We take technology for granted these days. It’s become so integrated into our lives that it’s hard to remember a time before smartphones and the Internet.
Nowadays you see five year olds playing games on tablets or watching shows, but it wasn’t always like that.
You’ve probably tried to patiently explain how to download a smartphone app or fix a gadget for your grandparents who struggle to keep up with all the latest tech updates.
However, many smart devices are designed to make our lives easier which is why seniors should keep up with technology because it can make their lives easier and safer.
We’re not saying that seniors need to create an Instagram account and start sharing photos, but rather learn how devices can benefit their health, safety, and ability to communicate with others.
Why Do Some Seniors Struggle With Technology?
There are many reasons why people struggle with technology including an inability to see its benefits. For seniors to learn a new skill they need to understand how it will be beneficial to them.
For example, lots of young people send text messages because they’re so used to it that they can shoot them off really fast and it saves calling someone.
Whereas it might take a senior a long time to compose a text message so they think that calling will just be quicker.
Another reason is that many older adults have a negative view of social media because they hear about all the impacts it has on younger people.
Humans are also averse to change. We come to appreciate routine and habit, so for someone who hasn’t grown up using a mobile phone, they can fear the unknown.
What Kind of Technology Is Beneficial for Seniors?
1. Tools for Less Clutter
Do you have a senior relative who is a bit of a hoarder and has lots of paper lying around? Show them how to write notes or to-do lists on their smartphone, tablet or computer.
Evernote is a great app that can be downloaded and used as a filing cabinet to keep everything organized and clutter free.
2. Gadgets for Reading
It can be difficult for seniors who have bad arthritis or other conditions to hold a large newspaper or turn the pages of a book.
There are lots of reading devices, such as Kindle which allows people to subscribe to their favorite newspaper and read it on the screen.
3. Devices for Health and Gardening
Any device that can count steps can really motivate a person to get up and about.
For seniors who might feel intimidated about going to the gym but want to work out, there are lots of free apps, videos, and exercise programs available online.
For seniors who are into gardening and want to learn more about plants or how-to guides, there is plenty of information available online.
4. Technology for Independent Living
A lot of older adults are opposed to the idea of living in an aged care facility and would rather live at home.
This can cause their families great anxiety because they are worried about their health and safety if something were to happen and no one was there to help them.
New technology is making life easier for seniors to live a safe and independent life at home.
Automatic pill dispensers can remind seniors to take their medication and smart sensors can be placed around a home that can learn the person’s daily routine.
A text message can be sent to a caregiver or family member to inform them if they don’t get out of bed that day or have a fall.
Smartwatches have become a popular device for seniors because they are discreet and don’t look like a medical device. There are now wearable devices that can detect falls in seniors and get them to help quickly.
Falls can be detrimental for older adults, not only because of physical injury but they can suffer from loss of self-confidence and worry about falling again.
For seniors living alone who have a fall, they may not be able to reach for a telephone so a smartwatch can potentially save their life.
Some companies have response centers, so if an older person falls they can speak to a person and tell them what has happened.
5. Technology for Preventing Fires
People who suffer from Alzheimer’s or other dementias can forget to turn off the stove or oven.
There are smart stoves and ovens now available that can automatically turn off if left unattended for a certain amount of time or will sound an alarm to tell the person to turn it off.
For people who suffer from memory loss, these devices can be a lifesaver.