For the most part, technology serves to make our lives easier, keep us safer and enhance our overall quality of life. However, we must always remain diligent about the types of technology we use and how much information we give away when we use it.
For our aging population in particular, it’s easy to fall victim to the wrong types of technology. In certain circumstances, technology can create confusion, roadblocks and safety concerns. Take a look at three instances when technology could have a negative impact on our aging loved ones.
It creates more complication than convenience.
The use of technology for seniors can turn sour when it creates more complication than convenience. Technology should be used to streamline tasks and add efficiency, but that is not always the case. For example, there are apps available that allow seniors to track and manage their prescriptions. When it works, it’s wonderful! However, if your aging loved one is confused as to how to access this app and interpret its information, it can be more harmful than helpful. In this instance, simple handwritten notes would be better than asking someone to rely upon technology they can’t easily access and understand.
It requires private or personal information to be shared.
Technology can also be a risk to our aging population when it requires private or personal information to be shared. Apps that manage money or bank accounts are extremely susceptible to fraud or misuse. It’s an easy target for hackers and once that information is leaked it can cause a whole host of other problems and concerns.
And it’s not just professional hackers that you need to worry about. When you aging loved one stores their most valuable information in one space, it can be misused by the people who are closest to them who know how to access that information and misuse it. The key is to be sure you’re only using technology that has the highest safeguards, and also be sure it is protected with a strong password that only trustworthy people are able to access.
It exploits a users’ trust.
Finally, technology can be a risk to seniors when it aims to exploit trust. In general, the aging population can find it increasingly difficult to discern who they can and cannot trust. This is what often leads them to fall victim to internet and phone scams. Scams can also come in the form of other technology as well, like websites and apps. Your aging loved one may think they are playing a safe and harmless game on their iPad only to be presented with the request for their credit card information or social security number. If you’re not there to advise them otherwise, they may mistakenly hand over this confidential information into the hands of someone who aims to misuse it.
Most importantly, keep your aging loved one safe by frequently checking their technology use and assessing it for these possible risks. The more you know, the more you can prevent!