Updated: Oct 6
By Rosanne Burke
Do you think today’s seniors are sitting in rocking chairs passing the hours in front of the television? Think again! You are more likely to find a senior in front of a computer researching a topic, connecting with a loved one or playing a game.
Many seniors and retirees have embraced technology and the benefits it can bring to their lives. There may be a variety of motivating factors at play such as the desire to connect with family or friends, the need to manage their health or a concern around home safety. The benefits can also be extended to family members.
Here are six tech tools that can make a difference for both you and a senior in your life:
A tablet or e-reader – Don’t know what to buy your mom or dad? A tablet makes a great gift for an older adult who is just learning how to use technology. Available in a variety of sizes and at different price points, it is an affordable way to introduce the benefits of technology. Purchase a device of your choice, and load it with a few apps like the Weather Network and local news channels. Have a little patience as they learn how to use it. They may wonder how they ever lived without it!
FaceTime or Skype – One of the main reasons a senior gets online is to connect with children or grandchildren. Where it is so common for people to work and travel abroad, video chats are the next best thing to seeing someone in person. Recorded video chats can also help ease anxiety in a person living with dementia. Seeing a familiar face and hearing a loved one’s voice may be enough to help a person to relax and feel safe. Stay in touch with regular visits with your parent even when you’re at a distance.
Medication apps or tools – Many older adults are on dozens of different medications and struggle to stay on schedule with all of them. There are a variety of apps available such as Medisafe that remind people to take their pills when they’re supposed to. There are also medication dispenser devices available for purchase such as PillDrill that remind you when to take your pills, track that you’ve taken them and notify loved ones. Rest assured that your parent is taking their medications and staying healthy.
Home safety devices – Fire and flood prevention are two common concerns for anyone living in their own home. Stove sensors can monitor motion in the area around a stove and shut off burners that are left unattended. Magiplug is an inexpensive bathtub and sink safety plug that uses a pressure activated system. When a water level reaches a certain depth, it releases excess water preventing a flood from occurring. Reduce the worry that your loved one will be in any danger.
Online puzzles and games – There are any number of websites and apps that offer hours of entertainment, and stimulate the brain at the same time. A daily crossword puzzle can be a fun activity for your loved one to do alone, or spend time together playing a favorite game.
Music – Almost everyone enjoys music of one kind or another, and extensive research has shown the beneficial effects that music has on quality of life. Make sure your loved one has access to all their favorite tunes and that the house is never quiet. An app such as Spotify has playlists available according to different decades and can provide endless hours of enjoyment.
Technology is forever changing and the challenge for you may be to keep the apps up to date and the devices in good working order! The investment of time and money on your part will be well worth the many benefits that you and your loved one will experience.
What technology has made a difference for a senior that you care for? We would love to hear from you.