Walk down any busy street and you will see a plethora of people engaged in their technology. Specifically, their mobile phones.
It’s sometimes surprising when we notice a number of these people plugged into cyberspace fall into the 70-80 age bracket.
It shouldn’t really be a shock to think of the so-called older generation being interested and invested in new tech. As age, as the whole, has little to do with abilities and interests.
However, there is a downside to this. It is the simple fact that there is a significant figure within these age parameters that take the completely opposite viewpoint and find the whole idea of technology abhorrent in the extreme.
If the technology in question was only related to mobile phones it wouldn’t be that big a deal. However, this problem goes much further and a lot deeper and includes why many people don’t wear their hearing aids.
Not wanting to continue learning
There is a group of old older people who shun new technologies and offer the reason as a blanket statement, saying they are too old to learn new things.
The idea behind this statement comes from a once common misconception. The misconception was the idea that brain cells died every single day and were never replaced. So, learning new things was deemed a young person’s place.
This myth is still prevalent in workplaces, where often people are retired in favor of younger people because they are seen to have the mental advantage.
The truth is very different because the decline in question, as regards the mental processes, in fact begins at twenty years of age. It is also only between five and fifteen percent. The reality is that the playing field is level. It just depends on the individual and has nothing at all to do with a person’s age.
Alzheimer’s disease symptoms can be delayed by years, just by applying education and knowledge. It seems that the more thinking we do, the healthier our brains become. So, it seems that we really can think ourselves better.
You can’t teach an old dog new tricks
This does not help those people who have this particular mindset. Because they have convinced themselves that they just have no means to acquire a new skill set, such as is needed for technological interaction.
I know of two people both over seventy who refuse to even carry and use a mobile phone, despite a number of serious health-related emergencies. One of them who has hearing loss, keeps his hearing aid shut away in a drawer because it seems annoying and too difficult to get used to.
The other person is a lady who loves to talk and will stop and chat to anyone. She has a keen mind and enjoys historical days out. She would adore the internet and all it offers, including being able to communicate with loved ones in different countries. Regardless, in her mind, like that of the gentleman, is firmly made up.
There are many of us that know how much benefit we gain from using our hearing aids. Imagine if you will just for a moment, shutting away your aids in a drawer and just getting along without them. I know I would struggle. Not only that, I would also go out less and not feel as comfortable and confident in social situations.
Read more: A year on my hearing loss journey
My hearings aids have been nothing short of liberating and I would never want to be without them, even for a day. Having hearing loss distances a person and cuts them off from hearing society. A simple phone call can be nothing short of a frightening experience. The alternative to speaking on the phone, if you are of the generation and mindset we have discussed is alienation and loss of control.
“My hearings aids have been nothing short of liberating and I would never want to be without them, even for a day.”
A serious emotional and social issue
Untreated hearing loss has serious emotional and social consequences for older persons, according to a major new study by The National Council on the Aging (NCOA). The study was conducted by the Seniors Research Group, an alliance between NCOA and Market Strategies, Inc.
This news shouldn’t really come as a surprise. If hearing loss goes untreated, especially in someone of advancing years, it can extremely life changing. Many older people live along and may have little or no contact with family or friends.
A hearing disability can weigh very heavy when it comes to communication and social interactions. According to the above study, untreated hearing loss can also lead to depression.
Therefore, it is surely vital that we all take the initiative and attempt to gently encourage a change from the old myths and help those around us to fully engage with technology and all it can achieve.
It is important to demonstrate to parents and grandparent, family friends and others, just how intelligent, aware and capable they really are. Sometimes it is all too easy for us to treat older people as though in a sense they are childlike, taking technical tasks away from them, but this helps nobody and achieves nothing.
It isn’t as though the problem has affected an entire generation because this is clearly not the case. I can attest to this, because of the number of older people going past clutching mobile phones and tablets and ignoring the world around them.
No, it is only certain people and this makes it all the more isolating for those who find themselves in this situation.
A call to arms
Look around you and think carefully. Is there anyone you know who would fit into this category. If the answer is yes, why not at least attempt a conversation on the subject. Who knows, you might just change a life.