5 questions seniors (and their families) should ask before buying that tech

In my recent post on questions that senior living providers should ask before buying the latest and greatest technology, I outlined what providers should be asking before they implement technology in senior living communities (or what those considering senior living will want to know). But, what about the individual thinking that a device purchase will make their lives easier? How do you know what device or service to buy? Well, you’re in luck!

Here are the top five questions for individuals to ask:

  1. Why do you want it? Similar to the question what problem are you trying to solve? its important to ask if you are attracted to the “shiny and new” or if you really will use it to make your life better/easier/more enriched. For some, its a necessity to stay in touch with family and friends. For others, it may be necessary to ensure critical tasks are done, like remind you to take your medications. Whatever the reason, make sure it will be a good fit for you.
  2. What do you need the technology or service to do?  Similar to the reasons above, knowing exactly what you need the technology for and what actions you want it to perform will help narrow your search for the right piece of equipment and the right price. Sometimes getting the simpler model will mean less headache for you. Which begs the question….
  3. How quickly do you learn to use new technology? Do you need a user manual or a tutor to help you learn it? The more “features” a device has, the longer it will take you to learn how to use it. Which is why you need to identify what you want it to do, so you can get a device that is simpler if you don’t need or want all the bells and whistles. If you do need special tutoring on how to use it, call your granddaughter or the high school kid next door–chances are, they ‘ll be able to teach you in a few minutes.
  4. How much research are you willing to do? With the dawn of the internet and user reviews has come the ability to see what other people think (for better or worse). Check out Cnet or MIT Technology Review for credible tech reviews and information. These sites exist to help consumers make sense of technology that is forever changing.
  5. What kind of infrastructure or additions will I need to use it? A lot of devices assume that you have a wi-fi network, the ability (and know-how) to create a user profile or account, and that you know the difference between when you’re using wi-fi and when you’re using cellular data. Make sure you ask what other accessories or requirements you’ll need to make it work. It may seem silly to ask does it come with headphones and a charger? But, with more wireless charging devices and really cheap headphones available, you will want to make sure you’re prepared for both additional cost and eliminating headache when it comes to getting set up. This includes reading the fine print of contracts. Always know what you’re agreeing to when you sign up for a service and what you will be charged if you decide to cancel.

Have a technology-related question? Post your questions in the comments and I’ll help you get pointed in the right direction! Happy tech-ing!

About the Author: Amira T. Fahoum is the Director of Marketing and Director of Operations, Northwest Region for Compass Senior Living located in Eugene, Oregon. Her path to senior living started when she simply decided to be open to possibilities in life. Possibilities are what led her to eight years of learning the senior living industry in roles ranging from Administrative Assistant to Director of Sales and Marketing to unofficial IT coordinator. Possibilities also led her into the world of education technology for almost three years. Now, on her journey with Compass, she has found true reward in working with the people that care for others. She lives in Eugene with her husband, Michael, where they enjoy golf, travel, and volunteering.

The myth of the grumpy old man

Grumpy old men and crotchety old women are often the labels jokingly given to older adults.

When the film Grumpy Old Men debuted in 1994, the premise was funny. Two elderly neighbor men putting on their best stereotypical crochety ‘attitudes, sniping at each other and at others around them. It was so funny, in fact, that a sequel soon followed – Grumpier Old Men. More guffaws. Leave it to Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon to make us all laugh!

“If you want to be happy, be.” Leo Tolstoy

I have the honor to meet and chat with elders in their 80’s 90’s, and a few in their 100’s.  Some are physically and cognitively fit who find happiness and purpose in community outreach.  They have amazing senses of humor, and they laugh and dream, aspiring to make the world a better place. Those who need some physical or cognitive assistance also have the same desires to laugh, connect, dream, learn and to make a difference! We are there to support them to be their best selves  – with the joy and happiness of  a mindful and purposeful life.  Elderhood is the crecendo of a lifetime!man-in-garden

  • Newsflash!   It turns out that everything does not go downhill as we age – the golden years are really golden!
  • That’s according to eye-opening research that found the happiest Americans are the oldest; and older adults are more socially active than the stereotype of the lonely, grumpy, crotchety  senior suggests.
  • Attitudes like self-esteem, quality relationships, defining life as meaningful, and exercising some independence can help people age well and to something positive even in the face of adversity.”

“Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.” Omar Khayyam

In 2002 the National Institutes of Health held a “Successful Aging” seminar. In synthesizing the information presented at the seminar Dr. Judy Selerno, who directs the NIH’s National Institute on Aging, concluded, “Disease and disability are not inevitable consequences of aging.” In other words, simply seeing signs of aging doesn’t have to lead down a slippery slope of hopelessness or despair.

  • There is a national movement from many different organizations to change the paradigm of aging from the image of the grumpy, crotchety old person  to the truth of the wholeness in elderhood with the capacity to learn and grow and make a difference in the world.
  • I really admire the work of Saging International.  They were inspired by Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (28 August 1924 – 3 July 2014), who, in 1992 wrote the book From Aging to Saging: A Revolutionary Approach to growing older.
  • Saging International is a non profit organization looking at life in a new way as we age. They are exploring ways to harvest the wisdom of our lives, finding ways to transmit that wisdom as a legacy to future generations and to give back through service.Their goal is to help each one of us achieve our very best selves into elderhood.
  • Having a purpose in life and giving kindness can make ALL of us happier!

“Be happy with what you have and are, be generous with both, and you won’t have to hunt for happiness.” William E. Gladstone

If you want to experience real joy in your life, start giving away, start giving out… Retired couple Peter Grazier and Nance Cheifetz decided that they wanted to become full-time Fairy Godparents, so in 2003, they sold their Lexus and bought Bodhi, their 1990 Volkswagon kindness van, and have been hitting the streets of the San Francisco Bay Area with lunch and hot chocolate. “Adults should have more fun than they do,” says Cheifetz, who encourages everyone to join in the delight in giving.

11062337_10206528118188840_645394201235573404_nAbout the Author:    Jean Garboden is the Director of Education and Innovation at Compass Senior Living  , located in Eugene Oregon. Jean is an Elder Advocate and Eden Alternative Educator with over 30 years experience in not-for-profit and for profit health care organizations. She is honored to lead the mission and values culture development for Compass Senior Living.

Let this 2-minute video of kindness given by this senior couple just make your day a little happier!