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Senior Tech Corner: Limiting Distractions from Your Smartphone (Part 2)

At Corso Atlanta, we’re always looking for ways to help seniors live healthy lives in the modern world. We recently discussed three ways of limiting distractions from your smartphone, and this week, we’re featuring five more techniques you can use to gain control over your technology use:

Relocate the distractions.

Social media tends to be one of the most distracting and addicting things we can access through our phones. Often, simply seeing a colorful icon is all you need to get sucked into an hour of feed-surfing. To limit this effect, move your most distracting apps into folders and drag them away from your main home screen. The more work you have to do to access these apps, the less likely you’ll be to check them more often than necessary.

Showcase beneficial apps.

While many apps can be a distraction, others may help you reach your health and long-term goals. Place reading, writing, language learning, work email, or health monitoring apps on your home screen or in the dock/tray at the bottom of the screen to help you focus on the things that matter while keeping distracting apps out of sight.

Establish no-go phone zones.

Many experts agree that your bed is one of the worst places to regularly use your phone. One helpful tip is to make a rule to keep smartphones out of your bed, at least past a certain time. Smartphone screens emit blue light, which can discourage the production of sleep-inducing chemicals in the brain. Furthermore, the stimulation from consuming online content can make it difficult to calm your mind at bedtime. As we’ve discussed before, while getting adequate sleep can be challenging for seniors, it’s important to prioritize a healthful sleep schedule and habits.

Keep your distance.

One simple way of limiting your screen time is to put physical distance between yourself and your phone. According to a recent study published in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, your phone’s mere proximity to you (even if you’re not using it) can impair your cognitive performance. While it’s not clear why this seems to be the case, it’s apparent that something about having your phone physically nearby inhibits mental performance to some degree. If you use your phone as an alarm clock, try charging it across the room from your bed at night. In addition to helping with the temptation to use your phone in bed, it might help you get up and moving when you first wake up.

Invest in a smart speaker.  

Smart speakers, such as Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Google Home, and Apple’s HomePod, can allow you to do many of the tasks you do with your phone with just your voice. For straightforward questions like “What was the score of the Braves game last night?” or “How many kilometers are there in 87 miles?”, you can get quick answers that don’t require you to look at your phone. You can also use a smart speaker to play music, place online orders, and even control your lights and electronic devices. However, just like any other easy-to-use device, smart speakers may also have negative impacts. As they say: everything in moderation.

Smartphones are nothing short of amazing, which is perhaps why they’re so difficult to use in moderation. At Corso Atlanta, we want our residents (and seniors in general) to get as many benefits out of technology as possible, and it seems that healthy moderation is one of the best ways to do that. If you’re interested in learning more about assisted living, independent living, memory care, or any of the many programs and activities we offer, please contact Corso Atlanta for more information. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook for updates and to check back often for new blogs.