7 tech tips that make life easier as you get older
For some things its easier to just forego technology altogether—just because the technology exists doesn't mean you should use it. But for other things, small uses of technology can make a huge impact on your life.
So this article is going to be all about simplicity—small things you can do with minimal effort and cost that will make your life easier as you get older.
Let's get started, in no particular order.
01 Use smart lights
This is more simple than you think, and smart lights aren't a gimmick—it's one piece of technology that could actually save your life. It's no secret that falls are the number one cause of injury in seniors. It's a serious issue.
Having good lighting is one thing—being able to turn lights on easily is another. It does no good to walk in the dark on your way to an oddly placed light switch, or to have to awkwardly lean over to reach the lamp. Smart lights are simply bulbs that screw into the socket in the same way a regular bulb does, but it can be turned on with a smartphone app or with a voice command, and they can even follow a schedule.
You can get a 4-pack for about $25 now, so there's really no excuse anymore to let the dark be a reason for falling for people of any age.
02 Use your phone as a TV remote
We've all been there. After a long day you grab your favorite snack and finally sit down to watch your chosen program, and just when you fling your feet up and get comfortable, you realize it happened again as you stare at a black screen: "Hey honey! Where in the heck did you put the remote?".
Either the television remotes have become smaller or the couches have become larger, but none of that matters because your phone has become smarter. If you have a smartphone and a TV that was purchased in the last 5-years, chances are there's an easy, free way to control it using your phone.
Make no mistake, no touchscreen phone feels as good in the hand as a physical clicker with buttons, but its gets you by in a pinch instead of flipping over the couch, crawling on your hands and knees, and causing a divorce. Don't worry. Sooner or later, the remote will turn up—it always does, right?
03 Use fewer devices, but of better quality
Many senior households can get by just fine with one main device, and it's going to save a lot of trouble from having to setup, maintain, and replace multiple devices as time goes by. And for anybody, it's quite liberating to have one device that can do almost everything. That's why we frequently recommend 2-in-1 devices which we go into greater detail in our device buying guide.
If you're a two-person household, you're likely going to get more mileage out one device that costs $1,000 versus two devices that cost $500 each. And using different account logins can keep your digital life separate from others who share the same physical device.
A 2-in-1 is just as comfortable watching a movie as a tablet in bed as it would as a laptop on a desk or plugged into a monitor as a desktop workstation—and it's all the same device. Your level of proficiency with it is going to be the same regardless of the task you're doing. It doesn't get much more simple than that, and you're going to feel #TechEmpowered to do more.
04 Use accessibility settings
These settings can make the fonts larger, the contrast greater, and the audio louder automatically no matter what you're doing on the device. Android devices even have something called Easy Mode which builds in a much more simple layout, bigger icons, and larger font sizes.
05 Use your voice
Voice assistants can be hit or miss, and sometimes asking Siri, Alexa, Cortana or Google's assistant for help is harder than doing the task yourself. But it's worth giving it a shot, especially for basic tasks like "call this person", "take me to bank", or even better, "remind me to take my medication at 6pm every day".
And you can use your voice to do much more than ask a voice assistant for help. Text messaging on small, touch-sensitive screens can be a dexterity challenge for many people. The on-screen keyboard of your phone usually has a little microphone icon—give it a tap and start talking. It will translate your voice into text, and it's usually pretty accurate. Even without a dexterity challenge, it just seems faster than typing.
06 Use blue light filters
Different devices call it different things, but night light, night shift, blue light filter are all essentially the same thing—they automatically adjust the colors of your display to the warmer end of the spectrum either all the time or at a schedule you choose (i.e., sunset to sunrise). Especially as your eyes become more sensitive, blue light can impact sleep, and some studies show even stress levels.
07 Use a password manager
As mentioned in our guide how to protect yourself online, we explained that the average person has between 70 and 80 passwords. If you can remember that many passwords, then your probably sharing the same password, or at least slightly different variations of it.
With an encrypted password manager installed on your device, you only need to remember one and then it gives you access to all the other, hopefully strong passwords. It's usually not free, but these popular options offer a limited, free option and then start at a few bucks per month:
No extra bells or whistles, but incredibly easy to use.
All kinds of advanced stuff you may not use, but good to have.
The only open-source option, but it's been audited by 3rd parties.
The only one that offers a free VPN if you use public Wi-Fi a lot.