Using assistive technologies to stay in touch with friends and family

by the Editor, SeniorInsider | Jun 02, 2011

The current array of assistive technologies is making it easier and easier to stay in touch with loved ones. After all, few things are more important in life than family and friends and there are lots of different ways that you can keep in touch. In this article, we will explore some of the more exciting options that are available for seniors. The Internet and technology revolutions of recent years are such that it is even possible to stay in touch for free or at a very low cost.

What are Assistive Technologies?


Assistive technologies are devices that assist people with various disabilities. This umbrella term covers a variety of products including everything from screen readers, crutches, wheelchairs and text-to-speech software to therapeutic seats.

Manufacturers realize that there are millions of seniors that the number of seniors will, of course, be growing dramatically in coming years. Knowing this, companies are looking to help seniors improve their quality of life. Of course, there are also assistive technologies that are designed to help seniors keep in touch.

Assistive Technologies Include Personal Emergency Response Systems


The personal emergency response system is a great example of one of the assistive technologies that offers important, even lifesaving, benefits. The personal emergency response system has electronic sensors that send out an alarm if there is any kind of problem. For seniors living alone, this application of assistive technology can offer a great deal of peace of mind. While not specifically geared towards keeping you in touch with friends in family, this is one that seniors might want to give a good long look.

Assistive Technologies Include Special Communication Devices


Other generally helpful assistive technologies include special phone systems for those who have hearing or vision problems. Something as simple as placing a phone call can be difficult for those with hearing problems. However, there are now numerous different devices for those with hearing and visual issues. There have been great strides in recent years where these technologies are concerned, so be sure that you investigate all of your options for assistive technologies.

Assistive Technologies Include Computers


The Internet has given birth to a wide range of assistive technologies. These new options offer seniors more options and flexibility than ever before for communicating with others and staying in touch. There are now special ergonomic keyboards, wrist rests and furniture that help seniors to be more comfortable while they are at the computer. If you live in a senior citizen facility, you might find that some of these devices are already integrated. Plus, there is special software that can help those with vision or hearing problems including screen readers, screen magnifiers, and speech-to-text software.

Other Options for Staying in Touch


Websites like Facebook, Twitter and others have been designed to be very easy to learn and use. Just as younger people are using these free and highly useful Internet tools for communication you can do the same. These tools are wonderful options for elderly activities like keeping in touch with your old friends and meeting new ones!

The variety of helpful assistive technology tools available on the Internet is quite impressive. Voice over the Internet such as Skype allows anyone to reach out and talk for free and for very inexpensive rates. If you are looking for ways to keep in touch with people around the country or around the world realize that there are free ways of doing so. In fact, you can even opt for video chat as well!


Seniors can put all of this technology to great use. Today, there are assistive technologies that will help you not just communicate, but also do so effectively, even if you have physical limitations.

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