Pay attention to the benefits

Irene Armenteros Ballesteros, EuroFIR AISBL, 40 Rue Washington, 1050 Brussels (BE)

The use of new technologies can contribute substantially to improved quality-of-life for older individuals: they can help retain self-sufficiency, supports socialising, reduce loneliness, and grow self-esteem. It might be hard at first but, once you’re in, the benefits are immediate. 

There is a new term called active ageing, which seeks to extend healthy life  for everyone and refers means continue participating in social, economic, cultural and civic matters. Older adults do not need to move to the side-lines and can, instead, access the knowledge society, generating new ways to create and maintain social relationships.

So, here we go! Knowing how to handle new technologies is no longer an option, but an obligation. Older adults are less attracted to the use of smart technologies, but their adoption is spreading very quickly, and these technologies are increasingly necessary even for everyday tasks (making a video call, turning on the lights, shopping at the supermarket on the Internet …), so we have to encourage their use. The internet of things should interest you, because online access:

  • Helps maintain  quality-of-life: there are applications (apps) out there that can help you learn about new things, acquire new skills or access more information about current interests. Newly diagnosed with an age-related condition. Be proactive in understanding how you can manage the symptoms and sign up for more information. Are you forgetful? Apps can remind you when and what take by means of personalised messages. Each of these will make your life easier can be adapted to your preferences. For all of this you must get into them.
  • Encourages contact with other people: there are apps that support communication   with a friends and family who live too far away for regular visits, or you can get in contact with those who have similar interests and live locally. No need to feel alone unless you want to be! 
  • Support greater self-sufficiency: do you need information you used to get from your local library? You can still visit the library, but online information is available instantly, and there are resources that can help in everyday life (online newspapers, wikipedia, free scientific articles…).
  • Reduces boredom and assists with learning: you can read, keep up-to-date, and play games that promote cognitive activity, and may be you can challenges friends and family to get involved.
  • Offers advice about diet and staying active: there are many apps to help with food choices, recipe ideas or even exercise, some of which are tailored specifically for older people or those living with conditions such as diabetes. From interactive games to smart devices; you can monitor whether you have achieved your daily recommendations for exercise and diet, and you can set your goals for improvement.

Some of these tools have icons that are large enough and bright enough that any vision loss over time is not a problem. So, stop making excuses and get involved. There are plenty of clubs and organisations offering introductions where everyone can learn together. 

TURNTABLE: Platform supporting vitality and abilities of elderly is supported financially by the Active Assisted Living Programme (AAL) Joint Program under Grant Agreement No. 2019-EU-AAL-1 –

Assertions in this article is a summary of scientific articles and information from associations for older people, which have studied the benefits of involving older people in new technologies.

Information and the views set out in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Neither the European Union institutions and bodies nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use that may be made of the information contained herein.