By Rhys Janet
Technology and social media are almost always regarded as something only the younger generations can enjoy using. However, recent statistics show that more older people are adopting these technologies. A report revealed that three in five people over 65 in the US now own smartphones, which represents a significant 8% increase over just two years. This data signifies that the old trend, where only young people can learn and use technology, is slowly changing as older people make huge steps to improve their lives.
In fact, author David Sinclair discussed in his book Lifespan how technology and lifestyle changes allow seniors to achieve happiness and long life. He claimed that aging isn’t immutable and that elders have far more control over their lives than they realize, regardless of what their age tells them. By changing their lifestyle, such as by using technology to discover new ideas and connect with the people they care about, they can still have a fun experience that makes life worth living. Ultimately, this underscores how age is not a barrier to enjoying the many advantages that technology can bring to one’s life.
Here are four ways technology can enrich seniors’ lives:
Keeps Them Safe and Secure at Home
One of the prime benefits that technology can provide to elder people is safety and security during emergencies. This is especially helpful for elders who have carers or guardians that need to be away from them for a short time. For instance, security techs can help seniors feel more empowered to partake in fun activities at home, like gardening or cooking, because there are security cameras that can supervise them during periods when carers are not around. Another example is the use of smartphones. It guarantees that they can contact their families and caregivers during emergencies, such as when they suffer from a fall or run out of medicines. Through technology, seniors need not be left vulnerable should accidents or emergencies occur.
Keeps Them Connected with Family and Friends
Because of technology, seniors can now connect with family members and friends anytime and anywhere. They can conveniently initiate video chats and send messages with their relatives to remain connected and updated at all times. As mentioned in our article on ‘Staying on Top of Technology for Seniors’, we shared how software like Zoom, Skype, and WhatsApp can make this possible because they are simple to learn and operate for seniors. Using these apps, elders can virtually join any family gatherings or meet up with old friends, which can keep them entertained and included in lively social events. When seniors are taught how to use such platforms, they will feel less isolated and lonely, especially when they live in nursing homes or away from family. This can keep seniors better stimulated mentally and emotionally. Keeps Their Mental and Physical Well-Being Healthy
Besides social connection, technology can improve the mental and physical well-being of elders. One of the popular ways this is achieved is through telehealth. With telehealth services, seniors can regularly attend appointments with their doctors without the hassle of traveling. This means less risk of exposure to sickness from other people they can encounter. Moreover, technology allows seniors to perform fun physical and mental activities from the comfort of their homes. They can use the Nintendo Wii or PlayStation, which has games that require players to execute light physical exercises. They can also play mentally challenging games like Sudoku, crossword puzzles, and Scrabble using their tablets and smartphones. For seniors experiencing memory loss or cognitive decline, this can help them stimulate and exercise their brains while amusing themselves. Keeps Them Informed About the News
Lastly, social media and the internet can help seniors remain informed and updated about current news. This is particularly favorable for elders who enjoy reading the news and being updated with the latest happenings. Even though televisions are the number one source of information for most seniors, Elisa Shearer explained that among adults 50 and older, 64% get their news from both television and digital devices, with news websites as their most preferred online news source. The increasing use of social media and the internet is due to the convenience and ease of access compared to regular televisions and newspapers.
By Rhys Janet