Ipad or Knitting Needles: A Technological Struggle for the Elderly

This year I journeyed out on black Friday as shoppers pushed their way through Target’s electronics department. As I walked swiftly past it, I can tell you that the first item on my personal shopping list was definitely not an Ipad for grandma. Some may argue that change is good, but how much technological advancement is too much for our older generation?

Imagine for a moment that you need to contact your brother. You try to call him but your phone will not unlock. You try to send him a message but you can’t remember your password on Facebook. Frustrated, you take a break and turn on the television… but nothing happens. Now imagine these little struggles every time you seek contact or entertainment. That is exactly what a majority of our elderly face on a daily basis. Yesterday’s simplicity as a whole has vanished and our elderly population’s immediate access to news/entertainment seems to have gone with it.

A generation lucky enough to experience the world of television take shape has now watched electronic media as a whole skyrocket. But has that rocket blasted too far for their eyes to see? A simpler time not only exuded a simpler way of life but a simpler realm of entertainment. With different today’s “hip” values, concepts, and an explosion of electronic media, the young adults of yesterday are now facing a challenging battle with today’s electronic media. Daily, local newspapers dive deeper into the realm of far and few while remote control models continue to add to their thirty plus colored buttons. Small frustrations such as these may make even catching up with local news a daily battle for some older viewers.

Many companies strive to promote today’s electronics to the elderly by advertising their product’s ease of operation and helpful functions. Both of those may be great marketing tools for baby boomers but for the most part, today’s elderly could care less about Siri; finding it comical to talk to a robot telephone.

When pondering this problematic issue, the saying “You can bring a camel to water but you cant make it drink” kept coming to mind. But what exactly are we doing to lead our elderly into today’s technology? An increase in local public seminars at churches or libraries may help to increase awareness on topics such as the the benefits of the Internet or mobile phone usage. Incorporating technological education into familiar comfort zones with family or friends may not only encourage change but boost their interest.

Though some older adults may be happily set in their ways of snail mail, antique dial phones and record players, a portion try daily to achieve electronic success. A fair battle, no. However, in today’s ever changing and technologically advanced society, the devices that once served as mere entertainment have quickly become a necessity.

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