As our loved ones grow older, their brain continuously changes. As the brain changes, so do communication in older adults. This can present some serious challenges to those older adults and those caring for them. Thankfully, newer tech-based communication tools can help to bridge communication gaps. When the conversation is a struggle due to old age, debilitating illness, or recovery from a stroke, older adults may feel helpless in their ability to communicate effectively. Even making or receiving phone calls can become a tiresome task.
Still, even as our loved one’s age, clear, effective communication is crucial to most aspects of daily life. It is also vital for forging important social connections in old age. In this way, communication impairments can quickly lead to an older adult becoming frustrated, depressed, dependent, and lonely. A disconnect in communication can also become frustrating to family, friends, and care providers. As mentioned above, tech can help to ease these frustrations and aid in effective communication in older adults.
We’ve rounded up a few key communication tools that can grant communicative independence to older adults and spark conversation back into an elder’s life.
Tech-Savvy Communication Tools For Older Adults
One of the easiest and most cost-effective tech tools for communication is an online text to speech platforms. These platforms allow any adult to input text and have that text read aloud in a variety of human voices. Not only are these platforms free or low-cost, but many offer a variety of languages, dialects, voices, and download options for personal use.
With text to speech, adults who struggle to form words out loud may be able to effectively communicate by simply typing and allowing the text to speech technology to do the rest. In this way, they do not lose their voice completely. Additionally, online text to speech platforms can be accessed on any device, including tablets, laptops, and smartphones.
Voice Control Technology
Older adults who suffer from Parkinson’s or severe arthritis may not be able to use a keyboard and utilize online text to speech platforms. In this way, voice control technology may be a better fit. The technology can adapt to a person’s voice and decode any heavy accents or slurring. In this way, voice-activated apps such as Siri, Alexa, or Google may be paramount in granting seniors with speech issues a chance to let their voices or thoughts be heard.
Many modern tablets require a lot of motor skills in order to type. Additionally, the presence of too many words or numbers can be visually upsetting to a person who cannot process with ease. For older adults who need to communicate but cannot stand the overwhelming visual clutter of a smartphone or tablet, a touch-only tablet may be able to help.
These user-friendly tablets rely only on icons and pictures for simple navigation. Many even allow caregivers or loved ones to control the content, set up photo streams, download games, music, and movies. Additionally, older adults can use both texts to speech technology and voice control technology from the tablets themselves.
The Bottom Line
As our loved one’s age and communication become more blurred, technology can be a true asset and friend. Whether it is an online text to speech platform or a touch-only tablet, each of these cost-friendly tech novelties can help older adults to effectively communicate and gain back the freedom they once had.