Congratulations — you’ve entered the electronic age!! No one will think of you as an old fogey. You’re cool. You’re in the know.
You may not be “keeping up with the Kardashians” but you are keeping up with the way the world works today. And making a good solid effort at keeping up with the grandkids. But as a side note, let’s just put it out there right away – that will never happen. You’re sure to find that as soon as you pat yourself on the back for learning a new skill, there’ll be a new hurdle in the form of another app, another product or another trend. Just don’t give up the fight.
Clearly, we’re all in favor of seniors tackling technology. So if you haven’t started down this road, we strongly encourage you to give it a try. Start easy – with a cell phone or tablet. Move on to a smart phone and add some basic social media sites. Depending on your past experience and skill set, you could teach yourself, attend a class or buy yourself a book on how to master your new product or application. The Apple Store offers many free classes to those who want to learn more about using Apple products.
My sister just bought her first iPhone last week and she’s thrilled. While on a visit, we taught her the basics to get her started. And then, with only a little bit of embarrassment, she bought a book called iPhones for Seniors for Dummies! The title might not do much to boost your ego, but the book is right on target in terms of providing the simplest and most direct answer to any questions you may have about the iPhone.
But whether you’re new to this techno journey or already on your way, there are a few tips and reminders we feel compelled to share. If some of these sound silly or obvious – and some probably will – you may just be more tech savvy than you thought. But keep reading. If even one is new to you, you’ll be glad you’re now in the know.
Location, location, location.
Never tell would-be criminals that you’re going to be away from home. But it happens all the time on social media. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. You “check in” at the airport or a restaurant in a different city. You post a photo of the Eiffel Tower. You change your status to, “Trip of a lifetime – four weeks in Europe!” You want your friends to know where you are and admire the cools photos you’re taking along the way. But they aren’t the only ones who may see your posts. So do the bad guys. And when bad guys know you’ve left your home unattended for the month – or the weekend – bad things can happen. So be careful about what you post. And check your privacy settings to make sure they aren’t on “public” for the entire world to see.
This is really just an addendum to the location train-of-thought. It’s not a good idea to mention on social media that you’re home alone – especially if you’re sick, frail or, well, just an older adult. Criminals prefer easy targets and you don’t want to give them a shout-out that you may be alone and vulnerable.
Watch out for “phishing” scams arriving in your email. Scammers have hit the Internet in droves. Some ask you for money outright. But others are more devious – pretending to be a trusted company needing you to “update” your information. In short, don’t do it! If someone pretends to be your grandson needing emergency cash while on vacation, ask yourself why he doesn’t call mom and dad. And if it sounds even a little reasonable, watch out for telltale signs of a scam – such as any time the writer wants money to be sent immediately by Western Union or another money-gram service that can be “picked up” by anyone. It’s not legit. And when a company emails you wanting your social security number, password or account numbers, never click the links provided. Go directly to the company’s website and click on “my account” or “contact us” or call the number associated with your credit or debit card account. If updated information is truly needed, you can feel safe providing it there.
Just as family matters, so do family manners – and there’s a certain unspoken etiquette when it comes to friending, following or connecting with siblings, parents, kids, grandkids or any one of a million other long-lost (or even very close) relatives. Here’s the simple scoop.
- When posting a photo, don’t “tag” or attach the name of anyone without their permission. They may not want to be mentioned or may be embarrassed by the picture. (E.g. You may think it’s adorable to post an old photo of your now-18-year-old niece’s 18-month-old naked rear end — but she may not find it so amusing.)
- Don’t try to “friend” all of your teenage relatives. Facebook is a way for them to chat with friends and show their individuality. While it may all be very innocent and tasteful, some teens might feel uncomfortable with grandma and grandpa looking over their shoulder. Mention that you’ve joined Facebook and let them take the lead.
- If you are friends with your kids and grandkids, don’t immediately try to “friend” all of their friends. It can be awkward. And don’t comment on everything that they – or their friends — post. You may think that you’re showing interest or being friendly. But to them, it may come across as embarrassing or even creepy.
- You can always send a private message, email, text – or best of all – call a loved one to let them know how much you care. But in public? Some relatives may find this PDA embarrassing, so it’s best not to post, “I love you” as a comment!
So welcome to the 21st century! Technology can open up a whole new world. You’ll be fine as long as you watch out for bad guys and sensitive relatives!
Aston Gardens At The Courtyards is here to provide a range of senior living options for those ready to start the next chapter of their lives. Contact us today at 813.633.2378 to learn about our senior living programs, amenities, and floorplans.