NewsNational PoliticsThe Race


Seniors using technology to get through pandemic

Posted at 2:06 PM, Aug 07, 2020

There are things you do that may take little thought, like text a friend, FaceTime a relative, or order something off Amazon. But, for many senior citizens, these actions are new.

"Technology is slowly opening up all these doors to different things. To watch YouTube videos, they’ve never seen anything like that," said Connie Nelson, franchise owner of Visiting Angels.

Nelson works with the elderly, who need assistance in their homes. She says introducing this generation that’s used to delayed gratification to technology is playing a huge role in helping them get through this pandemic.

"I think the biggest surprise for them is how instant it is. They’re used to a phone call, somebody has to answer. This is just instant. You text a grandchild and they text you immediately," said Nelson.

The technology Nelson’s at-home caregivers are teaching the senior citizens ranges from texting to ordering groceries from Alexa.

"They’re sitting there all day, waiting. They’re waiting for a phone call or they’re waiting for a visit, and sometimes they don’t come because everybody’s busy. But once you hand technology to them, the response is there," said Nelson.

And while most of this education is for entertainment purposes, Nelson says they’re walking patients through telemedicine in hopes they’ll continue using it in the future.

"I think at first they’re a little standoffish. Like, ‘No, he has to see me, touch me. He has to check my ears.’ And, if they can get past that, they won’t get the physical exam, but you’ll get that face-to-face where you can actually tell him what’s going on. It’s not going to replace all visits, but some it can," said Nelson.

Teaching them skills like FaceTime, even using social media like Facebook, is keeping them connected to those who may not be able to visit right now.

"Once they learn it, it’s so rewarding because they’re staying up to date with what’s going on in their loved ones’ lives," said Nelson.

Learning the new tech is helping to cure the loneliness that can come with the COVID-19 pandemic.