Technology often seems like it’s aimed firmly at the young, with older people feeling left out and left behind by new advancements. However, there are actually lots of devices and services being developed—especially for the elderly—in order to help them stay healthy and independent for as long as possible. Here are just some of the ways in which technology can help senior citizens, whether it’s in their own home or at an assisted living facility.
Building social connections
Maintaining meaningful social connections is one of the most important factors for older people, as loneliness has been associated with a higher risk of health conditions such as stroke, depression, and dementia. Seniors with untreated hearing loss are less likely to participate in social activities (those who do not wear hearing aids for seniors)Yet, this can be difficult for those who live far from their family, or who have mobility problems that make socializing tricky. This is where technology can be a huge help. From email and instant messaging to video calls and group chats, connecting with others from home has never been easier. The current COVID-19 pandemic has sped up the development of these services, with community groups, places of worship, and other organizations all now increasing their online provision. So if your elderly relative is somewhat technophobic, see if you can teach them the basics and help them to widen their social network.
Improving physical health
Taking care of our physical health only gets more important as we age, and nowadays there are lots of devices, apps, and games we can use to boost our fitness. Even senior living facilities are getting in on the act, with companies such as Sentrics senior living solutions providing services that enable residents to follow along with age-appropriate exercise classes on their TV. Even simple wearable tech such as pedometers to track how many steps your elderly relatives takes in a day can help motivate them to become more active.
Safety is often one of the biggest concerns people have regarding their elderly relatives, and luckily technology can be a huge help here, too. For example, you can get emergency buttons to be worn around the neck in case of a fall, which your loved one can use to call for help if they can’t get up. Likewise, you can install a stairlift to help them move around the house more easily, put in voice-activated lights to avoid them tripping in the dark, or get memory aids that will remind them to take their medication.
Keeping the mind active
Just as we need to exercise the body to stay healthy, we also need to exercise the mind to keep our cognitive powers strong. Of course, there are plenty of pen-and-paper methods such as crossword puzzles that your relative can use, but technology is a great way to make it more fun. Brain-training games have become hugely popular in recent years as a way to keep the brain active, with many designed specifically for the elderly. Whether it’s on their smartphone or a handheld gaming device, it can be an enjoyable way for your loved one to boost their memory and brainpower.
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