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The Boomer

Tips for Boomers Dipping Their Toes Into the Tech Waters

By The BoomerFOXBusiness

The technology world is constantly evolving, making it hard for boomers to keep up with the latest changes, gadgets and trends. However, it is never too late for older baby boomers to start learning and benefit from all of tech advancements.

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Social networking sites, email and surfing the net helps older people stay connected with their family and communities regardless of their location, distance or mobility. In addition, research shows that seniors who adopt new skills as they age tend to enjoy richer levels of social acceptance, improve their health and confidence.

Associate Professor of Psychology T.J. McCalum, Ph.D, of Case Western Reserve University recently finished a study recently which looked at technology and socialization among senior and found that in just three months, seniors who are involved with technology have increased self-esteem and greater social interaction compared to seniors who without technology access.

I spoke to Sarah Hoit, CEO and co-founder of ConnectedLiving, a web-based social platform designed specifically for the senior living industry and asked her for some tips on how to help older boomers use new technology in 2013. Here is what she had to offer:

For the baby boomer with no internet experience, what would be the easiest way for them to begin the online experience?

Boomers just dipping their toes into the online world should think about starting out with a tablet. Tables are easy to use and provide mobility and flexibility. Boomers should also consider taking classes that introduce adults to technology, that way the experience becomes fun and social.

Boomers should keep in mind that becoming tech savvy will improve their lives by making it easier to communicate with people, learn and research new topics and interact socially on sites like Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.

 How can online technology help boomers that are dealing with depression?

The socialization that being online offers as well as being better connected with family and friends can make boomers feel better and more involved in life. Boomers can also access online support groups as well as spiritual resources so they don’t feel alone. There is also online music and art therapy that can help boomers battling depression.

With the increasing numbers of identity theft and scams, how can these seniors best protect their privacy?

Boomers have to be careful with their online profiles and how they use the internet, but shouldn’t let fear stop them from being online. It’s important for them to be informed about the latest scams and warnings by reading the latest updates on government sites and they should learn how to use safe and secure networks. It’s also important they learn how to identify spam and never open an email from a unfamiliar source.

ConnectedLiving offers safety courses from a certified ambassador—click here or call the CLN at 1-800-223-5080 to find a class near you.

What would you say to the "older" boomers that feel the internet is not relevant to them?

The internet is becoming a place for families and friends to stay connected—view photos of grandchildren, video chat and email with updates. The internet also offers numerous opportunities to learn new things, which will keep the mind active and stay current on news and trends .

Can you recommend to our senior internet users any web sites, apps or programs they should look into?

  • Google earth- visit places you’ve been or always wanted to go to
  • Links to online courses
  • Pandora or other music streaming, radio from your hometown is online
  • Podcasts
  • Kindle for book downloads- familiarity with using a tablet