Teaching old dogs new technology tricks

The old saying ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ is being undone by a variety of new technology ideas designed by the young to give the young-at-heart a new lease on life.

The over-50s don’t use their iPhone or Wii in the same way as Gen Yers, so there is a growing range of easy-to-use apps and devices aimed at older people to help smooth life’s bumps while keeping the brain and body active.

The Med Reminder has an obvious use, while apps for card games, scrabble and newspapers such as the Financial Times help less mobile people to enjoy their favourite activities.

When it comes to the hardware, iPads are the device du jour as the lightweight, large screen tablet nixes a keyboard in favor of prodding a touch screen, while the simple layout allows the less tech-savvy of all ages to access thousands of lifestyle-enhancing applications. Meanwhile, tablets that use the paper-like display e-ink are quickly catching up as they take the eye tension out of a relaxing read.

And then there are the computer games that actually encourage exercise. Everybody has heard about Wii crossing the generational divide from shoot-em-up games beloved by teenagers to virtual tennis and bowling enjoyed by the over 50s, but there are a plethora of options aimed at Gen Xers and Baby Boomers such as pedometers, heart rate and blood-oxygen monitors that are linked to apps which help set personal goals.

So while the generational divide between old and young will grow in how ‘lifestyle’ technology is used, the way range of options for older people is increasing and becoming easier to access.