The Delicate Issue Of Taking Away A Senior’s Smartphone

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At first, Dr. Robert Zorowitz thought his 83-year-old mother was confused. She couldn’t remember passwords to accounts on her computer. She would call and say programs had stopped working.

Pew Research Center, 73% of adults 65 and older used the Internet in 2019, up from 43% in 2010. And 42% of older adults owned smartphones in 2017, the latest year for which data is available, up from 18% in 2013.

Already, some physicians are adapting to this new digital reality. At Johns Hopkins Medicine, Dr. Halima Amjad, an assistant professor of medicine, now asks older patients if they use a computer or smartphone and are having trouble such as forgetting passwords or getting locked out of accounts.

“If there’s a notable change in how someone is using technology,” she said, “we would proceed with a more in-depth cognitive evaluation.”

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[email protected], @judith_graham

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