We have a guest blogger this week! Mary Shannon from Seniors Meet (seniorsmeet.org) is writing about seniors and technology–so relevant for today’s world of medical televisits, online classes and webinars and the need for social distancing in our “normal” world. Thanks to Mary for this great article!
When you’re a senior living on your own, communication with your friends and family is essential for a happy and healthy life. Unfortunately, technology takes some getting used to. The good news is that there are many devices and services that can help you keep up with your family — and let them keep up with you — that don’t require a degree in IT. Scroll down for a quick primer and tips on how to use tech to keep you on track.
Online medical services.
The internet is unquestionably the greatest innovation of the last three decades. You can use it to not only keep up with your friends and family, but to also allow them to help you keep up with your medical records. Your Atkinson Family Practice online patient portal is a great example, and you can provide your login details to the family member of your choosing if you need help accessing your information.
A smart security system is a good investment for many reasons. Not only will your home be more secure when you are away, they also allow for some automated functions, such as being armed at certain times, and your loved ones can check in on you if they don’t hear from you if you have cameras installed. Safewise explains further that smart lighting can be controlled from a smartphone app. This means that your family can help you remember to turn the lights on and off if you don’t.
A fitness tracker is one of the least intrusive but most beneficial pieces of technology you can buy. These are wearables, usually watches, that can keep up with how active you are. This is information you can share with your healthcare provider so that, together, you can make better decisions about your health. Many also include a built in GPS feature, which will put your loved ones’ minds at ease if you are in the early stages of dementia and tend to wander or simply like to go off the beaten path by yourself.
Video calling devices.
If you have a smartphone, you already have access to a device that can help you make face-to-face phone calls with your friends and family. iPhone users do this via FaceTime. Those with an Android often have the option directly from the telephone function. BBC explains that you can also use your desktop computer using Zoom, Skype, or similar services that provide video calling.
In addition to the above, there are many pieces of smart technology that will allow you to live a healthier, happier, and more connected life. A smart refrigerator, for example, can be used in a couple of different ways. For one, you can access your refrigerator from the grocery store so that you can see what you have and what you need. And, if you have a friend or family member ordering groceries for you, they can quickly take a glance to find out the same information. Likewise, smart appliances can take the guesswork out of laundry and things like motion-sensor lighting outside can keep you safe when you’re enjoying time outdoors in the evenings.
Technology has come a long way in the last 30 years. Today, we can choose to be connected 100% of the time. This gives you more tools than ever to help you lead an independent lifestyle. While you cannot stop your loved ones from wanting to check in with you, you can make it easier for them and, in turn, on yourself.