How seniors are adapting new technology trends
Scan the dining room during mealtime at Holiday Retirement and you’re likely to see a resident showing a video of their grandkids to the table. This is just one of the many ways that new technology is having a profound effect on the lives of seniors.
Historically, seniors have been slow to adopt new technologies, but those statistics are starting to change. According to the Pew Research Center, six in 10 seniors now go online and just under half are broadband adopters. In 2012, researchers found that for the first time ever more than half of seniors were internet users. By 2014, that figure increased to 59 percent.
By connecting to the internet through computers, smartphones, tablets and other devices, seniors are leveraging new technology to connect and protect themselves in new ways. Here are just a few ways that technology is impacting the lives of seniors:
- Smartphones and tablets — Cellphones are becoming more senior friendly, with many models now featuring larger buttons and readouts, as well as voice dialing or texting to make usage easier. They can also provide medication reminders and GPS locations if there’s an emergency.
- Video and computer games — Whether it’s solitaire or Wii bowling, video and computer games have been shown to improve cognition, mental agility and even physical health for seniors. They are also fun social activities.
- Internet of things (IoT) — With connected devices, seniors and their caregivers can program and monitor household appliances from their computers or smartphones. By using cameras and seismic devices, falls and other disturbances can be detected from outside the home.
- Social media and email — Email and social media sites like Facebook provide a simple means for seniors to connect with family and friends. These online tools also make it easy to track down old classmates and family members, and join mutual interest groups around hobbies they enjoy.
- Skype and FaceTime — Staying connected with family is easier and more personal than ever with video communication software like Skype and Apple’s FaceTime. With these programs, seniors can see their grandkids grow up without living in the same city, state or country!
- Health tracking software — Many smartphones are able to monitor heart rate and other vital signs and statistics. There are also programs to help seniors remember to take medications and track their usage, as well as monitor their nutritional intake.
- Hearing aids — Hearing aids are smaller and more effective than ever, thanks to improved wireless transmission methods. Some hearing aids can even be implanted in the ear.
New and more useful technologies aren’t solely responsible for enticing seniors to adapt to modern times. The availability of classes and educators interested in sharing their knowledge with seniors have had an immense hand in this change.
Many retirement communities now offer computer and internet classes, and most provide computers for community members to send email and play games. At Holiday Retirement, we offer busy activities calendars packed with fun ways for seniors to connect with others and improve their tech skills. From Wii bowling to video lecture classes, there’s always something going on. Come visit today!