Technology has made a significant impact in our world and has become the new norm for many things. As technology continues to adapt, it’s almost essential for people to adapt to it as well. It can even be extremely beneficial for senior citizens to learn.
One of the reasons why seniors should learn technology is that it can be a great source for them to connect socially with family and friends. It can also be a helpful tool daily. Either way, there are many technological systems that seniors should take advantage of starting today.
We will look at several popular reasons why seniors should learn technology and how it can improve their lives. This post will also look at the types of available technology and what might be best for a senior. Continue reading below to learn more.
It Can Help Them Live Independently
By empowering your favorite seniors to live healthy and safe, you are also helping them to continue to live more independently. This is important for seniors because they want to feel in control of their lives. Technology is a great resource for regularly keeping up with them and helping them continue a healthy lifestyle.
We have listed some technological influences that can assist seniors in continuing their independent nature.
Often, the older we get, the more medications we have to take, but technology can make this so much easier! With some apps, you can keep track of the daily medication you take, set reminders so you don’t forget to take them, and even include directions or other information that is specific to those medications.
Some apps offer more features like drug interaction checkers to prevent unsafe medication combinations (WebMD), family interaction so that other loved ones can keep track too (Medisafe), or even printable schedules (CareZone).
Keeping track of your health is resourceful for improving yourself and keeping doctors or caregivers up to date. Of course, everybody’s health conditions will be different, but an app or website can help with practically anything.
Some of the best apps for seniors to keep track of their health are:
- ShopWell is an app that will match food with each individual’s health needs. Your senior will be notified of healthy alternatives for some of their favorite foods. Fun fact: Research has found that foods high in antioxidants are the best for the elderly because they help reduce brain cell damage.
- iBP is another app that will help your favorite senior. This app is designed to monitor and document blood pressure. Based on the color-coded graph, your senior will know what range their blood pressure is in.
Without technology, healthcare facilities would not be as good as they are today. In fact, many devices are now being made for in the home, so seniors can monitor their own health as well—in between doctor’s visits, of course. We have listed some of the examples below.
Healthcare monitoring can also be completed through healthcare provider apps. Many healthcare facilities offer you access to them right from your cell phone, tablet, or computer. A few examples can include:
There are now online chat services, video conferences, medication requests, and profile viewing to keep up with all of your healthcare needs.
The power of online access has certainly changed, and with that, so have grocery services. With the use of technology, your senior can order groceries online and pick them up in curbside fashion, or some can even be brought directly to their house. A few popular stores that offer these services include:
Groceries aren’t the only things you can order either. Seniors can order most goods and necessities that are needed through several large chains such as Target, Walmart, or Meijers to get other things they need. They offer the same types of pickup and delivery as well. All your senior has to do is download the app or make an account online and go from there.
It Can Keep Them Safe
Safety is a primary concern for the elderly as they continue to age, especially when it comes to those that continue living at home. Data suggest that approximately 80 percent of seniors wish to stay in their own homes as they continue to age. So, technology can be a great resource for friends and family to have peace of mind while their senior is home alone.
Below, we have listed some popular senior-safe tech gear that is helpful for emergencies.
Personal Emergency Response System (PERS)
This is a safety device that can be worn by elderly individuals. To activate it, the wearer simply presses the button to signal an emergency. Three components come with this type of system: a radio transmitter, a console connected to your phone, and monitored calls from the emergency response center.
There are also different types of this system that can be found, such as a smartwatch or a lanyard. They all do the same thing by alerting emergency personnel to a problem.
Experts recommend considering three factors for choosing a medical alert system. Here are the factors that need to be considered:
- Home-based system (for landline or cellular network) vs. mobile system
- Monitored system by dispatcher vs. a non-monitored system
- Adding special features like fall-detection
Remote Heart Monitors
This wearable monitor collects real-time data of your senior’s coronary medical information, and in the case of an emergency, it sends the data to doctors and caregivers. There are even a few different types of monitors available to collect the data, including:
Choosing which one is the best will depend on what is most beneficial for your senior. All of them collect accurate data that will quickly respond to cardiac complications by sending data directly to you, other caregivers, or the doctors. This will also let everyone know almost exactly what is wrong.
We recommend this device specifically for individuals that might have dementia or Alzheimer’s. Elderly individuals that are prone to wandering and potentially getting lost will benefit from this type of device. You can monitor their location and send alerts in emergency situations. They also make it easier for emergency personnel to find your loved one.
There are different types of GPS systems available, including some in the form of a wristwatch or even some located in the sole of their shoes. You might consider the ActiveCare Personal Assistance Link, which features GPS tracking, emergency speed dial, and detection software. It will depend on your senior as to which would be best for them.
It might be scary thinking about your senior at home with little to no protection, so it might be beneficial to consider a home security system to watch over their house. Among the most popular services are SimpliSafe, Abode, Frontpoint, and Ring.
If you want to take the extra step, you can even look into indoor security, so there is extra safety. ADT has a wireless indoor security camera that fits the bill.
They Can Connect With Others
Elderly individuals’ health can be seriously affected by a number of factors, but loneliness and social isolation are two of the most significant factors. Both can even put seniors at a higher risk for several medical conditions.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), seniors with poor social relationships were 29 percent more at risk for heart disease than those with better socialization. They were also associated with higher rates of depression and anxiety. However, technology can be a link to community resources and distant family or friends.
