8 Benefits of Technology for Seniors and their Caregivers

A photo of two seniors on a couch smiling and using a tablet
by Hillary Bowling on May 6th, 2019

Special thanks go to guest blogger Annabelle Short for this post.

Aging often causes deterioration of the physical and mental capabilities of an individual.

Such conditions pose a challenge in taking care of grandparents, aging parents and other close loved ones. Seniors require special attention; and as a care provider in a busy world, one must take measures to ensure the elders are comfortable. Here are some ways family and caregivers can gain from the use of technology to provide care for the elderly.

1.   Medication

According to a 2016 survey by AARP, over 75% of the senior respondents attested to consuming a prescription medication regularly. 80% of those seniors take at least two prescriptions, and just over 50% take four or more. Due to the number of drugs consumed a day, many older adults find it a challenge to keep track of their prescriptions. However, the solution lies with embracing technology.

There are reminder gadgets that help seniors to adhere to their medication routine. The devices inform the senior when it’s time to swallow the medicine. Smartphone apps allow elders and caregivers to get refill alerts and minimise the chances of missing medication and medication errors.

2.   Health monitoring

Caregivers often face an array of demanding responsibilities in administering care to the elderly. Caring for your loved ones entails tracking medical appointments, insurance, health records, hospital schedules and more. Sometimes things get off hand and confusion and forgetfulness may hamper the care.

Thanks to technology, caregivers can have peace of mind and provide care with much ease. Various appsoffer a single point for storing and organising information onthe health of loved ones and prepare for emergencies. Today there are several affordable smartphone apps as well as wearable devices that help the elderly monitor their health-care requirements including their nutritional needs. Smart fitness bands can help the seniors track their routine exercise and physical exercises including tracking sleep, heart rate and sharing this information with family and care providers.

3. Medical alert systems

A significant mass of the elderly prefers to stay at their home. Several technological solutions can help with their safety. Those who live alone should always wear medical alert systems. The wearer can easily contact an emergency response service by the simple press of a button. Most of medical alert systems are not only limited to working within the house, but also when the person leaves the house. Some of the best medical alert systems include Medical Guardian and Lifealert.

4.   Social connection

Today, there is a significant percentage of seniors aged above 65 and living alone. Social isolations coupled with loneliness may pose serious repercussions on the health of the seniors. Examples of the effects of loneliness include diminished cognitive performance, the risk of dementia, and exposes one to depression and high blood pressure. Video chats allow the elderly to connect face to face with their loved ones and talk.

Distant caregivers can also see their senior loved ones and asses how they are doing. The elderly can also use social media like Facebook to connect with family friends and support networks. They can also use Twitter to follow news resources, get health information and literary publications. The good thing about social apps is that they are cheap if not free and thus help the elderly overcome isolation and loneliness.

5.   Exercise assisted by technology

Video games and computer games not only entertain the elderly but also enrich their mental wellbeing as well. Gaming systems controlled by motions such as Nintendo’s Wiis sports allow recreation and exercise benefits to the senior people. The games are fun and engage the elderly in light physical activity while at the comfort of their home. Virtual reality technologies put smiles on the elderly when they can visit places such as space and even review important memories. Games such as Tetris, Trivial Pursuit and Mahjong are great for mental exercises.

6.   Safety devices and GPS

People with Alzheimer’s condition, dementia or other conditions that expose a person to wandering, can benefit from GPS tracking devices. These gadgets monitor and send alerts to caregivers thus prevent events such as getting lost. There are wireless home monitoring devices that alert the caregivers or family of emergency whenever the gadgets detect unusual circumstances.

Some gadgets will send alerts when the exterior door is opened during the night while other gadgets that can turn off the oven if left unattended for an extended time. These monitoring devices work based on sensors strategically installed in various parts of the senior’s home.

7.   Surveillance Cameras

Abuse of senior people is nothing new. About one out of ten seniors experience abuse. Elderly maltreatment includes physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect and other forms of violence. Cameras can help curb abuse to loved ones. Cameras allow the caregiver or family to ensure their loved one receives proper treatment. Cameras will also enable the healthcare provider to monitor the movement of the elders especially those with metal or other health issues when they are away from home.

8.   Mass notification system

When your loved one is in a senior living center, you may feel like you have lost touch and you don’t know what is going on in their lives. Finding ways of communicating often is advisable if you want to maintain the good relationship. Besides that, investing in a mass notification system that alerts all the family members in the event of an emergency will help you make smart decisions on how to offer the best possible care.

About the author: Annabelle Carter Short is caregiver for her mother with dementia, writer and seamstress in her free time. When not working, she’s spending time with her family or putting pen to paper for her own personal pursuits. Annabelle is passionate about dementia care and accessing the best careviging resources.

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