Today’s seniors are more tech-savvy than their parents and grandparents were, with many older adults using smartphones, social media, email and more. As of 2014, 77 percent of older adults had a cell phone, according to research from Pew Internet, marking an increase of eight percent in just two years.
Cell phones help older adults stay in touch with friends and family near and far, which can help to reduce social isolation, but technology holds far more promise for today’s older generation. Here are a few ways older adults can tap into technology for better health and improved well-being.
1. Age in Place with Modern Home Healthcare
The demand for home healthcare services is growing thanks to an increase in seniors who choose to remain in their own homes as they age, also known as aging in place. Technology advances continue to make the delivery of home healthcare services more robust, cost-effective, and efficient.
Tools like remote monitoring enable seniors to monitor some of their health stats remotely. Data is immediately accessible by a patient’s home health nurses and other providers, making it possible to pinpoint potential problems – often before they become a major health crisis.
2. Wearable Devices Make Health Monitoring a Breeze
Seniors who are living with chronic health conditions such as high blood pressure may need to monitor their vital signs regularly. Once requiring a trip to the doctor’s office, monitoring your vitals can now be as simple as sporting a wearable tech device. Monitoring vitals like blood pressure, body temperature and other vital health stats is now possible with wearable technology devices.
3. Fitness Trackers Help Seniors Meet Health Goals
From older adults who are working on healthy weight management to those with lofty weight loss goals and seniors who want to work toward a certain physical activity goal to reduce the risk of mobility loss and chronic illness, every older adult can find a use for a fitness tracker. Seemingly simple devices that are worn like a wristwatch, fitness trackers can track a variety of metrics from your heart rate to sleep patterns.
Additionally, some fitness trackers help users track their food intake, which can be quite useful for seniors with dietary restrictions or specific nutrition goals. For instance, older adults aiming to reduce their cholesterol may be following a restricted diet, and the ability to review your eating patterns over the past several weeks and comparing that data to your cholesterol levels can provide valuable insights for better managing your health.
4. Stay Connected with Social Media
Social isolation poses real health and safety risks for older adults. Technology makes it possible to engage with friends and family anytime, anywhere through tools like Skype and Facetime, offering the closest thing to real face-to-face interaction without actually being in the same room with another person.
Social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat also provide a way to stay in touch with friends and family and can help to bridge the generational gap with younger family members. Of course, your entire social life shouldn’t exist solely on social media, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to be able to chat with your granddaughter regularly while she’s attending college five states away.
In previous generations, seniors were hesitant to embrace technology, but modern seniors are increasingly accustomed to having technology woven through many facets of their lives. Offering tremendous health benefits for older adults, including positive impacts on both physical and mental health, there’s no reason for today’s seniors to shy away from technology.
About the Author: Jason Lewis is a personal trainer who became the primary caretaker for his mother after a surgery in 2002. He realized, as he helped her with her recovery, there is a special need for trainers that can assist the seniors in his community. He worked with his mother’s doctor, as well as other personal trainers, to create programs that are considerate to the special health needs of those over the age of 65.