Use of technology among the 65-and-older crowd is steadily on the rise as seniors become increasingly comfortable with the Internet. Not only is it a helpful tool for learning information and shopping online, but technology makes it easier to stay in touch with friends and family.

Here are 5 exciting tech tools that allow you to stay connected with those you love:

1. Email

Reconnect with old friends anywhere in the world with a free e-mail account. Connect with people you went to high school with, or re-ignite a friendship with an old flame. Send regular updates to your children, or become “pen” pals with your grandkids. E-mail makes it easy to communicate with your loved ones from afar. And with the price of the stamp always on the rise, e-mail can save you money (as well as a pesky trip to the post office).

Although e-mail is an incredibly convenient way to stay in touch with friends and family members, there are some precautions to keep in mind as you use this form of communication. For example, it’s better not to open an e-mail from someone you don’t know – it could be a scam or a computer virus. Never reply to a message where the sender is requesting money or personal information, or one saying you’ve won a prize. If you receive such a message from a friend or family member, call them to discuss the matter to ensure the e-mail was actually sent from them, and not someone else who may have gotten into their account.

2. Skype (or Facetime)

Known as “video call apps,” these options make face-to-face interaction with family members around the country easy and affordable. Unable to attend your out-of-town grandchild’s play, game, or concert? No problem. Ask a family member to Skype or Facetime the performance and you can watch it for free from the comfort of your own home.

3. Fitbit (or Apple Watch)

These “wearable fitness monitors” enable users to track steps and monitor calorie/activity/sleep information with the click of a button. Additionally, wearable fitness monitors allow users to engage in friendly competition with others and/or let caretakers monitor health and wellness from a distance. Log on to see how many steps you took or how long you exercised and compare it to your friends’ progress for additional motivation. Check out your sleep patterns to see how often you woke during the night.

4. Facebook (or social media)

Social media is no longer the exclusive domain of the 21-and-below crowd. A Pew Research Center study revealed that 7 in 10 Americans use social media to stay in touch with friends and family. Social media outlets (such as Facebook) allow users to easily share photos and video clips, as well as update friends and family on fun news or personal opinions.

Note: Always employ safe Internet practices and do not befriend or communicate with people you do not know. Never share personal details (such as financial or location information) with anyone online. Social media outlets for general personal purposes do not require you to enter credit card information or make payments of any kind. If someone is asking you for personal information – even someone you think you may know – reach out to a family member or caretaker before answering the question to be certain it is not a scammer.

5. Tablets (or iPads)

Forget bulky computers! Tablets or iPads make it easy to enjoy socialization, shopping, or gaming from the comfort of your favorite chair. With games promoting brain fitness and apps to monitor health, you can find almost anything you need or want via the notebook-sized tablet on your lap. Read books or talk to friends. Watch your go-to shows or enjoy your favorite music. With so many wonderful technology options available today, feeling isolated or lonely can finally and officially be kicked to the curb.

A Destination Retirement Community Near Boston

Looking for more ways to become socially engaged in retirement? We would love to introduce you to the variety of fun social activities we offer every day at The Overlook. Next time you’re in Charlton, Massachusetts, call us to schedule a tour. We’ll show you the many living and dining options we offer that are designed to help you enjoy an exceptional lifestyle in retirement.

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