12 Tips to Help Seniors Adjust to a Smart Home

Zac Amos
12 Tips to Help Seniors Adjust to a Smart Home
Illustration: © IoT For All

Helping seniors with technology can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. Seniors may initially feel wary of new smart home devices, but understanding will come much faster with the right encouragement. Let’s take a look at 12 tips for helping seniors adjust to a smart home.

Tips to Help with Adjustment

#1: Listen to Concerns

Although many seniors feel comfortable with a smart device, most have privacy concerns and questions about the aesthetics. They typically want to know how it would stand out in their home and if it would impact their day-to-day routine. Addressing these things can help them adjust.

#2: Education

Helping seniors with technology often involves teaching them the basics. Even though they may be used to tablets or computers, adjustment to a smart home can be a giant leap. There is often a learning curve for IoT.

#3: Utilize Experience

Most seniors have some experience with the internet. Over 83% of people between the ages of 65 to 74 go online. Even though they’re not digital natives, most understand the basics. They may be unable to master using complex devices, but they’ll likely figure out simple ones quickly. 

#4: Utilize Interests

IoT devices for the elderly often align with their hobbies or routines. For example, families prefer smart displays because they can talk with distant relatives. They may enjoy something that helps them keep in touch with others, especially if they live in a faraway retirement home. Ultimately, seniors will appreciate having something that interests them. 

#5: Options

Plenty of IoT devices for elderly people exist. Seniors are more likely to use smart devices to help them manage their health conditions remotely as time goes on. While they may not feel confident initially, options can help them get used to it. 

Even technology with the same function has various types. For example, there are multiple Bluetooth speakers with artificial intelligence assistants. Even though they all have the same abilities, choosing one can appeal to seniors. They’ll feel involved in the decision rather than forced into it.

#6: Provide Instructions

Providing clear instructions is one of the most important parts of helping seniors with technology. Their lack of understanding is often one of the biggest obstacles to adjustment. Simple guidelines for use or troubleshooting can help get them used to a smart home. They’ll be able to solve whatever problems they run into quickly, encouraging them to feel more positive. 

#7: Check in Routinely

This is essential. The period after installation is often the most important to understand someone’s opinion. They’re more likely to feel good about a smart home if they initially like using their new technology. Regularly asking what they think and if they’re running into issues can help get them on track to adjust properly.

#8: Start Small

Starting small gives seniors time to adjust. Fully upgrading to a smart home in one fell swoop may seem logical since it allows them to get used to everything at once, but that approach may overwhelm them. In the beginning, it is best to install only one or two devices. This will provide an easier time with new technology.

#9: Explain the Value

Many seniors don’t realize how valuable smart homes can be to them. They need to know the benefits to understand why it’s necessary.

Most IoT devices for elderly people can help them age in place, which is a common concern. Around 88% of people between the ages of 50 and 80 feel that staying in their homes as long as they can is important. Explaining how technology can increase their independence may make adjusting easier for them.

#10: Do the Set-Up

Usually, helping seniors with technology involves setting it up for them, including adjusting functions in addition to installation. For example, a third party would schedule the robot vacuum to clean particular parts of their home at certain times instead of simply turning it on. While people often like to experiment with the settings themselves, older adults will likely appreciate having those steps done before they interact with their new smart devices.

#11: Match Tastes

Aesthetics may not seem important, but they’re essential. Smart devices’ appearances usually appeal to younger people because they look modern or futuristic. Making them blend in instead can help seniors adjust. Hiding wires or using a custom case can help them feel more comfortable with the new technology.

#12: Focus on Ease of Use

Seniors are often more accepting of a smart home when it meets their needs. Usually, they only want simple additions that mesh well with their routine. Around 75% of people 55 or older feel that ease of use is their top priority when selecting an IoT device. 

Understanding possible obstacles is essential when helping seniors with technology. Simplifying the experience can increase their positive feelings. Plus, they’re more likely to adjust when they only have to make minor changes to their routine. 

Worth the Effort

Setting up IoT devices for seniors can take effort, but it’s often worth it to have peace of mind and a more accessible home. Walking seniors through the technology and giving them control over the experience can help with the adjustment to a new style of living.

Zac Amos
Zac Amos - Features Editor, ReHack
Zac Amos is the Features Editor at ReHack, where he writes about all things tech-related, from cybersecurity to AI to IoT.
Zac Amos is the Features Editor at ReHack, where he writes about all things tech-related, from cybersecurity to AI to IoT.