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8 Ways to Help Your Grandparents Utilize Modern Technology

8 Ways to Help Your Grandparents Utilize Modern Technology

Internet and smartphones offer a great connectivity tool that can benefit the elderly, but many of them are uncomfortable utilizing these resources. Fortunately, you can help build a bridge between modern technology and their personal interests by showing them how to use these tools to improve their lives. Although some older individuals may initially be resistant, it is important to note that learning to embrace technology can have a big impact on their level of socialization, knowledge, and even their physical and mental health. That being said, you can use these eight tips to help your grandparents utilize modern technology.

1. Show Them How to Get Medical Assistance.

The medical world and technology have a great marriage, but all of the perks associated with online patient portals and tracking apps are lost to those who do not know how to use them. Sadly, a recent study indicated that most senior citizens are not using digital health resources. To help your loved one overcome this technological deficit, it is best to explain to them what the practical benefits are of contacting their physician online and turning to smartphone apps to manage their medical conditions.

For example, if they have high blood pressure they can use a wireless smartphone connection with a blood pressure cuff in order to track their daily results and report them to their doctor. Not only will this save a lot of time and money on office visits, but it could also end up saving their life.

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2. Meet Them at Their Interest Level

Everyone learns best when their personal interests are engaged. Therefore, if you truly want to get your grandparents to learn about modern technology, it is wise to show them how it ties into their favorite activities. Bingo games that you can play online are definitely a good way to get many older people into technology. After all, if they want to play bingo or learn about other games from the comfort of their home, they will no longer need to invite several people over. Much in the same way that Pokemon Go is getting formerly reclusive gamers to leave their homes and walk for several hours a day, online games can be a useful bridge between the elderly and technology.

3. Keep Everything Simple

Computers can be overwhelming for those without a lot of technological exposure. The good news is that many companies have begun focusing on providing computers and tablets that are geared toward seniors. Touchscreen tablets are a good example because they are larger than smartphones, yet they don’t require as much navigational know-how as a standard laptop or desktop.

By giving your older loved one a tablet or computer that was created with the elderly in mind, it will be easier for them to get used to everything without getting frustrated and overwhelmed. Each positive learning experience will make them feel more comfortable about exploring modern technology.

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4. Help Them Enroll in Local Classes.

Many communities offer free or low-cost computer classes for the elderly, which will enable your grandparents to learn with their peers. This added level of socialization is always a good thing, and the classes should be taught at a pace that the majority of older adults can keep up with. This will also remove the stress that they may feel when a younger family member attempts to teach them. After all, they may end up feeling discouraged if they are unable to learn the new information quickly enough to keep up with you. This factor should be removed in a senior computer class.

5. Engage Their Sense of Nostalgia.

One of the biggest things that attract the elderly to the internet is having the opportunity to see old photos and reconnect with lost family members and friends. Therefore, introducing them to their high school class Facebook group or a website of historical images from their hometown may be the perfect way to break through their technophobia. After they see how useful the computer and internet can be, they are likely to become interested in expanding their technical knowledge even further.

6. Show Them the Human Elements.

It is common for older individuals to decry technological advancements such as texting as impersonal. To get past this misconception, you will need to help your loved one focus on the human elements of modern technology. For instance, allow them to experience the joys of sending an email to a close friend or relative without waiting several weeks to get a reply via the mail service. This instant level of connection has inspired 81 percent of adults 75 or older to begin using email.

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Another great way to get them in touch with the human element is by teaching them about online video chatting or the iPhone’s FaceTime option. Enabling them to see the person they are speaking to will enhance the positive mental health benefits of socialization, and it is also likely to help them more quickly become interested in using this type of technology.

7. Teach Them about the Dangers of Online Scams

Although you won’t want to intimidate them into not using the internet or their new smartphone, it is still imperative to have a discussion with your grandparents or elderly parents about the risk of cybercrime. Older adults are more likely than other age groups to become the victim of identity theft or an online scam. Therefore, when you teach them how to get online, don’t neglect to give them some tips that can help protect them as they get used to modern technology. Keep in mind that if they do fall prey to a cybercriminal, your odds of getting them to go back online are going to dwindle. Also, most seniors are on a fixed income, so it is absolutely vital to protect their financial interests.

8. Show Them How to Volunteer Online

Is your elderly loved one a big proponent of giving back to the world? Perhaps they used to physically volunteer somewhere on a regular basis but are no longer able to comfortably do so. If that’s the case, they may love being given the opportunity to help others by going online. Everything from donating rice to those in need by playing a trivia game to teaching young students how to speak English via the Speaking Exchange can be accomplished online. This can give philanthropic seniors a great reason to learn about technology, and it will also help them stay constructive during their spare time.

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Ultimately, the best way to get anyone interested in new technology is by helping them see how it can positively impact their life. Therefore, whether they are a lifelong learner who will be enticed by free online courses or are a music lover who would get a lot of joy from Pandora and Spotify, you can show members of the older generation everything there is to love about embracing technology by meeting them halfway.

Featured photo credit: Beyond Access via flic.kr

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Holly Chavez

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Last Updated on October 16, 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

Why you can’t sleep through the night

The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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Stress

If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

Exposure to blue light before sleep time

We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

Eating close to bedtime

Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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Medical conditions

In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

The vicious sleep cycle

The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

You get a bad night’s sleep
–> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
–> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
–> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

    You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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    How to sleep better (throughout the night)

    To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

    1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

    What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

    Here are a few suggestions:

    • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
    • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
    • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
    • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
    • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

    2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

    What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

    • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
    • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
    • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
    • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

    3. Adjust your sleep temperature

    Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

    Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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    Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

    Sleep better form now on

    Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

    I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

    As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

    Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

    Reference

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