The world sometimes seems like a fast-paced and never-ending cycle of daily chores, appointments and social obligations. It can be easy to become lost in the day-to-day activities that concern us and lose track of things going on in the world around us. At one time, evening news programs and daily papers were enough to keep up with the outside world. But now, with more connectivity, more events are gaining exposure, and it’s good to be able to know what’s going on.
Thankfully, modern life is such that information is literally at our fingertips. With smartphones, tablets and even smart TVs, there’s a plethora of information just waiting to be accessed. Sometimes that information can seem like a firehose rather than a fountain, though, and it can be tough to know where to look to stay informed. Despite how overwhelming it might seem, there are some easy ways to stay on top of current events without much effort. Here are some tips to help seniors get started.
There’s no question that modern life is dominated by social media. People are constantly online, sharing information about their lives and daily activities. This has contributed to the flow of information available at any given time. As a result, what used to be referred to as the 24-hour news cycle has been replaced by near instantaneous information overload. Now, thanks to websites like Facebook, Twitter and even Instagram, information can be had in a constant stream in the palm of your hand.
More often than not, when events occur, there are people nearby. People witness these events and post the information to their social media accounts, where the information is shared and shared again. Because of this, social media is often the best place to get information as events unfold.
There are drawbacks, though. Misinformation can spread just as fast as the truth — if not faster. Be sure the information is coming from a source you trust and even then, consider doing a Google search to double check the information, especially before passing it on yourself.
Most smartphones have some kind of news app installed as one of the default applications. These apps serve as aggregators, collecting the news from all over and putting it conveniently into one app for easier browsing. Both Google and Apple have news service applications that perform this service and work to tailor the content specifically to your interests and from the sources you choose.
In addition, it’s likely that your favorite news source has an application you could download that provides the news to you. Even better, these apps will often send you notifications and alerts when news breaks, keeping you informed in real time if that's what you want.
If downloading applications isn’t something you’re into or you would prefer to get your news in a different way, subscribing to a news email list might be for you. Start with a preferred news source, such as a newspaper or local news channel that you trust and sign up for their email lists. Many times these email newsletters include daily or weekly summaries of all the major news you might have missed.
If news alone isn’t enough — if you want to hear opinion and discussions centered around current events — a podcast could be a good fit for you. For those unaware, a podcast is the equivalent of a radio show, except instead of being broadcast over the radio, they’re broadcast online. Podcasts are increasing in popularity, and you can find options discussing everything from unsolved crimes, sports and entertainment to all manner of current events.
Best of all, most podcasts are free. They’re available through native applications on Google and Apple devices as well as other applications such as Spotify. All you need to do is subscribe to one of the services that includes your preferred podcast and you’ll automatically get new episodes as soon as they are released.
You might find that some of these options are more your speed than others, and that’s fine. With so many ways of getting information, it’s perfectly acceptable to try out a few to find out which suits you and which doesn’t.
You’re also not required to pick any of these if none are the right fit, but exploring these might lead you to other ways to get the news on a schedule you like. Perhaps you can ask some of your fellow community members at Bethesda Gardens Monument to see if they’ve found any options that work for them. Regardless of what you choose, you at least have plenty of options for keeping up with current events.
Just remember to keep track of your own emotional and mental health. With so much news available, it can be easy to get caught up in the drama unfolding on the world stage. If you're feeling anxious or depressed about what you're seeing, step back and take a break. The news will be there when you're ready for it.