6 Pieces of Technology Aging Seniors Need
These days over 50% of seniors are surfing the net, and just over one-third of seniors 65 years and older are actively participating in social media networks. A study, carried out by the Pew Institute shows that the “GI generation”—those 76 years and older—are not so much ‘in the game’ at 34% internet use but this doesn’t take away from the fact that seniors are attempting to stay on the cutting edge of technology and it’s reflected in the numbers, which have been steadily trending upwards over the last few years.
Researchers are finding that seniors who readily adapt to technology benefit from improved quality of life on both the social and health fronts.
Society is experiencing two transformative social trends. First is the remarkable increase in man’s lifespan which now averages 77 years with predictions for many more centenarians in the near future. Only a century ago, man’s longevity average topped off at 47 years!
The second trend is the willingness of seniors to adapt to new technology. People are growing older alongside a rapidly advancing tech market; those with the attitude to embrace it stand to gain immensely from spinoffs in the form of an easier lifestyle.
While seniors often feel intimidated or overwhelmed by new technology, many of the latest technological advancements are specifically designed to help enhance the lives of older adults. From the handy FitBit to the lifesaving 5Star Medical Alert Device these technological aids can help your loved one lead a healthier, longer and fuller life.
We all know how important exercise is to living well and living longer. Help your parent take a step in the right direction with this handy gadget, which does everything from measure daily steps to monitor sleep quality. Your loved one will enjoy the cheerful inspirational messages that come while they’re striding toward their goal, and you’ll enjoy the satisfaction that comes from knowing your loved one is leading a more active, healthy life. Check it out at www.fitbit.com.
While not all seniors have space for a desktop computer or the desire to lug around a laptop, the iPad offers the best of both worlds. According to AARP, 65 percent of people past the age of 75 don’t have computers. Considering the many benefits of social networking, as well as the brain-boosting power of many apps, this user-friendly, intuitive tablet is a more than a worthwhile investment.
Games on iPad's are also being used in assisted living communities and other health care settings to improve mental performances in the elderly and to slow down the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Studies show that simple online activities like surfing the net, reading online books, doing puzzles and playing games on interactive devices (Wii and Nintendo) lights up neural pathways in the brain and are great brain training activities.
A few years ago, Skype, a video application you used on cell phones, laptops and tablets, was an inovative and exciting way to see and talk with families and friends face-to-face, in real time. Now, there are even easier ways to stay connected with friends and family! Applications like FaceTime are build into all Apple products, like the iPad, iPhone or Macbook computer, and make it extremely easy for you to virtually see your loved one. You don't even need to download a new app! Developers have now made it just as easy to see your family and friends through FaceTime as it is to make a phone call. Being able to connect with family in different geographical locations allows for a sense of socialization and allows seniors to learn new technological skills. It helps them pass on their wisdom to future generations face-to-face rather than over the phone or by a letter/email.
Besides the interactive and stimulating benefits of iPads, there are many other perks of seniors having this peice of technology. Check out more information at www.apple.com/ipad
Seniors cell phone ownership numbers are increasing. About 69% of adults ages 65 and older report that they have a mobile phone, an increase from 57% in May 2010. Among those currently age 76 and older, 56% report owning a cell phone of some kind, up from 47% of this same demographich in 2010. Although this is just a mobile phone in general, specifically watching the smart phone trends is important as well.
Seniors are still shying away from the smart phone trend, but the numbers are slowly increasing. Smart phones have endless amounts of apps that can cater to each person’s interests and needs.
Considered by many to be the market’s best cell phone for seniors, this Samsung flip phone offers a light up keyboard with over sized numerals, large text, and standard “yes” and “no” buttons in lieu of confusing icons. Factor in voice dialing, a solid speaker phone, enhanced sound quality, and a variety of optional features including medication reminders, texting, and even a 24-hour live nurse service, and the Jitterbug becomes an invaluable tool for staying safe and connected. Check it out at www.greatcall.com/jitterbug.
Hearing loss has been shown to lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation. This simple headset helps improve quality of life for the hearing impaired by allowing them to hear the television without having to raise the volume. Compatible with most televisions, TV Ears are lightweight, clear and comfortable thanks to innovative Comply Foam TV Ears Tips. These can even be worn while reclining thanks to mindful design. Check it out at www.tvears.com
If your loved one is frustrated about missing visitors and telephone calls due to hearing loss, it’s time to look into the Wireless Chimes. This device triggers a chime and flashing built in strobe light whenever the phone or doorbell rings. Specifically designed for the hearing impaired, this device requires no wiring at all: it simply plugs into any wall socket or standard telephone outlet. The speaker is compact but mighty. Check it out at www.doorchime.com
5Star Medical Alert Device
Seniors can use this hand-held home monitoring device to send out alerts if an accident happens or if they feel threatened in any way while at home, alone. Such tech-aides can promote longer at-home stays for individuals not ready for assisted living settings.
The 5Star Medican alert GPS-enabled device is compact, discreet and a literal life-saver. In any unsafe or uncertain situation, your loved one can press a button and be connected to a certified 5Star Agent. Holding the button, meanwhile, connects directly to 9-1-1. Small enough to attach to a keychain or belt loop, this item is affordable -- particularly when you consider the piece of mind it delivers. Check it out at www.greatcall.com
Overall, seniors that are active with technology express increased socialization, decreased depression, opportunities for continued learning, education and brain health, a sense of purpose and gaining new skills as well as the opportunity to pass on wisdom to future generations. There are several ways for seniors to engage with technology and there are an increasing number of classes available to seniors that teach them how to use the Internet, social media sites and beyond.New technology for seniors can offer powerful tools for helping aging loved ones lead safer, fuller lives. While seniors are often hesitant to adopt new technology out of their fear of being unable to learn, be patient and positive and the benefits will soon show.
About Chelsea Sayegh
I started working as a Marketing Coordinator for United Methodist Homes in October of 2016. I work on public relations, website management and community planning for their award winning independent and assisted living communities. As a graduate of Ursinus College with a degree in Media and Communications and a passion for serving nonprofits, United Methodist Homes has become my home away from home. I spend my days working in a community filled with smiling faces, helpful hands and wonderful residents. I have a passion for assisting seniors and take great pride in being able to promote a company with such a positive mission and values. As an individual committed to learning and growing, I have jumped right into this exciting career!
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