5 Things To Teach Your Grandparents On Their Smartphones

July 26, 2021 3 min read

With the world shifting towards digitalisation, more and more day to day activities are moving online. This phenomenon has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in the pioneer generation getting left behind.

Instead of letting this digital transformation cause a divide between the different demographics, why not teach our elderly loved ones a few simple functions on their smartphones! Not only can this help to integrate them into society, it also empowers them to enjoy the benefits of technology that can serve as a form of entertainment to them. Additionally, they are great conversation starters and a fun way to bring the family together.

Here are 5 simple smartphone functions that you can teach them today!

1. Setting an Alarm or Timer

Being forgetful is a common factor of ageing. Instead of having to watch the clock and rely on their memory to complete day to day tasks, why not teach them how to set alarms and timers on their smartphones. This is especially useful for the elderly who like to cook, or even as small reminders for daily tasks such as taking medication.

2. WhatsApp Messaging

Using smartphones may be very foreign to the elderly and many of them also struggle to type messages due to age-related vision issues. Therefore, we can teach them the different features of WhatsApp such as voice messaging, sending stickers, pictures and videos. To them, talking is the easiest form of communication and hence many of them like to make calls to communicate with others. Sending voice messages are a great substitute for text messages, especially when we are unable to pick up calls.

Apart from voice messages, why not help your grandparents download some cute stickers to their WhatsApp keyboard! Stickers are a fun and engaging way to entertain our elderly loved ones, and these can even empower them to express their feelings easily. 

Another thing we can teach them is to send pictures and videos. This would be extremely useful if they need help with something, and the problem can be better communicated if they can show it visually. Additionally, you can use your personal WhatsApp account to send them some family photos for them to look through and reminiscence on when they are bored. Not only does this engage them, it also stimulates their mind to help them recall and reflect on their memories!

3. WhatsApp Video and Voice Calls

As mentioned above, voice calling is the most popular form of communication among older adults and hence we can teach them how to do so on WhatsApp. Additionally, why not take a step further and teach your grandparents video calling! WhatsApp even allows video calls that can be done in groups of up to 8 people.

Both voice and video calling is completely free on WhatsApp, allowing them to spend as much time as they want chit-chatting with their friends and family without worrying about the cost. Especially in the current pandemic where face-to-face interactions are limited, this is a great bonding activity for both the elderly and family to remain close despite the restrictions.

4. Scanning QR codes

From online payment methods to the mandatory TraceTogether application that we use everyday, QR codes are progressively being integrated into our everyday lives. Even in areas frequented by the older generation such as hawker centres, e-payment applications like PayLah!, PayNow and GrabPay are increasingly being used. Therefore, setting up and then teaching them how to scan QR codes can be another useful smartphone function to teach them.

However, do take note that they would need to have internet connection or mobile data to use these functions outdoors!

5. Create an Instagram account for them

This may seem silly, but creating an Instagram account for your grandparents is actually a very fun idea. Not only can they look back at their old photos, they can also browse the photo updates from their family and friends . At the same time, those family and friends will also be updated about how your grandparents are doing. The Instagram interface is very simple and therefore just letting them scroll through the Instagram feed and their own profile will keep them entertained.

You can check out Grandma Hong’s very own Instagram account @hotahmatan!

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