When today’s seniors take full advantage of modern technology, they can increase their independent functioning ability, either by improving their own physical or cognitive abilities or by gaining access to needed supportive services, not even including any health related services.
TECHNOLOGIES FOR SENIOR FUNCTIONAL ENHANCEMENT
The following is a brief list of available technologies that offer enhancements to senior lives:
- Augmentation for communication
- Specialized phones for visual or hearing impaired
- Smart phone technology
- Preprogrammed cell phones
- Safety monitoring
- Smart housing
- Medication dispensers
- Access to community-based services
The ability to remain connected, whether to continue social engagement or to garner services, is important to seniors, particularly those who are most at risk for becoming isolated. Today’s blog will expand on augmenting communication, while exploring safety monitoring, smart housing, medication administration and access to services will be discussed next week.
Specialized phones for the hearing or visually impaired are not really new. Amplified or talking phones have been around for a while, and government funding will often assist with acquisition of these phones for those with limited finances. These phones previously required hardwiring, limiting seniors to their homes. Current technology gives them wings; devices with amplification ability as well as voice activated tasks are available for smart phones, allowing the user to travel away from home.
Innovators are aware of the growing needs and desires of the mushrooming senior population, and they have begun to develop smart phone technology and applications (apps) accordingly, knowing seniors (and their children) will be avid consumers. Cell phone service providers offer phone packages aimed directly at senior users, and some smart phones (Jitterbug for example) are simplified for older adults who are uncomfortable with the advanced smart phones.
As a grandparent myself, I cannot adequately describe how FaceTime and Skype increased my level of joy by enabling me (and other grandparents) to stay in touch with adult children and grandchildren, both visually and verbally.
MORE THAN COMMUNICATION
For those who can adapt to advanced smart phone technology, smartphones can be programmed for certain abilities: reminders for medication and appointments, GPS and mapping for verbal cues when driving, and safety monitors that can connect to an adult child or other responsible party. Among the apps that are most useful for increasing function are: Big Names, Silver Surf, Park and Forget, Flashlight, and Fall Detector – all of which are 99 cents or free.
Bette Davis once said, “Getting old is not for sissies. ”Even though older adults undergo many changes, physically, emotionally, and cognitively, today’s advancements provide numerous strategies to adapt to those changes. How will we….and our communities utilize these technologies to improve upon the lives of senior adults?
Read our prior blog on advancing technology to learn even more.
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About the Author
Patty Scotten is a consultant with Retirement DYNAMICS® and serves as their marketing manager. Patty has over twenty five years’ experience in the senior living industry and has led several communities in preselling expansions or increasing occupancy levels. She graduated from Elon University and holds a Masters Degree from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Patty is licensed as both an assisted living and nursing home administrator.