Is Facebook Portal Easy for the Elderly to Use?

Facebook Portal devices are used for video chatting via Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. Each device comes with a camera that can automatically zoom and track people’s movements.

Is Facebook Portal Easy for the Elderly to Use?

On release in 2018, the devices received mixed reviews. The more negative of which focused on Facebook’s privacy practices. Since then, however, the devices have proved popular. They’re marketed as video communication devices for the entire family. But how user-friendly are they when it comes to the elderly?

Ease of Use

This is the name of the game when it comes to the elderly using any modern device. No matter how cool, useful, and advanced, it won’t matter with far from tech-savvy older people. They want to be able to use a device in a simple fashion, for simple tasks.

In that respect, Facebook Portal is very down-to-earth. It’s a tablet-like device that comes with Facebook’s voice assistant and Amazon Alexa, making things very approachable for the elderly. Using a third-party platform, you can voice-activate Pandora and Spotify, Newsy and The Food Network, which the elderly will love.

To top things off, you don’t have to shuffle through your Facebook photos, as many old-timers do. When a Facebook Portal device is idle, it will perform a slideshow of your Facebook photos.

facebook portal easy to use for elderly

It’s Not a Smartphone and It’s Not a Tablet

Naturally, older people are squeamish when it comes to smart devices (which, to all intents and purposes, Facebook Portal is). The reason behind the seniors’ reluctance about using modern smart technology isn’t that the touch screen feels complicated. It’s because of the number of features on smartphones/tablets, full-stop. Even you yourself might struggle to find a particular app on your phone’s home screen from time to time.

Although Facebook Portal looks like a tablet, it isn’t one. Think about it. Why would Facebook try and reinvent the wheel and come up with their own tablet, with so many advanced models available on the market? In a way, therefore, Facebook Portal is well-suited to the elderly. It isn’t packed with a variety of features, but the features it brings to the table work brilliantly.

Although you have a variety of phone and tablet assistants that execute voice commands tremendously well, this often feels somewhat overwhelming to the elderly. And who can blame them! These days it’s all about Alexa-this, Cortana-that, Siri-this, and so on.

With Facebook Portal, you get your Alexa assistant and your Facebook assistant, to use according to your preference.

Setting Up Facebook Portal

If you thought that you’d have to go to your parents’ or grandparents’ house to set Facebook Portal up for them, think again. In the vast majority of cases, seniors will make setting this device up a seamless endeavor. You even get a little instructional card that explains how to sign up to every single account that Facebook Portal offers. Sure, the font could be a bit bigger, but that’s pretty much the only downside of setting up these devices.

Facebook Portal is Facebook, Spotify, and Alexa, all in one. It’s not the first device to offer these services in a single spot, but the communication between the three has never been smoother.

The Screen

Let’s not kid ourselves, screen sharpness plays an essential role with the elderly. Their eyesight isn’t what it used to be. They don’t want to have to deal with dull screens and small fonts. The Facebook Portal screen is remarkably sharp and the fonts are made big enough for everyone to read, without being comically large.

Facebook Portal Invites You to Use Video Calls

No matter how straightforward Skype and FaceTime are to operate, you won’t find many elderly people using them to make calls. It’s not that they’re distrustful of the video call feature, or that they don’t like it. On the contrary, old-timers love using the AR filters. It’s just that they’re so used to making regular, audio phone calls. For them, the video call feature is still too far-fetched.

However, Facebook Portal might change all of that. In no-time, you’ll start receiving video calls from your parents or grandparents. They’ll even start talking their generational peers into hopping aboard the Facebook Portal train!

But privacy concerns do still remain with Facebook.

The Privacy Issues

Facebook Portal uses Facebook Messenger and Facebook-owned WhatsApp to establish a video communication connection. Therefore, having a Facebook camera and microphone in a home may make a tech-savvy person feel a bit uncomfortable.

However, privacy isn’t something that the elderly should be too concerned with. Besides, the Facebook privacy issues have been addressed through communication encryptions. The elderly don’t tend to think of Facebook Portal devices as much more than advanced phones. If they can see their loved ones while talking to them, that’s all they’re worried about.

is facebook portal for elderly

But even if your dearly beloved seniors are concerned, Facebook has provided a solution. There’s an off-switch that disconnects the mic and camera. If a senior doesn’t trust the software switch, Facebook Portal devices are actually equipped with a cover – an actual lens cover. Use it to be certain that no one’s watching you.

Facebook Portal and the Elderly

At times, it almost seems as if Facebook Portal devices have been specifically tailored to cater to the needs of seniors. After all, these devices are great for video communication, which elderly family members seem to love.

Would you get a Facebook Portal device for your parents and/or grandparents? Do you think that it would be a waste of money? Let us know in the comments section below.

6 thoughts on “Is Facebook Portal Easy for the Elderly to Use?”

Teresa Griffith says:
My son set me up on Facebook years ago. He recently bought me a Portal.. I’m beginning to feel that his 3 year old son – my grandson – and I are becoming more au fait with its features than his poor ol’ daddy!
Lynnsey Miami says:
Uh, are we stereotyping older people again? Well Sonny, my skill set is still comfortable with these weird TV screens & little plastic rectangles! However, one reason to keep grandma/pa up to date is that they will fall too fall behind if their comfort level old gadgetry level is not replaced with newer tech. So, bring that electronic gift to teach them the basics. It’s a brain builder & skill enhancer. Now, ‘Tile find Clippie?’
GloryB says:
It’s not always a stereotype. Both my elderly mother and mother-in-law get overwhelmed even by seeing app icons. They just can’t wrap their heads around it – and god forbid they tap on some icon that takes them somewhere that they can’t back from. ‘Teaching the basics’ is tremendously difficult when they are struggling with dementia and short term memory loss, which is very real with our 2 seniors
K S says:
What if you have a cable box? How does the portal work with that without having to change from HDMI 1 to HDMI 2?
Joni Anderson says:
We purchased a portal for my mom and it’s been very difficult to set up. We still haven’t figured it out! My son took it home to work on it…
Martin says:
I read comments that it’s difficult to establish a Facebook account for seniors. Facebook keeps disabling them after 48 hours

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