We have listed a few resources that are available to seniors through the use of technology below.
Sometimes it can be difficult to get family and friends together in the same place. Still, with some of technology’s greatest advancements, there are now several applications that can be found to connect face-to-face (at least electronically) with your favorite people. This is an easy way for senior citizens to connect with their loved ones.
Although there are many video chatting applications, some of the most popular ones are:
- FaceTime: This is only available on Apple devices such as the iPhone or iPad. It already comes programmed on your Apple device, but it only works if both parties have one. It’s quick, easy, and free.
- Skype: Another very popular app, this video chat service, can be downloaded onto any smartphone, laptop, tablet, etc. It is free and easy to use, as well.
- Zoom: This service has become most popular recently, and it serves its purpose well. However, there are limitations to this service, and it might cost extra to use. Unlike FaceTime, Zoom can have several people on-screen at once. It is perfect for larger groups.
Sometimes, it’s easier to send a quick message through writing, whether it’s to avoid long conversations, continue to communicate on different schedules, or anything else. There are many ways that technology can help.
Some of the most common forms of written communication through technology include email services or instant text messages.
Suppose you have a senior that is more technologically advanced that loves sharing their thoughts and opinions. In that case, there are software applications such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs so they can write lengthier things like books or blog posts.
These network applications can be easily accessed through smartphones, tablets, or computers. They are a perfect way of sharing experiences and keeping in touch with those you care about. Different formats will be more beneficial, depending on what your senior prefers.
We will look at a few of the most popular social media networks and their unique features below.
- Facebook: This site is one of the easiest to use for seniors. After “friending” their favorite people and liking their favorite pages, your senior can be kept up to date on local, regional, and worldly happenings. They will be able to keep in touch with family and friends, share their experiences, post fun pictures, and so much more.
- Instagram: This site is known for posting pictures. So, if you have lots of them that you want to share, then this is the site for you.
- Twitter: This site is popular for sharing quick and to-the-point messages to followers. You will also be able to see what is trending worldwide, which will help you stay up to date on all of the important happenings.
It Can Be Engaging and Entertaining
Everybody needs fun sometimes, and in this day and age, technology is one of the most popular sources for it. Seniors will find many ways to stay entertained physically and mentally through several applications.
Below, we will discuss some of the most popular and beneficial ways for seniors to stay engaged through technology platforms.
This is a broad area, but to break it down, some games can benefit seniors both mentally and physically. Research has found that video games such as Wii Fit or Just Dance can improve the elderly’s range of motion, increase physical activity, and strengthen their bodies. The activity is low impact, which makes it safer and more efficient for the elderly.
Other video games, such as Mario Kart or World of Warcraft, will allow seniors to use their imagination while also utilizing critical thinking skills to get through various levels. They can play solo or multiplayer—both ways are lots of fun!
Games like Bejeweled or Tetris can improve the elderly’s cognitive functioning, spatial recognition, and visual acuity. There are plenty of other available games, but these are a select few that are very common among the senior population.
Most reading material has been made available through online platforms. This can include E-books (including the Kindle devices), news services, and much more. There are even resources for seniors who would love to read a good book but need assistance—this is where audiobooks, podcasts, and other resources come into play.
Reading has been shown to reduce stress, improve memory, and lower the risk of developing dementia or Alzheimers. Luckily, technology can give them these resources.
Movies and Shows
Do you know a senior that loves watching movies or shows? Well, without technology, they wouldn’t be able to see them.
It might come as a surprise to some, but the elderly population is active in the media processes. This is because television viewing tends to increase at the age of 55. Television even has benefits for the elderly because it offers a look into the world and is often felt like a shared experience throughout.
It Will Keep Them Productive
As your loved ones get older, it will get harder for them to keep physically and mentally active. Technology can help with keeping them engaged, which will help improve their overall health.
Below are just some examples of how technology can keep your loved ones productive.
Whether your loved one wants to learn another language, pick up a new hobby, or study new subjects, they can find an online class that will teach it in no time. There are plenty of sites that even offer classes for free. Some examples include:
Keeping Up to Date on Information
Several organizations for elderly individuals provide current and up-to-date information regarding insurance, health benefits, discounts, and many other helpful resources for seniors.
Some of the most popular sites include:
- American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)
- American Seniors Association (ASA)
- The Seniors Coalition (TSC)
- 60 Plus Association
The older you get, the harder it can be to focus on saving money; however, expenses tend to increase with older age. There are many apps and services that can help your loved ones to keep track of their money, whether it be their bank’s website and app or sources like Mint that keep track of the budget. Personal finance is a top priority.
The older your loved ones get, the more documentation, photos, or other material items they will want or need to save. Sites like Google Drive, Microsoft Outlook, or iCloud can hold many of these things safely online. Seniors can also obtain flash drives (the new form of a floppy disk) to keep track. Either way, technology has become important in saving essential things.
Technology has become an increasingly powerful tool in our society. Learning technology can be an advantage for everyone, but even more so for senior citizens. As they age, they will need more assistance. Technology usage can ease some of the burden off of them, their caregivers, and their doctors.
However, chances are, not all seniors will want to learn how to use technology, but providing them with the information in this article will increase their willingness to learn. The benefits associated with seniors learning technology are almost limitless.
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