Although the word “technology” often conjures up images of savvy millennials using the latest-and-greatest high-tech devices, the truth is that technology is important for all generations. Whether used for entertainment, communication or safety, there are a number of tech tools that every senior should have at their disposal.
We’ve picked five tech tools that every older adult should have to help them live a healthy and connected life.
1. Video Chat Software
Video chat software, such as Skype, is an excellent way to help older adults stay connected to family and friends. Video chat is an especially great option for those who aren’t able to travel to see loved ones. By connecting with the people they care about, video chat programs can help older adults avoid feelings of social isolation.
Video chat programs are generally easy to use; most seniors who are comfortable using the internet will find video chatting a simple and fun way to stay in touch with the people that matter the most.
2. High-Tech Pill Dispenser
It can be easy to forget to take a pill, especially for aging adults who are living on their own and may have memory problems. Forgetting to take medication can put the health and safety of an older person at risk. Luckily, technology has found a way to help them remember to take their pills.
High tech pill dispensers, like the MedMinder Maya, use visual or auditory alerts to remind users to take medication. If a user doesn’t take their medicine, the technology can notify loved ones or caregivers. This provides an opportunity to have a person check in on the older adult to make sure they are okay.
Most drivers, whether young or old, can benefit from having help with driving directions. Those who are beginning to experience memory problems can especially benefit from having directions read aloud to them as they drive. GPS is available through both dedicated GPS machines, like a Garmin, and smartphone apps, such as Google Maps.
Because most GPS devices are able to store frequently used addresses, drivers do not need to worry about forgetting the location of their destination. By saving locations like their home or doctor’s office in their GPS device, they can quickly get directions without committing an address to memory.
4. Cell Phone
Although some seniors are content with their landline phone service, a cell phone is an important piece of technology that should be kept with them at all times. With a cell phone, older adults can call for help if they have an emergency while away from their home. It can also help them have easier access to the numbers they call regularly – which means no more looking for the address book to find important phone numbers.
Some seniors are intimidated by cell phones or struggle to use phones because of small buttons. A number of cell phones have been developed just for older adults, including the Jitterbug. These specially-developed phones are easy to use, include medical alert services, and offer monthly plans that don’t cost an arm and a leg.
5. E-Reader or Tablet
For many seniors, reading printed books or magazines can be difficult due to font sizes that are too small to easily read. For those who love to read, e-readers or tablets make it easy to adjust the font size to accommodate for any vision problems they might have.
While font size can also be easily changed on a computer, e-readers or tablets are especially great options for older adults thanks to their portability and (often times) easier-to-use touch screens that are more accommodating than a physical keyboard. Tablets are great for those who want to also be able to surf the web, check email and video chat; for those that just want a device for reading, e-readers will suffice.
An added bonus of having an e-reader? Users can download new books or magazines whenever they want without needing to leave the house.