Tech Tips for Seniors to Stay Safe and Social
The baby boomer generation was born between 1946 and 1964. In the 1940s, radar was a new technology and electronic computers were a wartime innovation. Today, new technologies seem to emerge almost daily alongside improvements to existing technology. Luckily for baby boomers, these tech advances have played a large role in improving medical care, communication, socialization opportunities and entertainment options for aging adults.
How does Technology Affect the Elderly?
The last decade has seen an incredible emergence of technology, with special benefits to senior citizens. So, how exactly does this new technology affect the elderly? Among the many areas of improvements, a few stand out as especially notable:
The Internet of Things (IOT). The IOT is a connection of devices that allows the sharing of data. For the medical world, the Internet of Medical Things allows health professionals to connect and learn from one another. It has also enabled the remote monitoring of patients and equipment, as well as managing medication schedules and vital signs through remote access.
Global Positioning System (GPS) Services. Through the last 10 years, features of GPS technology have improved by leaps and bounds. This has been an important advancement for those caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, for example. Improved GPS can now help to locate a person who is lost or missing, as long as an enabled device is present on their person.
Cameras. According to The National Council of Aging (NCOA), nearly one in 10 Americans over the age of 60 faces the threat of some of kind abuse. With the improvements in camera technology, health professionals can track the movements of elderly patients, make sure they are safe in their living situations and even use sensors to monitor if a senior is able to get out of bed or take their medication.
Tech Tips for Adults Learning New Technology
Learning to access and utilize new technology can be intimidating at any age. According to a Lancaster University study, older adults have a greater fear of making a mistake, which makes them hesitant to try out new tech. However, once that hurdle is jumped, many seniors find technology to be a great source of security and entertainment. Here are some of the top ways seniors are interacting with, and enjoying, technology:
Podcasts for Seniors. A podcast is a digital audio file that is available on the Internet for downloading, typically available as a series. This form of learning and entertainment permits multi-tasking, allows seniors to connect with people around the world and can introduce listeners to new stories and perspectives. Based on rankings by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), the best podcasts for older adults include:
• Criminal. This podcast is an easy listen at home or on the go. True crime lovers will enjoy the 20-minute segments with a wide variety of subject matters. Listen to it at http://thisiscriminal.com.
• The Daily. This podcast takes a look at the day’s top news stories and provides context and analysis. It has an informal style and brings personalization to the news of the day. To listen, log on to https://www.nytimes.com/by/michael-barbaro.
• Planet Money. In this podcast, the team from NPR’s This American Life looks at the mechanics of our economy and our daily financial decisions. Tune in by visiting http://www.npr.org/podcasts/510289/planet-money.
• You Must Remember This. Ready to learn about the secrets and forgotten histories of Hollywood? Interested listeners can visit the website and select from nearly 100 classic stories of old Hollywood and enjoy 30-minute tales full of drama and intrigue. Listen at http://www.youmustrememberthispodcast.com/archive/.
Apps for Seniors. Phone applications, or apps, are an excellent example of a recent technological advancement with the ability to help seniors communicate, find entertainment and gain health benefits. While there are thousands of applications made for every type of device, here are some of the most popular apps for seniors age 50 and up:
• Skype. This app is available for Android and iOS. It makes video and audio calling over the internet easy and cost effective. This is a great way for seniors to keep in touch with loved ones.
• Pill Monitor. This application is free for iOS and helps manage daily medications by allowing seniors to set reminders by date and time. The app can even communicate with your doctor! For an Android option, try Medisafe Meds & Pill Monitor.
• iBP. Made for Android and iOS, this app allows for easy monitoring and documenting of blood pressure readings. Enter your BP into the application and a customizable, color-coded graph will display trends with special notes of readings that are too high.
• Words with Friends. With both free and paid versions available on both iOS and Android, this app allows users to play word games online with friends and loved ones.
• Lumosity. This app uses puzzles and brain teasers to keep your mind sharp. The app boasts that the games help to improve memory, problem-solving and attention span. There are both free and paid versions for iOS and Android.
• Old Time Radio 24. Get ready for a fun dose of nostalgia! This iOS application offers 35 stations of music and radio plays from the 1920s through the 1970s.
Other popular categories of apps for seniors include applications that provide exercise suggestions and tips, financial planning apps and apps for daily services, such as Uber or Lyft.
From helping older adults learn new technology to assisting with managing daily care and lifestyle choices, it is important for seniors and their families to have the necessary support. Communities like The Atriums are designed by experts to provide you with the help you need. Contact us today to learn more about the opportunities we offer.