Technology can be scary for older folks, but it doesn’t have to be
The smartphone can be used for more than checking Toto results.
I love my parents, but if I could change one thing about them, it would be to up their tech-savviness.
My mother is a fount of practical wisdom and good common sense. She taught me to read, how to ride a bike, and how to sing every ABBA song.
But she can’t figure out emails. I’ve tried to show her how, but it just doesn’t take. If you’ve ever received an email from my mother, that was actually written by me.
Oh no, the Internet
In addition to serving as her ghostwriter, I also have to help my mum with online shopping.
I have learned to fear the targeted Internet advertisement. It inevitably leads to an enthusiastic pitch on how this new product will change our lives, and another trip to the checkout page.
My father is far more comfortable with technology.
But I still have to remind him now and then how to reset his SingPass password, go through the government benefits he qualifies for, and warn him not to fall for suspicious “news” articles.
Circle of life
Everything is cyclical. Parents teach their kids, and kids grow up to teach their parents.
I fully expect that in the future, my own kids will shake their heads at my inability to properly program a neural transmitter powered by artificial intelligence…in the cloud.
Still, it would be nice if someone else could help teach my parents how to navigate this brave new world, as they approach their sixties.
For all its teething troubles, technology can help out, and not necessarily be a hindrance.
As long as your mum or dad knows how to work a smartphone, the Moments of Life app may end up being one of the most useful downloads they’ll ever make.
(Almost) everything you need in one app
A Smart Nation initiative developed by the Government Technology Agency, this nifty little app aims to make things a lot more convenient by bundling useful information and services on one digital platform.
It serves seniors 60 and above, and therefore gathers information that may benefit them.
For example, the section titled My Benefits alerts users to the special perks they enjoy as part of Singapore’s Merdeka Generation.
They range from government schemes like MediShield benefits to gym and swimming pool privileges
Another section helps users search for activities near their location, where they can take part in exercise and dance classes with other seniors.
With loneliness among the elderly a growing problem in Singapore, there’s nothing like working out with friends.
Discounts, beautiful discounts
But yet another section may be of the most interest to someone like my mum.
It informs users of available discounts.
Whether they’re looking to shop for groceries, taking a coding course or booking a getaway cruise, there are discounts and freebies galore.
It’s like a Merdeka Generation card on your phone
But if your parents still doubt the benefits of the download, it’s easy to explain.
Downloading the app means they get to have an electronic copy of their Merdeka Generation card.
If they don’t happen to have their MG card with them, they can flash their e-card instead and still have access to the benefits and discounts as described earlier.
The e-card will also be recognised at all clinics under the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS).
The app may not be able to turn your parents into tech-experts overnight, but it can help to answer some perennial questions that lie in the mind-boggling intersection of bureaucracy and technology.
At least, it should buy you a few moments of respite before they ask why their phone shut itself down yet again.
Top image by Adam Nieścioruk and Tiago Muraro via Unsplash.
This sponsored article by GovTech made the writer embrace the inevitable robot revolution.