People Over 65 – Left Behind and Left Out

People Over 65 – Left Behind and Left Out

When you are out today, spend some time observing the other people.

Notice how many of them have cell phones. Of those that do, how many of them are using them to talk to someone? How many are texting or reading something on their phones or doing something else with them?

Most probably not many using their phones will be talking to someone else.  The majority of people will be doing something else.

If you just happen to go to a restaurant where most of the patrons are families, look at individual tables and the people sitting at them.  How many people are actually talking to each other? How many are looking down at their phones and reading or typing.?

Even at quite a few of those tables where there is just a husband and wife, you probably will see there is very little conversation going on. Rather than talking to each other they will be doing something on their phones.

Now focus on those tables where there are older people.  Very few will have their cell phones out. Most will be talking to each other.

Isn’t this amazing?

Aren’t You Surprised by How Much Cell Phones Have Changed the Lives of People Here in This Country?

Today’s smartphones are being used for many different things.  In addition to communicating with others, people can use them to access the internet, listen to music and even watch movies.

The only people that are not using cell phones fully are older people and the older a person is, the further behind they are.

Here are some statistics you might find surprising.:

  • Only 69% of people 65 and older have cell phones.
  • 59% of those 65 to 69 with cell phones have smartphones. That drops to 49% of those between 70 and 74 years old, 31% of those in the 75 to 79 age bracket and 17% of those 80 and older.
  • Most 65 and older use their cell phones only to call and talk to people – family, relatives and friends. They normally don’t send text messages. Most don’t know how to listen to music on the them. They never thought of using them to watch a movie.

Why Has This Happened?

In most instances, they have not kept up with technology. It has passed them by. There have been many changes in technology since they retired. They are not aware of it and what it can do for them.

  • 65% of those over 65 don’t own computers.
  • Of those who do almost 50% have little confidence in their ability to do things on the internet. They need younger people to help them set their computers up and to show them how to do what they want.
  • Many have missed the fact that laptop commuters replaced desktop computers years ago. Then tablets came out and replaced laptops. Now people can do almost as much on their smartphones as they could do on tablets.

A second problem many over 65 face is these devices are not cheap. Most are retired and on fixed incomes. They cannot afford to buy a laptop, tablet or smartphone. If they want to get on the Internet or if they have a cell or smartphone, they have to pay separate monthly fees. Paying for these may prevent them from buying other things they need more.

All This Has Led to . . .

. . . many people 65 and older losing their ability to communicate with younger people including those in their own families as much as they desire. The older people prefer to talk on the phone while young people today don’t. They prefer to text.

There are social media platforms young people are using to communicate that older people aren’t. The prime ones are Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, Snapchat and Twitter.  On these they let their friends know what they’re doing and find out what’s happening in their friends lives.

Each person who uses Facebook, Instagram and Messenger spends an average of 50 minutes each day on them. If teenagers make phone calls at all, the average time they spend on a call is 4 minutes.

This move into Technology and Social Media has been led by teenagers and they are moving on to the newest and latest things to come on the market.

With Each Passing Day Those 65 and Older . . .

. . . are falling further and further behind. As technology advances, there are going to be less opportunities for them to communicate with people other than in person. Their loneliness will increase.

This communication gap that exists today between older and younger people is going to disappear. Parents today have had to keep up with the changes in technology and the ways their children communicate now. They have adapted to it. They know how to text and how to use social media to communicate with their children. As they age, they won’t have the same problem older people have today.

The only group we need to focus on right now is those 55 and older. We have to show them how to communicate with the younger people in their lives in the ways these younger people communicate with each other.

When they’re able to do this, they will be able to stay in touch as frequently as they desire. This will help the older people to avoid loneliness.

What Steps Can We Take to Help Those Over 55

Learn How to Use the Technology for This?

First, we need training classes for them to learn how to use the various programs their younger family members use regularly every day.   These training classes would be in things like texting and how to use Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, Snapchat and Twitter.

Help in how to listen to music and watch movies on their phones would also benefit these people.

Ideally these classes would be free of charge and held at high schools, community colleges, universities, libraries and senior centers. The best people to teach them would be people under 35.

Second, many of the people over 65 today are intimidated by technology.  Because of that, it takes them longer to learn. Their teachers will have to be patient and spend extra time with them to make sure they understand how to use what they are being taught. Some may need one on one follow-up for several weeks or months.

Third, ways have to be found to be able for older people to get smartphones at a low cost. They may be able to use second or third hand phones owners turn in when they are getting newer phones.

Fourth, research will have to be done to find the various low cost monthly plans available in a person’s area – plans which will fit in their budgets.

What’s the Pay-off?

Today’s older people will be able to communicate with their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren in the ways their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren communicate with each other. That will allow them to stay in touch with them more frequently.  It will also keep them from experiencing loneliness.