Social distancing is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of coronavirus. However, it can be challenging for aging seniors as sudden isolation can be overwhelming. Technology is one way to help seniors stay healthy and connected during this pandemic.
Home telemonitoring devices for chronic diseases, fall-detection technologies, teleconsultation tools, and various other health applications on smart devices and health information technologies can enable elderly patients to manage their health and retain their independence.
Technology can be useful in keeping seniors connected, reassuring them that they are not alone and providing them the necessary mental stimulation. This is especially needed during the pandemic.
This ability to stay connected with loved ones is essential to their physical and psychological wellbeing.
Technology can allow seniors to share their life experiences and knowledge. This is empowering to the seniors and provides the community with the benefits of their knowledge, wisdom, and experience.
During these isolated times, keeping in touch with their family and friends is essential for seniors. They may need less sophisticated devices that are more user-friendly, like a tablet for making video calls and sharing photos. Seniors who are familiar with a smartphone can use apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Skype, which are simple enough to set up and use.
There are many food delivery services and mail-order pharmacies online, which eliminates the need to step outside the house for food and supplies. These services can be easily used by seniors. They can get their groceries and other essential items delivered right to their door. There are several reliable apps and local services like Uber Eats, GrubHub, Postmates, Meals on wheels, etc., which are expanding their reach into more areas in the US. This is especially useful when they do not have in-home care services or may be facing physical problems.
Many senior centers and gyms are closed to prevent the further spread of the virus. However, technology and the internet can help seniors to stay active. They can watch exercise videos on YouTube while they are practicing social distancing.
Apart from helping seniors to remain fit, technology can also help them to stay healthy. There are many medical alert systems available for seniors having various health issues. Similarly, several apps can be used by loved ones and senior care providers to keep track of prescription drugs and monitor if they are taking the prescribed medications at the correct time. If available, they can book a telemedicine visit with their doctor, which reduces the need for an in-person visit.
Several studies suggest that learning new things and participating in activities that stimulate the brain can offer partial protection against dementia. Learning to use new technology, excelling in the same, and finding using it to discover more challenging activities for the brain provide a lot of mental stimulation. Judicial use of online and offline video games can offer ample mental exercise.
Technology can augment a senior’s safety by improving their access to help. For seniors, this might be in the form of a cell phone to keep with them while they travel or are at home. This can be in the form of a personal emergency response system or a medical alert system for seniors living alone. Such systems enable people facing any kind of emergency to call for assistance from emergency responders with the click of a button.
For seniors who prefer less competitive activities, the Internet has a wide range of videos that show an amazing variety of new and innovative exercise routines. There are exercise routines available that suit everyone’s preferences and body types.
GPS technology can enable seniors to navigate their way in the town with easy-to-use apps compatible with smartphones and smartwatches. Simultaneously, loved ones can use the same technology to track the seniors and also share their location. This is especially helpful for seniors with cognitive difficulties and dementia. There are rideshare apps that allow seniors to schedule rides to hospitals or medical appointments.
According to WHO, one among six seniors aged above 60 has reported financial neglect or exploitation last year. Financial abuse can mean exploitation by dishonest relatives, falling prey to “get rich quick” schemes, etc. Advanced technology can address this major concern, giving seniors the necessary tools to safeguard themselves financially.
Smartphones and computers offer advanced setting options so that you can save login information, set up a screen without passkey or encryption, create shortcuts of important contacts, messenger apps, or audio-video players. This lets your loved ones use these devices without any hassle.