A few weeks ago, our Smart Tech posting offered a range of techologies that can help us age better. Here are a few strategies to help you select the "right" tools for the job...
How much time have you spent trying to select the right cell phone, computer, or TV? Fortunately (or unfortunately), we have SO many options.
Most people start with the technology itself... a new cell phone, tablet, or big-screen TV. This approach can work, but sorting through the options can be confusing... and we sometimes end up with a tool that's not really what we want.
The challenge can be more daunting when we're trying to select a technology for someone else. Applying the PETT Framework can help us make smarter selections. An acronym, PETT stands for Person, Environment, Tasks, and Tools, and it works like this.
Person: Who's the technology for? What are the personal and technological capabilities of the person/s who will be using it? Does s/he have hearing or vision challenges or arthritis? Fear technology or love it? Are there cognitive challenges?
Environment: Where will the technology be used? If thinking about a new phone, for instance, is it mainly for home, away-from-home, or everywhere use?
Tasks: What task/s should the technology accomplish or enhance? Maybe the main focus is communication so the desired tool should be for talking, texting, emailing, Facebooking, etc. Tool options are different if the primary focus is entertainment or safety.
Tools: Given what is known about the person, the environment, and task/s, which tools best match the person's needs? At one extreme, the best communication device might be a "bells and whistles" cell; on the other, it might be a CapTel captioned phone for a homebody with hearing challenges.
Once the list is pared down, consider cost, reliability, and privacy. We often don't think about this last factor but when considering technologies like tracking devices and home monitoring systems, it's important (and very often necessary) to have the "beneficiary's" buy in.
For more information on the selection of technologies that can increase, maintain, or improve function, see the Center for Aging Services or Assistive Technology Industry Association websites. Happy shopping!!
*The PETT Framework is based on Joy Zebala's SETT Framework, created to help schools select appropriate assistive technologies for students.