To say that technology has changed senior living is an understatement. Over the past few years, the mental, physical, and emotional health of seniors has experienced significant improvements due to mobile apps and new technologies. For instance, devices such as home security systems and medical alert systems have become more popular than ever.
According to a 2020 survey, 80% of respondents from the senior living industry reported an increase in tech spending to address health issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This demonstrates how the elderly population is benefitting from the convenience of developing technology, in terms of health monitoring, keeping fit, and staying connected during this global crisis.
For older adults, using modern technology can be intimidating for the first time. However, all you need is an internet connection and some assistance from your adult children to get you started. As soon as you get past the learning curve, you'll soon see how having access to the world wide web can make your life much easier.
Over the past several decades, individuals from different age groups have seen the perks of meeting new friends online and seniors are no exception. There are plenty of online communities for aging adults depending on your area of interest, whether it's fishing, golf, crafts, cooking, or travel. You might even be able to find a love interest on senior-specific dating sites if you're interested.
However, doing your research into the online community you're considering is the key before signing up. Avoid giving out your credit card information and social security number, since most reputable online communities won't ask for personal information like this. Make sure to also ask your friends or your local senior center for online groups to join in your area.
Although hearing aids have been around for a while, other technological advancements such as wearable devices can help boost awareness of senior health. Tech companies have seen the need to create medical alert systems such as smartwatches that help seniors monitor blood pressure and heart rate, sending alerts in case an anomaly is detected.
For seniors living alone in their own homes, an emergency fall alert can also help them call for aid on a mobile phone or other gadgets. Older adults are particularly vulnerable to slips or falls in bathrooms, stairs, or uneven ground. However, many smart devices now come equipped with 24/7 health monitoring and an SOS call button for emergency responders.
As they age, seniors will encounter increased physical limitations. This makes them more vulnerable to break-ins and attacks from burglars and other malicious parties. Smart home devices such as motion-activated security cameras and other home security systems can help keep elderly people safe in their own homes.
Other assistive devices for the home such as voice-activated assistants, motion sensing light fixtures, smart thermostats, robotic vacuum cleaners, are highly effective at helping seniors remain independent and counter the challenges of daily living. This can reduce the need for professional home care services for those on a limited budget.
Technology continues to help seniors live independently by enabling them to maintain physical fitness. With the pandemic, exercising in crowded settings still remains risky to those compromised immune systems. However, exercise should be a part of everyday life. The good news is that mobile applications and tablets allow seniors to access online classes that can keep them fit and healthy.
Whether it's Tai Chi, yoga, a dance class, or even a strength class with light weights, individuals of every age group can incorporate workout videos to boost balance, strength, and flexibility as they age. Portable speakers make it easy to listen to their favorite tracks and keep them motivated throughout their daily lives.
In addition to medical devices, mobile phones can help tech-savvy seniors stay entertained and cognitively challenged. Research shows how those suffering from Alzheimer's disease or dementia can boost brain fitness with puzzle games like Sudoku or video games that can fight memory loss. This can also be a good way to encourage bonding between seniors and younger members of the family.
In addition, technological advances have made it possible for seniors to access their favorite movies and shows with the click of a button. You can treat your loved ones by paying for their Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime subscription and give them the gift of endless entertainment on a big screen at home.
With the travel bans brought about by the pandemic, the use of communication technologies is more important than ever. In addition to your typical cell phone, baby boomers can also make use of video chat through platforms like Google Chat, Skype, Facebook Messenger, Viber, and WhatsApp to keep in touch with friends and family. Speaking face to face can be a lot more intimate than just hearing the voice of your loved one.
For seniors with mobility issues, family caregivers and members can teach them how to use tablets like the Apple iPad, Microsoft Surface, or Amazon Fire. With larger screens, they are more forgiving in terms of font and can also be made compatible with special voice commands through Google Assistant or Siri.
Remaining independent for seniors means caring for their mental health in addition to their physical health. Many senior care homes and independent living communities offer special programs that help with professional development, whether it's learning a new language, learning basic typing skills, or more advanced areas in accounting or starting an e-commerce store.
If you live in a nursing home or retirement community, check whether they hold group or individual classes that can help you learn new skills and strengthen your brain.
Finally, technology can also be used to make daily life much easier. For instance, online shopping allows you to compare different prices and products from the comfort of home. There are usually plenty of coupons to be found on websites like RetailMeNot.com to give you additional savings.
By explaining the value of technology and addressing security concerns, you can make the idea of using technology more approachable. It’s also important to take it slow and show patience as they learn how to navigate the world of technology; even writing down instructions can prove extremely helpful.
Approximately 70% of seniors are connected to the internet, using it to chat with friends and family, shop, plan for upcoming travels, and even have groceries and meals delivered.
Facebook has settings to make any user’s content private: you can set it up to make sure only certain people see your updates. It’s equally important that seniors practice self-censorship, as it can be a privacy risk to share every little thing on social media.
Technology such as medical alert systems and mobility assistance devices grant seniors high levels of independence, thereby allowing them to age in place while improving their overall quality of life.
Telehealth improves elderly care, both for the patients and their families. It helps keep loved ones updated and reduces the likelihood of unnecessary trips to the hospital. Telehealth also provides invaluable assistance to caregivers, who can easily request help from other medical professionals if needed.
Technology is an essential part of senior care and assisted living. By learning how to use technology even on a basic level, seniors can discover new hobbies, make new friends, and enrich their mental and physical fitness. With the incredible features of new technology, the potential for medical facilities, health professionals, and senior homes is limitless.
Read on to learn more about the various benefits of technology for senior citizens at Senior Strong!