Regular socialization is an integral part of life. But as we grow older, age-related challenges can make it difficult to get out of the house and socialize with our friends and family members. Becoming isolated is a very real threat to quality of life at any age.
Seniors Helping Seniors knows that regular socialization is essential for the health and wellbeing of everyone, especially those in their senior years. We've put together a technology guide to help seniors and their caregivers get set up with the tech tools they need to stay social.
Fighting Senior Isolation
Every senior knows that aging brings its share of challenges. Whether it's the passing of old friends or the development of physical disabilities, these challenges make seniors particularly vulnerable to loneliness and isolation. What's more, isolation only exacerbates age-related issues. Research shows that seniors with few social connections face a higher risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes, and cognitive disorders like dementia.
The good news is that seniors who find ways to stay social can prevent many of the health risks associated with senior isolation. As Psychology Benefits Society explains, emerging technologies show a lot of promise when it comes to helping seniors participate in community events, stay in touch with loved ones, attend religious gatherings, and access the care they need.
Essential Tools and Digital Services
Seniors can use all kinds of tech tools and services to stay connected with the rest of the world. Technology has come a long way in the past few years, and today's tech devices are much more intuitive than their older counterparts.
If your computer is slow or difficult to navigate, consider investing in a brand-new piece of equipment to support your online activities. You may even be able to score a discount on a new computer when shopping online from popular tech brands like Lenovo! Remember — if you buy a desktop computer, you will need to purchase a separate webcam so you can video chat with family and friends.
Once you have the right equipment, set up software and apps that will enable you to connect with loved ones from afar. Try video chatting with long-distance family members, playing a game with friends, joining an online community of like-minded hobbyists, or attending a virtual church service. Just be sure to familiarize yourself with good cybersecurity practices as you explore everything the internet has to offer.
Making it Senior-Friendly
Seniors face a number of barriers when adopting technology. Many technologies just aren't designed for the needs and abilities of seniors. For those who lack technology proficiency, special equipment, software, and device settings can be invaluable. For example, you can buy devices designed specifically for seniors, like the GrandPad tablet or the Jitterbug phone.
You can also make tweaks to regular smartphones to increase their accessibility. Many of these same accessibility upgrades can be applied to laptops and desktop computers as well. In your device settings, you should be able to adjust the size of text, increase color contrast, set up keyboard shortcuts, and enable text-to-speech services.
Bridging the Gap for Long-Distance Caregiving
Another great way technology can benefit seniors is by connecting caregivers with loved ones who live far away. Senior caregivers can use document-sharing services like Google Docs and Google Sheets to keep long-distance loved ones in the loop. This is a great way to relay information about health conditions, appointments, medications, and even finances.
Certain technologies, such as medication reminders and fall-alert devices, can help seniors feel more secure aging-in-place when a caregiver cannot be present 24/7. Take advantage of all the tech that's available to you! The right tools will have a significant impact on your quality of life.
Thanks to the technological advancements of the 21st century, aging is getting easier and easier every year. Seniors no longer have to face the threat of loneliness and isolation when they live far away from loved ones. With the help of user-friendly equipment and intuitive apps, you can stay connected with anyone, from anywhere!
Technology will never completely replace the need for in-person care and support. If you could use some help around the house, Seniors Helping Seniors can provide assistance, if you need help. Call 312-526-3666.
Article contributed by Mary Shannon from SeniorsMeet.org