July 11, 2017
More and more often, today’s older adults are embracing new technology. According to recent surveys, about 59% of adults ages 65 to 69 who own a cellphone choose to use a smartphone. Smartphones and tablet technology can help seniors stay safe and healthy while also keeping them connected to family and friends. From preventing loneliness to improving cognitive function, here are 3 great ways smartphone technology can help seniors.
Beyond their obvious function for phone calls, smartphones offer plenty of ways for seniors to easily contact friends and family. According to a Pew Research study, 82% of smartphone-owning seniors describe their phone as “freeing” and “connecting.” Email, texting, video chatting and social media can help seniors stay connected to long distance loved ones and avoid feelings of loneliness and isolation. With voice capabilities on smartphones and other devices, seniors with arthritis can contact loved ones without the difficulty of typing on a touchscreen. Some smartphones can even read texts aloud or translate voicemails into text, so older adults with hearing or vision problems can understand more easily.
Safety and security
Smartphones also offer helpful safety and security functions. If an older adult falls or has another medical emergency, having a portable phone makes it easier to contact help. Seniors can also store information on their phones about allergies, medications, and emergency contacts, enabling others to assist in the event of an emergency.
Health and fitness tracking
Smartphones can be used as wellness trackers to help older adults monitor their daily steps, heart rate, medication schedules, and even their sleep patterns. Smartphones can even sync with wearable fitness trackers, enabling seniors to keep track of their fitness goals throughout the day. Smartphones and tablets also offer fun and challenging ‘brain games’ or downloadable e-books which stimulate cognitive activity and provide easy, portable entertainment.
While some older adults may be apprehensive about learning new technology, the benefits of easier communication, safety, and health tracking can help seniors avoid the hazards of loneliness and isolation. Many senior living communities offer classes or tutorials on basic computer skills and smartphone use, enabling seniors to stay connected to friends and family and maintain a sense of independence long into their retirement.