Seniors are increasingly engaging with family and community using social media, which we believe will help them enjoy better health and lives as they age. This is especially true for those who choose to age in place, living independently in the homes of their choice.
Growing numbers of our senior loved ones are using mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, to stay connected to social media and the world around them. We think this is great because it lets them stay connected wherever they go rather than only when they’re at their home computer.
Those mobile devices, though, bring with them risks — including the potential to be left behind or even “walk away” when backs are turned. That’s true for all of us and not just seniors, though the memory loss many experience as they age can make older adults more susceptible to forgetting a mobile device that has been put down and walking away without it.
Securing smartphones and tablets is the subject of this Senior Care Corner Family Caregiver Video Tip, which can be viewed below.
Risks Associated with Lost Mobile Devices
We use our smartphones and tablets for a wide variety of activities — including banking, social networking, email and more — that can make it easy for thieves to drain our bank accounts and steal our identities if they get access to our devices. Unfortunately, we read stories of that happening all the time.
Even if we avoid storing login settings for key apps and websites, merely having access to our email accounts can be enough for others to reset passwords and use many websites as us.
Fortunately, there are simple steps we can take with most smartphones and tablets to protect the data and apps from unwelcome access and sometimes even recover the devices.
Smartphone & Tablet Security Setup Demonstration
In this Family Caregiver Video Tip, I walk through the steps to set up secure access for iPads and iPhones. I demonstrate where to find the settings, shows how to change them and explains some of the security / convenience tradeoffs inherent in the security settings.
We recognize there are many other mobile devices systems in addition to the iOS devices made by Apple and know the steps may be different for seniors and family members who have Android, Windows, Blackberry or other smartphones and tablets.
It’s our hope that understanding the need for security and seeing how easy it can be to add will prompt family caregivers to encourage senior loved ones to protect their mobile devices (and even show them how).
Of course, family caregivers’ devices might be able to use that layer of protection as well. After all, caregivers’ many priorities can make it easy to misplace or leave behind a smartphone — and leave no time for the mess a device in the wrong hands can create.
We want everyone to stay connected digitally, but to do so safely and securely!