There is an unsubstantiated assumption that seniors are not capable of understanding new technology. We think it’s time to challenge that way of thinking. Today’s post is all about acknowledging just how much technology can help seniors, and why we should help them integrate new technology into their lives.
Technology offers an array of important benefits which apply directly to seniors. In fact, there are a number of devices that specifically cater to the needs of the elderly. If we don’t encourage seniors to use technology, we run the risk of denying them a world of support and a diminished quality of life.
Yes, Technology Can Help Seniors
There are many new devices that can support seniors’ health and safety. Missing medications is a thing of the past. We can now use digital pill dispensers and pill alarms to ensure accurate and full dosage compliance. Seniors can also benefit from voice-activated reminders that track meals, medicine, and appointments. Another useful piece of tech? Personal Emergency Response Systems. These simple devices ensure that help is available at all times in the event of an emergency. All of these tools are vital ways to help keep seniors safe and independent for as long as possible.
Did you know that technology can also improve seniors’ social connections? According to a study at Michigan State University, seniors who used social networking sites experienced decreases in loneliness, lower rates of depression, and better health. For people with limited mobility, social networking is a powerful way to reduce their isolation (see our previous post Using Technology to Eliminate Loneliness in the Elderly).
Barriers to Adapting
Learning to navigate the world of technology can be intimidating for seniors. Sadly, Pew Research found that only 13% of seniors who do not currently use digital devices feel comfortable learning to use them on their own. Additionally, seniors deal with physical challenges, such as poor eyesight or arthritis that limit their capacity to adapt. And, yes, the occasional skeptical attitude doesn’t help either.
The younger generation such as children and grandchildren may be able to help. However, it can be difficult to learn challenging new ideas from your children, so it helps to get outside instruction. A great way to help seniors recognize the potential value of new technology is to find classes. Most libraries and senior centers offer free technology classes to seniors (see our previous post Tackling Technology with the Elderly).
There are many adaptations available to make digital devices accessible for people with physical disabilities. For example, voice commands can eliminate the need to type, and changing font size can make screens more readable. Also, many seniors find tablets easier to use than desktop computers, and their screen is a more comfortable size than a smartphone’s.
David York Agency is Here to Help
Helping seniors across the digital divide can be tough, but the benefits outweigh the difficulties. Home healthcare aides may even be able to help by walking their patients through the functions of new devices. A home aide can also review what has been learned on a daily basis, helping each lesson “stick.” If we can help support the seniors in your life as they navigate the challenges of aging, please contact us. Our skilled and caring aides strive to provide personalized attention to every client.
For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, please contact us at 718.376.7755. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.
For more reading on the topic, see Anita Kamiel's article: The Elderly, The Internet & Social Media