Enhancing Your Life With Technology
How Devices Can Help You Stay Healthy And Independent
In our 21st-century world, technology is woven into every part of our lives.
For older adults or those caregiving for loved ones, the realm of devices and technological tools that can help with maintaining inde-pendence and a good quality of life is growing every day. Here’s a sampling of just some of the many gadgets that can make life easier and more enriching for older adults living independently:
Tablets and e-readers: With screens that are larger than smart phones and portability that desktop computers lack, tablets like pads – when connected to Wi-Fi – can help older adults easily access their bank accounts, investments, financial information, health records and other information that helps them manage their daily lives. They also provide a handy way to surf the Web and stay connected with friends and family through social networking sites like Facebook and through video chatting platforms like Skype or Google Hangout, helping ward off feelings of loneliness and isolation. E-readers like Kindles and Nooks are lightweight, have the ability to make words appear larger and can provide a virtual library of books, magazines and other reading materials at the touch of a fingertip.
Smart speakers: Like having a virtual assistant who does what you say, smart speakers like the Amazon Echo and Google Home devices also use a Wi-Fi connection. Users give voice commands to make the devices play music, set timers, make lists, get the weather, control connected devices such as thermostats and lights, order products from select retailers, turn on and off televisions and much more.
Video gaming con-soles: By playing video games, older adults can flex their mental muscles and help their memory and stimulate their minds. Devices like Nintendo Wiis, which virtually mimic playing sports and doing exercises, can help with maintaining physical activity.
Healthcare-related devices: Older adults can benefit from having medication-dispensing systems that remind users to take their medicine with alerts sent if a dose is missed. Battery-powered devices called Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS), or Medical Emergency Response Systems, typically can be carried in a pocket or worn around the neck or wrist and allow the user to call for emergency help with the press of a button. Vital health data such as someone’s heart rate, oxygen levels and blood pressure can be measured and collected through wearable health monitoring sensors. Wireless-enabled wearable activity trackers like Fitbits
that are worn on wristbands can help older adults and caregivers measure daily physical fitness, such as steps walked or climbed, sleep quality and heart rate.
Embrace the attitude that technology is your friend. Explore how the ever-growing number of assistive devices available can help you or a loved one remain independent at home with less worry and more fulfillment.