Assisting Seniors with Switch to Digital TV

The switch to digital television has finally arrived, with the ability to access high-definition TV, or HD, presenting crisp and clear images and more channels.  The Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Copps says this takes us from the dinosaur age to the digital age.

However, change is always more difficult after we have become accustomed to a regular routine and system.  What this means is that seniors are actually the last group to make the necessary changes to be able to receive digital television.  In addition, with age-related diseases and other natural effects of aging, such as vision and hearing loss, it is more difficult for seniors to learn how to use the new technology for their television.

Local television stations are reporting non-stop telephone calls from older adults who have the new digital boxes but have not connected them properly.

What can you do to help?  If you are a caregiver for a senior, make sure they are receiving their channels with their new digital converters in place and spend some time with them to show them what content the new channels offer for them.  My brother helped my grandma to convert to digital.  Living in the country, she has spent her entire life just watching NBC and CBS - no other channels.  We discovered that even though she now has access to hundreds of channels, she was still watching the same ones.  After showing her what she was missing, she is now taking in some new shows, although she did inform me that she has cooked for years and sees no need, at age 93, to watch the Food Network or any shows about cooking.  She cooked a big dinner every day for everyone who worked on the dairy farm so I understand.  But, as she is living alone, it helps to have a variety of television shows to choose from and there are even many shows with content providing exercises and other information for seniors to help them maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Other resources you can offer for seniors is to connect them to their local department on aging as many of the government funded senior centers have organized support to help seniors transfer to digital television.  Caregiverlist connects you with the department on aging resources in your state to help you find resources for senior loved ones.




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