Technology is incredible! Did you know that many hearing aids connect to a smartphone to help your overall experience? It can be very frustrating not to be able to hear on the phone and can lead to avoiding calls with family and friends. But don't let hearing loss get in the way, there are many things you can do when connecting your phone to your hearing aids.
Your hearing aids can essentially act as speakers for your phone, allowing you to listen to things like driving directions or music. You can answer phone calls, often with a simple touch in one ear, then enjoy an entire conversation without ever picking up your phone!
Once connected, you can use your phone to control many aspects of your hearing aids. Looking at your phone, you can control the volume of each ear, locate your hearing aids if they have been misplaced, and check the status of the battery life.
The possibilities are tremendous! The features available to you depend on the type of hearing aid and the type of smartphone. Be sure to talk to your audiologist or doctor to find out more about how your hearing aid and your smartphone can be used together to enhance your experience!
With the travel industry basically shut down, I have been immersing myself in other things, particularly focusing on what personally fills my bucket, helping seniors.
While facilitating zoom calls with seniors, I often talk about travel (see my blog post about Virtual Vacations) but also find myself giving little tutorials on how to make the most of a smartphone or tablet. Whether it's something my own kids are teaching me or something I am teaching my parents - there is always something new to learn when it comes to technology.
You may still be asking, "What does Tech Tip Tuesday have to do with Travel?" Besides being a fun alliteration, there is actually a lot of overlap between technology and travel services. In today's contactless world, travel companies are relying more heavily on apps and websites to keep customers informed as well as to enhance the customer experience. From checking in for a flight or hotel to making dining reservations to signing forms/documents, technology is increasingly showing up in the travel experience.
I have a perfect example, this happened way before covid was around...
I was doing a site inspection on a cruise ship, the Norwegian Encore. It was the inaugural sailing and my friends and I were the first people to be hosted onboard, very exciting! This particular ship has a race track where you can drive and race in a go kart. Lots of people were lined up to be among the first to experience the largest race track at sea. While standing in the crowd, my friends and I went online and made reservations. Sure enough, before long, the crew was calling out our names and we walked past all the other people, straight to the front of the line - we were literally the first guests to experience the new race track! No one understood why we got to go to the front of the line until we explained that we went on the app and made a reservation!
Today, these experiences are even more prevalent. Another example is the 'Medallian class' on Princess Cruise Lines, in which you use the app for all kinds of experiences such as contactless boarding, finding a member of your party, dining reservations, activity reservations and even getting food delivered directly to you! It won't be long before people without the skills to navigate the technology will be left behind.
So, in order to be sure my clients (and prospective clients!) are comfortable with their technology, I am offering some simple tips that can be used for everyday life as well as to enhance their travel experiences.
You are probably sick of it, we all are. Still staying home, still not seeing many people. In order to keep things in perspective, let me take you back to March 2020…
"I did it!" we heard her yell as her face popped up on the screen. After several reiterations of the directions over the phone, Ruth finally figured out how to log in to zoom - with camera and microphone! For someone that deemed herself, "tech challenged" it was no easy feat.
I loved witnessing the transformation - first fear, then frustration, any finally success! Ruth felt a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. Being able to participate on Zoom allowed her to stay in touch with friends during a time when being with others was impossible. But honestly, it was also a great feeling for me, to know that I had a small part in helping her achieve that goal.
Next came John. With a little help from his daughter, he showed up to the meeting with a huge smile and a background picture of Bermuda! Eventually it was everyone; one by one, my friends from Senior Source learned to login to a weekly zoom call to chat, share stories and just be there for one another.
Many great things came out of that experience. First and foremost was the ability to connect with others and feel a sense of community and belonging during such a difficult time. Likely, you too learned some new ways to connect online. Now that you have those skills, let's build on that and use the technology for some creative ways to keep us connected until we can be together again.
I am happy to share some of the fun ideas that have been helping me and my friends get through 2020 and beyond:
1. Scheduled Time Online
Having a scheduled date/time and knowing there are others waiting for you is important to keep you accountable (and dressed!) Whether you use zoom, facetime, google hangouts or any of the numerous apps available doesn't matter, and as long as you are staying connected with friends and family. Our chats are weekly but do whatever works for you. We have discussed so much including politics, movies, Netflix shows, sewing masks, swapping puzzles and even tips for growing an indoor garden!
2. Online Games
My original group met when I taught Mah Jongg at Senior Source of NJ. When we all finally got online, we shared websites to play Mah Jongg and - Viola! - a new online gaming group emerged! Four or five women met online and played Mah Jongg just like we had done in person!
I have played many other games on Zoom calls such as Bingo (we use a bingo generator website and I share my screen), Battleship if both parties have the physical game on hand, trivia, and I even participated in a scavenger hunt - running throughout the house to grab an item and get back to the screen first! These are just a few ideas we tried, if you have others, please tell me about it in the comments section below!
There are endless offerings for online workouts.
My friend Heather runs Walk Live Westchester where she guides people interested in walking to maintain or improve their health; if you are local, feel free to visit her website or Facebook group! If you are not in Westchester, check your local library or try SilverSneakers on Facebook.
Also, if you have a Fitbit or Apple watch or simply a phone that calculates your steps - there is probably a way for you to add friends and share the journey. It's always easier to stay motivated when sharing the experience with others.
4. Go for a Drive
If you are local to me you are probably in a suburb of NYC and you likely have a car to get around. Taking a scenic drive can really clear your head. We are so lucky to have incredibly beautiful landscapes at our fingertips. I have visited Harriman State Park, Bear Mountain, Liberty State Park, Dingmans Falls and taken some scenic trips through the city including a drive-by to see the tree in Rockefeller Plaza. If you've taken a drive, let me know where in the comments below!
5. Take a Virtual Vacation
So many museums, tourist boards, and destinations are offering free visits online. I hosted 4 weeks of virtual vacations with my group, visiting Greece, Italy, Hawaii and London - it was amazing! We shared stories, memories, and travel tips that took us away, even just for a little while. I am continuing to offer these virtual vacations, so if you want to learn more, let me know!
*I am scheduled to host another Virtual Vacation with the Ellenville Library on Wednesday, February 17, 2021 time tbd. If you would like more information so you can attend or if you are interested in hosting a virtual vacation for your own group, contact me!
6. Lastly, I leave you with this thought - Help Someone.
I promise, it feels just as good (if not better) to be the giver rather than the receiver.
And if you think you have nothing to give, think again.
Make a call, send a letter, whatever is available to you. I assure you the person on the receiving end will be grateful. I have benefitted from these readily available gestures so many times throughout the past year and it has given me so much pleasure to be the one to give it away as well.
Stay safe and well. I hope we can travel again soon and get back to experiencing new places and meeting people from different cultures. I will be here to help with all your travel needs when the time comes.
I love working with seniors! I thoroughly enjoy guiding clients through the planning process, from finding the right destination to organizing the logistics to hearing about the trip upon their return. I am a strong advocate for my clients when it comes to price, quality and service. Trust and building lasting relationships along with continuing education are all extremely important to my business.