Believe it or not seniors are using the internet and social media like never before. Technology does not end at internet use, there are cell phones, tablets, computers and many more and the use of technology is increasing for those in the 65 plus age range. By 2020 the percentage of elderly people aged 60+ years should reach 30% out of the total number of population living in developed countries. There are a lot of benefits that come from the use of technology by seniors. Seniors can use social media such as Facebook, twitter and Instagram. An example would be Facebook lets seniors connect with their family members and friends. They are able to send messages, see pictures and engage in chats with those they love and care about. This can help the senior stay connected and feel involved in their loved ones lives adding to their sense of meaning and purpose. They can also use email which is the highest use of technology for seniors. Email is an easy application to set up and use and is not as complex a process to set up compared to creating profiles and explaining social media sites. Email also allows seniors to engage in conversation with their loved ones. In the past many seniors sent personalized letters and cards to loved ones but now they can email which is a lot simpler to do. Seniors can use skype it is a nice program that allows the users to video chat with each other from any location that has internet access. So now grandparents can see their grandkids via a computer screen whenever they want. Seniors can video chat with friends, their children or any family it is always nice to see someone’s face when speaking to them. Some families are not all geographically in the same state or city so this allows seniors to connect with their loved ones. Seniors can also use cell phones or smart phones to make phone calls, text, and use all kinds of apps that they can track things with. They can use the calendar feature for doctors’ appointments, alarms for medication reminders and can always have the location turned on so they can be found at any time. There an endless amount of opportunities to take their phone and really utilize it. Seniors can also use iPads, tablets, kindles and nooks. Having a tablet allows for seniors to access the internet, engage with their family and friends, play games, read the news, purchase and read books, and even search for apps that could meet their individual needs. It is an easy option that allows for a lot of fun and a great learning tool. There are a lot of benefits for seniors but there are 4 great benefits:
- Socialization: Modern technology has afforded us is the ability to communicate and socialize with the most minimal amount of effort needed in return. Tablets and smart phones offer seniors a more programmed personal approach, such as displaying larger buttons, icons and brighter screens for the visually impaired, which would allow the option to have texts, emails, and other documents read out loud by the device instead of having to squint over tiny words. Texting, social media, and video chat apps are inexpensive, if not free, allowing seniors to easily keep in contact with their friends and loved ones even if they aren’t able to leave their homes regularly
- Safety: Advancements in technology have made it so that no senior has to fear being alone in their own home, and no family member has to constantly worry about allowing their loved one to do so. Personal monitoring devices can do everything from monitoring the wearer’s motion, sleep, location, and patterns so that an alert can be sent to family members if a change is noticed, this allows the senior to call for help with the simple press of a button. There are also several wireless home security systems that link up to apps so that family members receive notifications if doors or windows aren’t locked, or if an intruder is detected in the senior’s home. Even if a family member is across the country, they can still monitor and protect their loved one.
- Entertainment: Along with numerous game apps that could be added to a senior’s smart phone or tablet, there are several high quality movie and TV streaming services that are quite easy to use and can be streamed to phones, tablets, or TVs to pass the time and offer entertainment. With the newer introduction of Smart TVs, it’s now possible to purchase a television for a senior that has streaming service apps already installed into them so that seniors can easily access all of their favorite shows and films with one easy-to-use remote.
- Convenience: Thanks to modern technology, it’s a breeze to shop for your groceries or other desired items online or through an app and they can be delivered to your own front door. There are several services that allow seniors to simply press a button if they require a refill of anything from paper towels to peanut butter, and the items will be dropped at the senior’s home. No shoes, no car, and no assistance required. Technology also allows for several other apps, such as quick transportation services, prescription refills, and meal delivery services.
- Keeping the mind active and engaged: The internet offers countless ways to help keep the mind active and engaged it could be through learning a new language, playing a game or conducting genealogy research. Seniors can take learning courses online or even read books online. Studies have shown that continuously challenging the mind can help prevent cognitive decline. There are apps for smart phones and tablets as well. There are brain games at sites like AARP, luminosity and language learning at Rosetta stone.
Overall seniors that are active with technology express increased socialization, decreased depression, opportunities for learning something new, education and brain health, a sense of purpose and gaining new skills. There are several ways for seniors to engage with technology and there are even classes that they can take to teach them how to use the internet, social media sites and beyond. A great way to find a class is to check out a senior center that is in your neighborhood. Here is the link to the Area Agency on Aging that lists all senior centers by county: Click Here
If you are interested in learning more about how Relevar Home Care can help your loved one with technology give us a call at (586) 493-7677. We service many counties in the Metro Detroit area including Macomb and Wayne.