According to Pew Research Center, more than half of senior citizens are Internet users and have high-speed broadband. In addition, 77 percent have cellphones. While seniors are becoming increasingly tech savvy, they still need the tools, resources and tech education to navigate devices.
A report sponsored by Linkage, “Extending Technology Past Baby Boomers,” found medical pendant alarms were popular with seniors. They report 35 percent of those surveyed use them. However, seniors were slow to adapt other helpful and life-saving technologies due to confusion on how to use them or lack of knowledge. Seniors reported that they would want a friend or family member, a workshop, one-on-one training or a doctor or health provider to help them learn how to use technology. Take some time to set up your aging loved ones with devices and apps that can monitor their health and help them age in place easier and for longer.
Choose Larger Screens
Even without vision problems, seniors can benefit from the ease of using larger screens. Touch technology may be a completely new concept for them, and the larger the icons and images, the easier it will be to use the device. Find out what type of device the senior might be interested in. If they’re unsure, recommend something that’s portable, lightweight and easy to use like an Apple iPad Mini 4. This iPad weighs nearly half-a-pound, has a 7.9-inch Retina display and up to 10 hours of battery life.
Show your senior how to use important features like FaceTime, and how to text and take photos to share with families. It’s also wise to help them save important information, like their doctor’s office number and directions or pharmacy and emergency contacts right to the iPad.
Stay Mindful of Limitations
Showing seniors how to use technology is a rewarding process that can dramatically change their lives for the better. But not all seniors are ready for the challenge of managing a device or tool on their own. Go slowly and walk step-by-step through the process. Remember they may have vision or comprehension problems that can make it confusing to navigate the first few times. Other seniors may feel apprehensive about using it on their own and may require follow-up lessons. Show them what to do if they get lost with the device. For example, they can hit the home button on an iPad or iPhone to go back to the main menu.
Gracefully Age in Place
Technology is making it easier to age in place longer. Seniors can harness personal technology and tools to stay safe and streamline their lives. For example, the app Lively provides sensors that can be put on a senior’s pillboxes, refrigerator, key chain, door or anywhere else. Check in on your senior citizen virtually to monitor their activity and make sure medication is taken. A GPS device can also help locate a senior who is prone to wandering off or falling.
Teach Health-monitoring Tools
Some seniors are perfectly capable of living alone, but need extra monitoring and assurance that medication is taken regularly and procedures are followed. Set up a system like Reminder Rosie to remind your senior to stretch his or her knee after a knee replacement, take medication at a particular time or give specific directions on how many pills to take. Loved ones can record their voice and instructions on Reminder Rosie to give seniors an extra boost of comfort when hearing their loved one’s voice.