There are so many things changing in our world today. Technology is everywhere, and social media is changing the way we communicate. While keeping up with all of these changes is easier for younger people, older Americans may find staying up-to-date more challenging. However, it is important for those in the 50+ age bracket to be understanding of today’s society. Doing so will help you get jobs, stay in touch with your family, and live a happy and healthy lifestyle overall.
Below, we have listed 22 things that you can do to stay current. Not everything on this list will apply to you – for example, you may already have a computer and watch TV. Our advice is to select the tasks that you can handle and work on completing a few at a time. Some of these tasks are harder than others, such as learning to use a smartphone, so be patient with yourself!
Social Media & Technology
- Buy a smartphone and learn how to use it. Smartphones are everywhere now. Owning one will allow you to do everything from text and call your family to receive discounts while shopping. | Recommended article: Best Smartphones for Seniors
- Learn to text. Speaking of texting, it has become one of the most popular forms of communication. While you may prefer to talk on the phone, learning how to text will probably encourage your children and grandchildren to contact you. | Recommended article: Texting for Seniors
- Download apps on your smartphone, and learn how to use them. The word “apps” is short for applications. Think of them as digital tools that will make life easier for you, whether you need to track your blood pressure or make a grocery list.
- Create at least one social media account, and check it regularly. Social media provides us with a great way to keep in contact with one another, especially if you live far from your family or friends. There are so many options to choose from – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn – and it is free to create an account on any social media platform! | Recommended article: 11 Reasons Why Seniors Should Care About Social Media
- Create an email address. Email is used to communicate what does not necessarily need to be said over the phone or sent via traditional mail. Sites such as Gmail and Yahoo will let you create a new email account for free.
- Purchase a computer. While smartphones are like mini computers, it is also useful to have a desktop computer or laptop. Not all websites and softwares are mobile friendly, and having a bigger screen means that you can make text bigger and easier to see. | Recommended article: Computers Designed Specifically for Seniors
- Learn to video chat. Video chatting is a wonderful way to keep in touch with others, and you may like it better than texting if you are the type of person who prefers communication by telephone. When you videochat, you can see the person that you are talking to on your computer or phone screen, and they can see you on theirs.
- Learn to use Google and YouTube. Nowadays, when someone is looking for information, they often search for it on Google or YouTube. Familiarize yourself with these websites, they can even help you accomplish some of the tasks on this list!
- Follow a blog. Bloggers often update their readers on the latest trends and events in their field. Find a blog on a topic that interests you (like ours!) and follow it. | Recommended article: Best Blogs for Senior
- Learn to use Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. If you want to get a job working in an office or substitute teaching, chances are you will need to know how to use Microsoft Office, and those working in other industries use these tools, too. Check with your local community college to see if they offer courses that teach you how to use these programs.
- Get WiFi. Laptops, tablets, and smartphones use WiFi to connect to the internet. Chances are, when your grandkids come to visit, they will want to know your WiFi password.
- Get involved in your local community. Staying current involves more than understanding technology, you need to be able to interact with others. Visit your local community center to see if they have any activities planned that interest you. | Recommended article: Serving the Cary Community
- Engage with today’s youth. One of the easiest ways to understand today’s culture is to spend some time with young people. Whether that means having dinner with your children, inviting your grandkids to visit, or volunteering at a local elementary school, find a way to connect with those of the younger generation.
- Watch TV, even if you only watch the local news. Television programs say a lot about today’s culture. Take the time to watch TV, even if you simply watch the evening news. | Recommended article: Simple Television Remotes for Designed for Seniors
- Be aware of the latest US dietary recommendations. Advancements in technology have changed more than the way we communicate. They have also allowed researchers to learn more about how we can stay healthy. | Recommended: Nutrition after 50
- Do yoga, Zumba, go for walks, or find another fitness activity that you enjoy. Exercise to keep your body and mind feeling great. It will make accomplishing your daily tasks and keeping up with your family easier for you.
- Upgrade to an electric toothbrush. One of the wonderful things about technology is that it makes life easier for us. Swapping your traditional toothbrush for an electric one will make cleaning your teeth a breeze!
- Use your resources to learn more about managing your money. Preparing for retirement and managing your finances once you enter retirement can be difficult. There are countless articles, videos, and apps that will help you do this so that you can spend less time worrying and more time enjoying life. | Recommended article: Spending Plans & Money Management for Seniors
- Swap out dentures for dental implants. Having to take your dentures in and out can be irritating, and having dentures limits the foods that you can eat. Visit a periodontist to find out if you are a candidate for dental implants. | Recommended article: Endosteal Dental Implants
- Try new foods and/or restaurants. From the cronut to sushi, there are tons of food trends out there. Indulge your tastebuds by trying something new! | Recommended article: 5 Local Restaurants/Bakeries That Make Us Smile
Know that you are not alone when it comes to struggling to understand all of the innovations and changes going on around you. In fact, the 2012 family movie Parental Guidance highlights some of the challenges that grandparents face. Here is the trailer for the movie, if you have not seen it:
We wish you the best of luck in trying to understand and stay connected to today’s culture and trends.
Remember to take care of your smile!