While we don’t often associate older adults with the newest technologies, research shows that older adults are eager to engage with innovative tech. Technology can ease the burden of everyday tasks while also providing several benefits that promote longevity, combat loneliness and social isolation, and support health and wellness.
A report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine found that more than one-fourth of adults age 65 and older are considered to be socially isolated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that long-term social isolation can significantly increase a person’s risk of premature death, dementia, depression, anxiety, and suicide.
Many older adults are looking for ways to keep in touch that help combat loneliness and prevent its serious long-term effects. A study conducted in 2016 by The University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research found that “using the internet is associated with lower depression and loneliness and higher levels of social support, life satisfaction, purpose in life, and social capital.” In this same study, older adults reported using technology to prevent feelings of loneliness, and found that using the internet decreased feelings of social isolation and promoted connection.
Today, tablets and smartphones offer some of the best ways to keep in touch, because they allow us to see and talk to others while making it accessible for older adults with low vision or hearing loss.
At some point during the aging process, older adults choose to stop driving, which can make connecting with friends more difficult. One of the benefits of technology for seniors is that transportation services apps such as Uber and Lyft make getting a ride easy and safe.
One of the largest concerns for family members is the safety of their loved ones, especially if they live far away. Technology has helped ease this concern by providing security features such as monitoring a person’s movement, sleep, location, and care patterns. Some devices can even send an alert to emergency medical professionals with the push of a button.
Technology provides a wide variety of entertainment options specifically designed for older adults. Smart devices can provide online exercise classes, games, movies, and experiences that allow older adults to engage with others in the comfort of their own homes. Smart devices also feature adaptive equipment that can enhance traditional hobbies by making them more accessible to those with specific health needs. For example, those with low vision can change or enlarge the font when reading a book on a tablet; those with hearing loss can connect their devices to their hearing aids, making it easier to talk on the phone or listen to a podcast.
Maintaining your physical health is important at any age, but especially for older adults. Senior health tracking tools can help record important health information such as level of activity, medication schedules, medical history, health conditions, and important numbers. Fitness apps for seniors can also be used to help promote daily exercise by counting steps and sending reminders when it’s time to move.
When used properly, technology can help bring people together, stimulate the brain, and promote longevity. Our Maplewood Senior Living communities always implement the latest technologies with intention and purpose. Here are a few ways we use technology for seniors throughout our communities:
Social isolation is a public health concern that dramatically affects older adults. At Maplewood Senior Living, we use the latest technologies for seniors to build social connections, improve quality of life, and support healthy choices. To learn more about our offerings or to schedule a tour, please contact us.
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