Tech-savvy seniors; no it’s not an oxymoron. More seniors than ever are using technology. In fact, 73 percent of people over 65 use the Internet according to the Pew Research Center. Why? It makes life easier and more fun! After all, that’s what technology is all about: convenience and connection. If you haven’t taken to tech yet, don’t worry it’s much easier than you think to learn. Regardless, here are some cool tools that show you just how beneficial technology can be whether you’re at home or in independent senior living.
Tried and True Tech Tools
We can’t believe smartphones have been around long enough to be considered ‘tried and true’ but Pew Research Center reports that now 53 percent of people over 65 have them. Smartphones as well as tablets and e-readers are more convenient than ever for seniors to use with large screens, voice capabilities and the ability to navigate by touch.
While these devices are sort of the gateway to all things technology, some of their biggest advantages are keeping you connected through video chat apps such as FaceTime or Skype as well as social media like Facebook. You can also check email, news, weather, play games, share photos and download books or even purchase a subscription to a service like Audible to hear your favorite books. Essentially there’s an app for just about everything.
Transportation Made Easy
One of the biggest challenges for seniors who aren’t in independent senior living is often transportation. Whether it’s not being able to drive anymore, not wanting to or perhaps you’ve retired to a new city and don’t know your way around, technology can help you get to where you need to go.
Cars today are often outfitted with GPS navigation technology as is your smartphone. You can also download apps like Waze which, in addition to giving you the fastest route to a destination, warns of traffic issues and road construction along the way. Rideshare services like Lyft and Uber are also options so you don’t have to drive at all. Simply request a ride through their app and a driver will come pick you up!
Seniors are more active today than in generations past and wearable technology can help you stay that way. An AARP study found that 45 percent of participating adults 50 years and older had increased motivation for healthier living after six weeks of wearable activity or sleep tracker use, and 67 percent overall felt that such wearables were beneficial.
With wearable technology like Fitbit you can track your activity, sleep, food, weight and more, it’s a great way to see the results of all the wellness opportunities available in independent senior living in real time. The Apple Watch 4 takes it a step further with the ability to generate an ECG that you can share with caregivers and health providers to monitor your heart for irregularities. It also features advanced fall detection and will automatically call first responders and send a message to emergency contacts if it the wearer is immobile.
One of the greatest parts of retirement is less work. And while you may no longer have your day job, there are still plenty of chores to do if you’re still at home. Thanks to technology, even that’s easier now. Robotic vacuums like Roomba can take care of the cleaning for you using programmable features and sensors to move around furniture. Some models can even be programmed from an app on your smartphone to clean while you’re away.
Voice-activated assistants like Amazon Echo and Google Home can also help you make grocery lists, set reminders, play music, even turn on lights, appliances and the TV in some cases.
Apps like Tile can help you keep track of your keys, wallet and phone. Just download the app, attach a ’tile’ to the item you want to keep track of and if you lose it Tile will play a tune to help you find it! Where has that been all our lives?
The older you get the more you realize how important your independence is to you. Luckily technology can help you maintain it in some really ingenious ways.
The Medisafe app helps you keep track of your medications with personalized medication reminders, drug interaction warnings, refill reminders and even helps you communicate with your doctor with a medication list at the ready.
If you live alone, personal emergency response systems (PERS) are an ideal way to maintain independence while having also having a safety net just in case. These pendants and/or wristbands have a button that can be pressed during an emergency to alert first responders and family members. There are a multitude of companies that offer these but when selecting the one that’s right for you make sure it has GPS, fall detection and two-way communication capabilities for added peace of mind.
Learning new technology is easy too! You can ask your kids, grandkids and friends to help you get started. Your local senior center, public library, local university or local computer stores may offer learning resources as well. Also, keep an eye out for events at independent senior living communities like ours that can help you learn more about technology.
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