Everywhere we go, it seems that there’s some gadget telling us where to go, what the weather is like, and what our family members are doing several states away. While it can sometimes feel like these beeping, buzzing and blinking gadgets are just an annoying intrusion, the fact of the matter is that they can really be a positive force in our lives, keeping us safe, helping us to stay engaged, and allowing us to live independent longer.
Stay safe. Evolving way past the “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” days, today’s Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS) not only can be worn discreetly around your wrist, but they can also track your number of steps each day, remind you to take your medications and even help you find your way home. And technology, such as Evermind and Lively, can alert loved ones or caregivers when you deviate from your normal routine with sensors you can attach to commonly used items like the refrigerator or bedside lamp.
Stay in shape. Technology, including a variety of fitness trackers and video games like Wii, can help you stay physically active, but digital tools can also help you stay mentally fit. A variety of brain training apps, like Lumosity and Elevate, online games, including Sudoku, word searches and card games, and even video games traditionally targeted to the younger generation, can give your memory and other cognitive abilities a workout. No pen and paper needed!
Stay connected. While you’d love to be able to hug your kids, watch your grandkids run around your house and enjoy a cup of coffee with your friends, folks in your life can’t always stop by for a visit. Social media can be a great way to keep track of family, friends and long-lost pals, but video chat software, like Skype and FaceTime, gives you the opportunity to actually have a “face-to-face” conversation with them. For those with mild cognitive impairments, GeriJoy, a unique, digital social engagement tool, interacts with seniors using an avatar, which knows the person’s specific interests, has photos of family members, etc.
Share the benefits you’ve gained from technology.