October 1st, 2018
You know the stereotype by now, either first-hand or via someone else’s misconception. Senior citizens are leery of technology, and hence aren’t tech savvy. Right?
Wrong. Recent statistics from the Pew Research Center show that 58 percent of those over 65 use the internet (a 15% rise since 2000), and those numbers are even higher for more affluent seniors and younger retirees.
And why wouldn’t seniors want to make use of new technology, especially when it can help them live independently, get help when they need it and, yes, keep in touch with family members near and far. (Rumor has it that a rising number of seniors, particularly younger retirees, even participate in social media!)
With that said, you may be surprised to learn the vast number of gadgets and apps that are available for seniors to utilize. And with so many options to choose from, here is a handy guide to some of the best off-line and online tech devices and services.
BEST TECH TOOLS FOR OLDER ADULTS
Smartphones, Tablets and e-readers.
The elderly like to maintain their mobility as much as anyone else, which is why more and more they’re moving away from old-fashioned computers. Smartphones are the perfect size for checking email, news, weather, and social media, and with the proper apps seniors can even track their blood pressure, program medication reminders, or play brain-enhancing games. Tablets have bigger screens and are handy for video conferencing with family, sharing photos, and even Internet research. And e-readers are the perfect way to keep up with best sellers!
Smart watches, Medication monitors & Fitness Trackers
Being old doesn’t mean you have to be part of the “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up generation,” not with new gadgets that help keep you safe and healthy. Smart watches are not only stylish to wear, but also feature medication reminders, fitness trackers, and optional activity sensors. Medication monitors are aptly named, but they go one step further than a mere tracking mechanism, automatically notifying a caregiver if a med is way behind schedule. And wearable Fitness trackers can help seniors make sure they get both enough exercise and sleep.
GPS and GPS Insoles
Whether it’s a standalone unit or part of a Smartphone, Global Positioning System (GPS) technology can make it easier for seniors to find their way around, especially when retirement has taken them to a new city or even a new neighborhood. And, if a loved one suffers from Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia and is at risk of wandering off, GPS SmartSole insoles – worn inside their shoes – are the perfect unobtrusive way to track their location.
BEST WEBSITES & APPS FOR KEEPING SENIORS CONNECTED
Skype or Facetime
They may never replace face-to-face interaction with a favorite grandkid, but video call apps like Skype and Facetime can be the next best thing – and are surprisingly easy to use!
Online estate repository
Creating a digital archive of wills, trusts, passwords, advance directives, and miscellaneous information about your home has suddenly become easy – and safe! – with online services such as Everplans.
Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft aren’t just for jet-setting Millennials. They can also be invaluable for seniors who no longer drive.
Adult children and caregivers can all be linked and synchronized with care sharing tools like CaringBridge, which allows family and friends to log on for progress reports when there’s a health crisis.
Staving off loneliness is important for anyone, but even moreso for seniors. Since mobility issues may make it difficult to have in-person interaction, a growing number of online services are making it easy for the elderly to interact online. One such service, grandCARE, offers a cornucopia of options, from video chatting and game playing, to sensor monitoring and telehealth device recording.