When it comes to baby boomers and technology, for a generation who didn’t grow up with touchscreens and tiny computers in their pockets, the ever-changing landscape of technology can overwhelm. And there is a mindset out there, not only among older folks but all ages, that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
I believe this couldn’t be further from the truth. I have had students in their seventies, eighties, and nineties master their smartphone and walk away from my class with a new level of self-confidence. It’s clear to me from my work with those 50 to 90-year-olds that using today’s tech increases the quality of life. I firmly believe it is critical that baby boomers continue to push themselves to stay on top of technology, so they aren’t left in the dust to disappear.
Having a strong grasp of technology provides benefits in almost every aspect of life.
The world is connected digitally. People text instead of call. They send birthday greetings via Facebook instead of mailing a card. There is no way around it, the way we communicate has changed. For the Baby Boomer generation, technology provides a vital link to their kids and grandkids. If we are not texting or using social media, we will be missing out on a large part of the lives of our loved ones.
Just as it is important to keep your body healthy through proper nutrition and exercise, it is also critical to keep your brain healthy as you age.
Technology provides an unlimited opportunity to learn new things and stimulate your mind. In study after study, lifelong learning has shown amazing benefits to overall health. I talk more about this in a previous blog.
Technology is producing “smart” homes that make life easier for everyone, especially the aging baby boomer population. The evolution of smart home technologies will allow people to live independently longer. Limited mobility won’t be as much of an issue when you can turn on your lights with your voice. Safety won’t as much of a concern when you can tell Alexa or Siri to call for help. And not driving is not a big deal when you can summon a Lyft to take you wherever you want to go. Check out my blog on smart homes to learn more.
Another aspect of our everyday life that is increasingly reliant on technology is how we pay for things. “Online” money exchanges can be a scary concept for many, especially the Baby Boomer generation, but mobile payment is a growing phenomenon and here to stay. The leading mobile device companies have their version of a mobile wallet: Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Wallet. Apple Pay has reported a growth of one million new users per week! Paying our bills using a check, envelope and a stamp is likely not going to be an option much longer. Learning and understanding how mobile pay works now will help you stay in the loop and evolve without missing a step.
While the whole idea of paying for things virtually is frightening, once you learn the basics of how it works, why it is secure, how to stay safe, it will ease your mind, and the convenience will make life easier.
It’s no secret that baby boomers are working later in life than previous generations. Whether you have been with the same employer for the past 30 years or are starting a second career, technology is a critical part of any professional’s work life. There are so many ways that technology provides opportunities to increase productivity and in most workplaces, it is embedded in everyday tasks. Embracing and learning technology makes you more valuable and productive, not to mention self-confident.
Yes, technology changes fast and it may seem like it’s impossible to keep up or catch up, but it’s not. Trust me! You just need to be proactive by asking questions, taking classes, and continuing to learn. As Henry Ford said: “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”