, so the iPad is a nice foundation for the future. If you’re new to this technology, your grandchildren will be happy to educate you!
#5 Alexa (Amazon Echo)
The Amazon Echo is basically like Siri for the home. It’s a device from Amazon (which you refer to by name as Alexa) that controls various things within your home.
The device can tell you the weather, play you a song, or even adjust other “smart” features you may have in your home (such as an advanced thermostat), and it does it all by vocal command. There are lots of amazing things you can do with Alexa (from playing music to turning on a humidifier), and while it still seems like a gimmick to a lot of people, it’s probably the way of the future.
Just as the iPad is a strong foundation for the computers and tablets we’ll be seeing in the coming years, the Amazon Echo is likely just the first in a long line of home assistant technologies that Baby Boomers (and everyone else) ought to go ahead and get accustomed to using.
Images (in order of appearance) courtesy of Ambro, everdayplus, and stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.