Written By: Teresa Greenhill
There’s a common misconception that seniors don’t understand or utilize technology. But according to the Pew Research Center, nearly half of older adults own smartphones—and almost 60 percent of 65- to 69-year-olds do. What does that mean for senior health and wellness? The facts might surprise you.
Tracking Fitness Is Easier Than Ever
Whether you’re using a fitness tracker or a smartwatch, technology can tell you a lot about your fitness level. Some of the latest smartwatches have safety features like emergency SOS when you suffer a fall. A smartwatch will also enable you to receive notification and alerts from your smartphone. If you’re looking for something a little less expensive and without all the extras, a fitness tracker may be right for you. Whatever device you choose, both can help you stick with an exercise program.
Information Is Accessible
When it comes to healthcare, plans and coverage can be confusing. But online access to all your plan details allows you to peruse the data anytime. Researching online is an excellent way to find out the benefits of plans like Medicare Advantage. These plans can provide additional services to seniors who need them. You can spend a little more up-front to save long term on coverage for vision, dental, hearing, prescriptions, and preventative care benefits.
Of course, while technology gives you access to tons of information, speaking with a knowledgeable insurance expert is also a great idea. Ultimately, you might need some help sifting through all the options.
Accessibility Helps Mean More Independence
With today’s technology, seniors with mobility challenges can adjust their thermostat without getting up, check the weather without venturing outside, and more. Forbes explains that the Amazon Alexa technology can help older adults manage tasks independently. The voice assistant can remind them to take crucial medications, contact family, and make it to appointments on time.
With smart home devices like Wi-Fi-connected light bulbs and outlets, you can also turn on a lamp, turn on the coffee pot, and more without having to enter the room.
Tech Helps Connect People
Spending time with friends and nurturing relationships has clear benefits for older adults (and the rest of the population). Social isolation can mean poor health and a lowered mental state, too. But technology can change that. In addition to keeping older adults connected with loved ones via video chat and phone calls, tech devices can also ease feelings of loneliness in other ways.
One study found that older adults felt that technology makes it easier to reach out to people. Research has also shown links between social technology use and improved life satisfaction in seniors. When balanced with real-life social interaction, technology can substantially benefit older adults’ social lives.
Homes Are Getting Smarter
As Scientific American reports, many older adults prefer to live at home. But for their families, this causes concerns about their safety and well-being. New technology offers a solution: Remote monitoring so your loved ones can tell whether you’re out of bed in the morning, have fallen somewhere at home, or are exhibiting behavior that’s out of the ordinary.
Apps Deliver Nearly Everything
If you want to order takeout from your favorite (hopefully healthy) restaurant, there’s an app for that. Say you need groceries but don’t want to go out in bad weather—there’s a grocery delivery app for that, too. There are also applications (with companies behind them) that offer meal delivery, whether premade heat-and-eat meals or kits to cook from an included recipe.
For independent and wellness-focused seniors, these technological advances can make a huge difference in daily life. And the best part is that these resources continue to improve—so who knows what will come next?