Sunday, April 15, 2018

Technology and Ageing

I was giving a workshop on Technology and Seniors to a group of seniors in North Vancouver and in the audience were a number of grade 6 and 7 students who were taking part in an intergenerational project.  I started the workshop by talking about the fact that seniors can learn just as effectively as young people, it may take us longer to learn but we can learn. I saw a couple of the students look very surprised at this. However, the collective body of research clearly shows that creativity and learning have life-long potential. Given adequate time and support, seniors are able to learn and learn effectively. This, of course, includes learning new technologies

Adults who were productively engaged in learning new skills showed improvements in memory compared to those who engaged in social activities or non-demanding mental activities at home. People of all ages are able to learn new things including seniors. The following chart taken from Stats Canada Daily Briefings released 2017-11-14 shows the percentage of seniors in Canada who use any particular technology.

Seniors use desktops, Laptops and touchscreen tablets (iPads) because they have become easier to use. Tablets are quite easy to use due to their touchscreen for surfing the internet, chatting, or e-mails, there are few computers which give you the portability and ease of use for a relatively low price point.

Among 65- to 74-year-olds, 81% of us use the Internet. When we are searching seniors look for information on health. The most commonly researched item for us is health research. However, not all sources on the Internet are reliable. I tell my friends and others to be careful as to what you read on the Internet or Facebook or any social media site, especially health information.

The Internet is a great resource and a tool to help you to become more knowledgeable and increase awareness. However, always consult a healthcare professional for any health advice, including prior to engaging in physical activity.

I love learning and see technology as a great opportunity to expand one’s horizon. There are some great sites online for online (free or low cost) courses for seniors and mind improvement sites online. Here are some that I share when I give my workshop on Technology with seniors.
Digital Learning: Online Courses
Stanford University has joined forces with iTunes U, Apple’s downloadable education service
The Khan Academy is a global, not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing a world-class education to anyone, anywhere.
Coursera provides universal access to the world’s best education, partnering with top universities and organizations to offer courses online for a low fee. With online learning, you can study from anywhere.
Youtube in addition to general learning for example How to Hang a Picture, YouTube a has a channel dedicated to learning including University courses and general courses
Senior Planet has a list of free online courses for Seniors
Open Education Consortium, a global network of colleges and universities that provides free digital course materials.
OpenLearn website gives free access to both undergraduate and graduate-level course materials.

Digital Learning: Mind Games

Brain Aid Task manager app for people with cognitive "challenges"
 Elevate has more than 40 fun games to help you improve your cognitive skills. Selected as Apple’s App of the Year in 2014, Elevate is a free brain training app with more than 40. Detailed performance tracking is included and Elevate also features adaptive difficulty progression to ensure that you are always being challenged. Elevate is available on Android and iOS.
 Fit Brain Trainer offers more than 60 games and over 500 workout sessions to target the six major areas of the brain. You can create an account and start training with Fit Brains for free, but to unlock all the games, you'll need to pay a monthly subscription fee. If you pay month to month, Fit Brains is the pricier option at $19.95 a month. But if you pay for a year up front, it averages out to $8.33 a month and for a two-year subscription, you'll pay $6.25 a month. There's also a lifetime subscription option for $399.95
 Mind Games Offers over a dozen brain training exercises to challenge you daily, it focuses on a range of cognitive tasks including attention, basic arithmetic skills and mental flexibility. Offering over a dozen brain training exercises to challenge you.
 Dakim's Brain Fitness
You can try it for free but there is a charge after the free session.
 Brain Aid
Designed to "help individuals with executive function disorders complete more real-world tasks. It 6is particularly good for those with brain injuries who lose executive function - the ability to keep track of what you are doing minute-by-minute.  

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