This Holiday, Check Tech Off Your List Posted on November 16, 2020November 19, 2020 With the current pandemic situation still relevant in our day-to-day lives, we can be confident that social distancing will affect how we connect with seniors this upcoming holiday season. One social solution is a technology gift that will allow your loved one to interact in a fun and meaningful way. There are so many options than ever before and choosing the perfect gift can be challenging. However, by carefully selecting items that your loved one will be comfortable with, you can make this Christmas one to remember despite temporary social norms. Smart Speakers A smart speaker (Amazon Alexa, Facebook Portal, and Google Home) can be a great choice for seniors to make calls, control their environment, listen to music and engage in many ways. Keep in mind that these devices require Wi-Fi in the home. If you choose any of these great speakers, it may be helpful for a family member to set up the account and manage the app so your loved one can simply enjoy everything voice commands have to offer. Tablets Tablets are another gift option. These allow for face-to-face calls and virtual visits using platforms like FaceTime, Google Duo and Zoom. In addition to the various tablet options, you may want to choose a specially designed ‘senior-friendly’ option like GrandPad (www.gandpad.net). Again, these devices require Wi-Fi, and your special senior may need support when it comes to downloading apps as well as initiating and answering calls. Traditional Phones Not everyone is interested in connecting using higher-technology options. A good, quality call on a conventional telephone can also brighten your loved one’s day. For seniors that are hearing impaired, close-captioned telephones are available at no cost. Clear Captions and CapTel are two companies that provide this service; for more information, visit www.clearcaptions.com or www.captel.com. Amplified Telephones An amplified telephone with large buttons can also improve telephone conversations. One example is the Clarity Alto; it features a ‘boost’ button with amplified volume up to 53 decibels and ringer volume to 100 decibels, as well as a visual alert for incoming calls. Memory Picture Phones Lastly, for those who those who see numbers as too confusing, there is a picture phone that allows you to program numbers and place a photo over the number key for one-button dialing. This phone also offers amplification and a visual ring alert. Christmas 2020 is sure to offer challenges we haven’t faced before. But you don’t have to allow these times to limit your communication with older loved ones. By carefully selecting an option most appropriate to their interest and skill level, you can easily connect with them as often as you’d like. If you would like more information on any of the items in this article, please feel free to contact our SilverSmart™ Coordinator, Sharon Whalen, at (724) 452-3619 or Sharon.Whalen@lutheranseniorlife.org.