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7 Ways to Stay Tech-Savvy During the Second Half and Why It Computes

By Susanna Barton February 21, 2024 Lifestyle

Aging fearlessly in an ever-advancing modern world requires many inputs – a sensible diet, routine physical exercise, medical maintenance and smart financial planning, to name a few. But none of these efforts are successful without a command of technology, making efforts to stay on top of it one of the single most important applications adults can make to their second-half equation.

According to a 2023 AARP study, technology use by older Americans is trending. The study reported eight in 10 respondents said, “technology has become an integral part of their life” and that they use it to communicate with caregivers, family, and friends. Of those who responded, the report also showed:

  • 86% own a smartphone
  • 70% own a smart television
  • 59% use a tablet
  • 28% own a wearable device
  • 94% text
  • 88% email
  • 74% are on social media
  • 67% video chat
  • over 80% stream entertainment into their home.

Being technology-savvy during the senior experience also has financial, health and safety benefits. Technology is a part of making medical appointments, receiving health information, providing security to the home, paying bills, banking, investing, researching and planning major life events. And perhaps most importantly, technology is a key ingredient when it comes to connecting with and staying close to younger family members and friends – the folks who are essential to managing and supporting us senior adults during our Golden Years.

Technology is part of everything that is important in life!

So how does a smart older adult keep up with it all – especially when technology changes day to day, sometimes minute by minute? The short answer is – you don’t have to be an expert. You just have to be open to new ideas, learn a few new habits and maintain fluency in the technology resources that are aligned with your personal needs and uses, and those of your loved ones. Here are five suggestions on how to stay tech-savvy during the second half of life.

Poll Your Friends and Family About Communication and Social Media Resources They Use Regularly and Begin Your Self-Education in Those Spaces

Part of your technology education goal is to establish reliable connections with others. That begins by understanding what tools people in your community are using. According to the AARP study, “the most popular social media platforms among adults 50 and over are Facebook and YouTube. Use of Instagram increased from 24% in 2021 to 28% in 2022 among this age group; TikTok use also rose, from 10% to 15%. More than 80% engage in at least some form of streaming for entertainment, and 65% do so on a smart TV.”

Maybe it’s a similar course in your corner of the world. But you’ll never know until you ask. Once you have a clearer idea of where your people are gathering, communicating and being entertained online, learn what it will take to make room for yourself on those platforms.

Build a Presence on Social Media

The next step is to create accounts for yourself in these spaces. Begin with Facebook and Instagram. Facebook continues to be a popular platform for older adults and is a great place to keep up with birthdays, celebrate friends’ successes and share news and photos.

Instagram is more image-based and is a fun place for adults to sharpen their photo editing skills and visual design. The only way to navigate these platforms successfully is to tap, try and post your way through the process. There is no “doing it right” or best course protocol.

Fluency in these areas happens organically and with practice. Social media is more fun and effective when you make an effort to friend, connect and engage with others. Once you get the hang of it, you will build a comfort level with your activity and enjoy the relationships that begin flourishing on the line.

Find a Willing Teenager to Acclimate You to New Applications and Digital Resources and Keep You Abreast of New Trends

Teenagers are the secret sauce for success when it comes to cooking up a zesty technology education. They know it intimately and naturally. Find a patient young person who will help direct you on the ins and outs of tech resources.

Then practice what you learn and celebrate their assistance and your newfound awareness with some spending money or a treat they love. The double-whammy is you get to spend time and advance connections with someone you adore.

Discover What Communication Tools Work Best for You and Master Them – But Be Open to Learning Tools That Work Best for Others in Your Circle

Whether you’re a CB radio person or a landline gal, know how your communication tool works and how to integrate others into it. But don’t be a my-way-or-the-highway curmudgeon. While you may be proficient in your comms, it may not align at all with others in your circle and as such, you should be open to using other communication tools that work best for all.

Invest and Stay Current in Home Entertainment Technology and Digital News Sourcing

The internet, email, social media and digital entertainment programs are increasingly your only sources for entertainment, learning and news-sourcing so make sure you always know how to receive it, or you will be bored and misinformed and otherwise left out of life. This is not good for your cognition, mental health or social connections.

Attend Technology Classes – Virtual or In-Person – Offered by Local Libraries, Colleges and Small Businesses

Many colleges, libraries and nonprofit organizations offer technology courses that can help older adults stay current in technology resources and other applications. And most are free! Keep your eyes open on social media for new opportunities to learn.

Have a Positive and Fluid Attitude Toward Technology

What you learn about technology in one day will evolve and/or change completely the next. Expect this and keep moving.

Why does digital fluency compute and why should you be hip to it? Increasingly, technology connects and sustains all of us – in almost every area of life and in most every community around the world. Being afraid of or reluctant toward technology doesn’t do you or your loved ones any favors. Embracing new digital tools and integrating them into your life is empowering for everyone.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

How are you exploring and expanding your fluency in technology tools, social media and communication? Have you learned to navigate a new device or software lately? Where did you look for study resources, or did you ask someone to help you?

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One of the things I fear most in “old age” is loneliness. But reading this article is encouraging for on how to keep myself occupied. Thanks so much.


I was up to date with technology when I was working and continued to keep up with it after I retired. I own all of the devices listed except a Smart TV.


Good suggestions. Be cautious of how much time you spend on social media. Studies show that our happiness levels go down in proportion to how much time we spend on Facebook and other social media platforms. The less time you spend there, the higher your happiness quotient.

Susanna Barton

Agreed, good point!

Catherine Vance

A great article with good advice. I have a car I do no know how to “wire up” so my phone calls come out of the radio speaker. And yes, I’m getting a friend’s granddaughter to help me get the most out of my iphone.


The Author

Susanna Barton, a longtime writer in Jacksonville FL, is the founder of the Grand Plans online community, podcast, newsletter and blog. Her book Grand Plans: How to Mitigate Geri-Drama in 20 Easy Steps and its accompanying workbook, the Grand Planner, are available in local stores and on Amazon. For more information visit

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