Technology For Seniors

Aging in place is an attractive option for many older adults. Living in place at home for older adults has become easier with the numerous options for technology. Devices to assist your daily tasks, mobile apps and medical alert systems help to keep you independent in your home.

New technology can be intimidating but educating yourself will help to lessen your anxiety and frustration. Let’s have a look at the technology options available to make your life safer, better and more fulfilling.

Technology for seniors

Smart Phones

Smartphones are quite beneficial for seniors. Mobile applications, or mobile apps are designed to run on smartphones and some are even preloaded when you purchase one. Here are some benefits to having a smartphone:

  • Communicate with loved ones (grandchildren, kids, friends).
    • This can be done using a messenger app that will let you text such as Facebook Messenger or Skype.
    • Video calls be used for face to face conversations using free services such as FaceTime, Zoom, Skype.
    • Group chats can be setup so you are communicating with more than one person at the same time. For example, a book club.
    • You can join a virtual retirement community to connect with people your own age.
  • GPS (Global Positioning System) Features
    • GPS can be used to help you navigate in your community whether you are driving or walking.
    • They can tell you when you will arrive at your destination and how long it will take.
    • The app will pick the best and shortest route.
    • It can warn of upcoming red light cameras.
  • Controlling smart devices
    • Apps downloaded on your phone can sync with homes devices such as thermostats or security systems so you can control them while you are away from home.
  • Weather monitoring
    • You can monitor the weather all over the world and in your own community and receive weather warnings and alerts from your local area.
  • Accessing the internet
    • While out and about you can search google and other websites.
    • A recipe can be displayed while cooking.
  • Senior friendly smartphone features
    • Simple and easy menus to navigate
    • Full keyboards
    • Large buttons and screens
    • Higher volumes
    • Voice typing
    • Magnifying cameras
    • Emergency buttons
  • Entertainment
    • Games, audiobooks and podcasts
    • Sharpen thinking by using brain-training apps to improve memory and logical thinking and slow the aging process.
  • Send and receive pictures from loved ones
  • Communicate with a virtual assistant that responds to voice commands and questions.
    •  Eliminates the need to type sentences and helps to navigate a new phone.

Technology for seniors

Smart Security Systems

A smart security system can monitor doors, windows and trigger an alarm that can notify authorities (with 24/7 monitoring) and/or caregivers if there’s a problem. You can choose to be notified by text messages and other means of communication. It can also be connected to smoke alarms, flood, freeze/temperature sensors, glass-break sensors, doorbell alarms, panic buttons and many others. Sensors can also alert you to environmental threats like carbon monoxide, smoke, water leaks, and freezing water pipes.

You can even share access with a family member who can check in through their own smartphone app. Many companies offer easy to use systems for seniors that can be installed in large homes, condos and living senior spaces using peel and stick adhesive strips.

You can use voice commands or a smartphone app via Alexa, Google Home, or Siri. The systems will allow arm and disarm from the comfort of your couch, bed or while on a outdoor walk. If you aren’t tech savvy you can arm and disarm using the system’s keypad or a remote-control button that attaches to a key ring.

Technology for seniors

Voice-Activated Virtual Assistants

A virtual assistant understands voice commands and completes those requested tasks for you. They are available on most smartphones, tablets, traditional computers and standalone devices like the Amazon Echo and Siri. They listen for specific commands from you and can answer back in a voice you select.

They can do many things like answer questions, tell jokes and play music. Your voice can request and control devices in your home such as lights, thermostats, door locks, and smart home devices. They can send text messages, make phone calls, and set up reminders.

Your virtual assistant will get to know your habits and preferences, understand natural language, recognize faces, identify objects, and communicate with other smart devices.

You can also use your iPhones to type questions or commands to your virtual assistant instead of speaking to them. Your assistant can respond by voice or text if you prefer that over voice.

Technology for seniors

Medical Alert Systems

Medical alert systems are a great way to ensure you can age in place by monitoring your safety and getting help quickly in an emergency. They are small devices like bracelets, watches, beltclips or necklaces that can alert a monitoring center and/or loved ones. They are especially useful if you walk with an unsteady gait, have dizziness or vertigo because of medications or have a history of seizures or disorientation. They can also be very useful in situations such as:

  • Falls
    • There is a very real possibility of seniors dying as the result of falls. They are the leading cause of injury and death for adults over 65. A push of a button on these devices could save your life.
  • Medical emergencies
    • If you feel short of breath, tightening of your chest, confusion, or numbness, a push of a button will call for help.
  • Limited mobility
    • If you use a cane or walker to get around, have an injury, are bedridden or non-verbal, the button can be easier to alert someone instead of a phone.

Using technology allows you to stay independent longer and keep control of your life. Explore the various technologies available and I’m sure you will find one that suits your personality.

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