Managing technology can sometimes seem like quite a leap, particularly for elderly users. Many young adults find it necessary to serve as unofficial tech support for parents and the like, but there are some tools that the older set should know how to use. These range from the convenient to the potentially life-saving, so having a handle on these is a smart idea.
The first of these is anything in the “mobile device” class. From smartphones to tablets and e-readers, many of these devices share similar functions. Mobile devices can be a huge boost to seniors, allowing a simple platform from which to keep in touch with friends and family regardless of distance. Video chatting with the grandkids can be quite an experience, especially when far away. These also prove helpful for reading, with bigger, brighter screen that can magnify text as needed, something a plain book will never do.
Real time communications tools follow from that, with Skype and Facetime proving popular, along with Web-based real time communications (WebRTC). All will allow users that connection described previously, so the value there is clear. Also, transportation apps for mobile devices like Uber and Lyft can allow users to summon a ride from nearly anywhere to most anywhere else with a few button presses.
For future planning, consider the use of an online estate repository; this simple tool allows for all one's estate information to be kept in one handy place in the event of a death. Everything from passwords to will information, home information, and even clear statements on advance directives can be found in that one place.
Global positioning system (GPS) insoles are one great new advantage for seniors. These make it possible to track a dementia sufferer who has wandered away and is lost, yet fit right in the shoes for greater dignity. Fitness trackers also help prolong life by encouraging physical activity, and smart watches often contain not only fitness tracking components, but connections to other apps that can be useful as well. There are even medication monitor systems that can be used to help remind a senior about taking needed medications. Given that medication errors are the number one cause of hospitalizations for people over 75 by some reports, having that reminder can be valuable.
Technology can seem like a scary proposition for those unused to it, but the more it's used, the more familiar it will become. The value of these technologies is hard to pass up altogether; preventing isolation by staying connected, getting out and active with less risk, and preparing for the future are all valuable things to seniors. That technological edge helps make it simpler to get out and do the things that once may have seemed next to impossible. In the end, letting the machines do the heavy lifting is what we made these for in the first place.