How Victoria seniors are embracing the latest tech

Tech support at a retirement home in Victoria has seniors listening to podcasts and using apps to boost their independence, learning and connections


It’s the start of a busy day at Amica Somerset House when a resident named Sally pauses by the front door of the senior living residence, sweater and walking poles in hand. “Hey Google,” she says to the voice-activated Google Home device installed nearby, “what’s the local weather forecast?” After the gadget replies back that rain is coming, Sally contemplates trading the poles for her umbrella.

Residents stay connected with Wi-Fi at every Amica residence, but residents are embracing it more than ever thanks to a "Tech Connections" campaign at our senior living community in Victoria. Supported by the Life Enrichment Team, seniors are learning how to use a variety of tech devices to help plan their day, learn something new or communicate with family. Seniors bring their own devices to a monthly tech support workshop, where they ask questions or participate in a themed learning session such as downloading apps or using a cloud service.

>“We’ve got a resident who has become very hard of hearing,” says Life Enrichment Coordinator Claire Liaros at the retirement home for seniors. “She’s learned to use her smartphone’s talk-to-text function to communicate with loved ones.” The resident’s family speak into her phone, where the words come up in text. She can then read the conversation, and vice versa. Learn more about technology that helps keep seniors safe.

Many residents have learned to access the residence’s daily activity calendar on their smartphones or tablets by downloading free calendar and assistant apps. Or they can get answers from the Google Home unit in the common area of the Victoria retirement residence offering independent living for seniors. Google Home is a voice-controlled Wi-Fi smart speaker that responds to voice commands, whether the seniors ask questions or request it to play music or make phone calls. One resident is so tech savvy she taught the residence’s General Manager how to use the device. “They ask for weather conditions and walking directions. Residents love it,” says Liaros.

Another resident who is visually impaired discovered the joy of podcasts when it became too difficult for her to read. Liaros set up the computer at the Victoria retirement community so that all residents can access podcasts if they don’t have their own tablet or smartphone. Now, a group of several residents meets weekly to discuss and share their favourite podcasts, including Ted Talks, Freakonomics and Good Job, Brain!, a quiz-type podcast which Liaros says is great for seniors with cognitive issues. The club is growing in popularity, with more residents discussing podcasts each week.

The tech campaign has residents hooked, and Liaros doesn’t see the interest waning anytime soon. “These innovations increase accessibility and their newfound interest in tech inspires me to keep learning too.”

Find out how residents are enjoying great amenities, activities, flexible dining and personalized service at Amica residences. Book a personal visit today.