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.