Technology is supposed to make difficult jobs easier. Smart phones makes it easier to share personal experiences through pictures and videos, for example, and keeping a checking account balanced has never been easier since the invention of online banking. State-of-the-art toys featuring all the bells and whistles will always attract the attention of young people but simple devices have always found the best traction among seniors.
While young people have no problem adapting to the each new technology to come along, many seniors have trouble learning how to operate some of the more sophisticated gadgets.
Devices with multiple functionalities are overly complicated and difficult to use, especially in times of emergency. Many seniors become confused, overwhelmed and frustrated when technology, instead of offering much-need assistance, seems to make simple tasks more difficult. When this happens, some seniors simply give up trying to use these tools.
Don't Psych Yourself Out
It is a myth that older people cannot learn how to use new technology – six in ten seniors now go online and 77 percent have a cell phone, according to Pew Research Internet Project. But, despite these numbers, many seniors still remain uncomfortable with adopting new technologies-- at least when it comes to figuring things out on their own.
According to the Pew study, most seniors would be unlikely to sit down at a computer, or with a hand-held device, and play around until they figured out how things work. 77 percent of respondents said they would need someone to walk them through a new technological process.
Seniors who find help and overcome challenges to make technology part of their daily lives, however, will find a powerful tool in their future care arsenal.
Simplicity in Technology: Future Care for Seniors
Chronic medical conditions like arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia, poor vision and hearing problems can make life difficult for seniors-- especially those who want to live independently at home. The little problems, like forgetting to take medication or leaving the stove on, can cause serious emergencies. Simple technologies help seniors stay independent by reducing the risk for life-threatening problems.
- Medical alert devices are perhaps the easiest tool for seniors because they are simple– just press a button in case of emergency to call for immediate help. These devices are lightweight, unobtrusive, inexpensive and, best of all, easy to install and use. You do not need to dial a telephone to communicate with an emergency response center.
- Medication reminders are another type of simple technology that seniors can really use. The old-fashioned pill trays keep daily dosages organized but don't let seniors know when it's time to take a pill. Today there is a variety of medication reminder apps for smart phones, automatic pill dispensers, and vibrating pill timers that help seniors take their medication on time. While these devices are handy, some may be difficult for the senior to set up or update with new medications.
- Locator devices are essential for people who regularly lose their keys, eyeglasses case, canes, TV remote, and other household items. Manylocator devices work by simply pressing a button then following a high-pitched tone.
- Other types of technology, not specifically meant for senior life, can also come in handy. Clocks and calendars help seniors keep track of time and important events. Clocks that show the time of day and day of the week are especially helpful to orient confused individuals.
In the future, care for seniors will likely include all the latest, greatest gadgets that engineers can dream up but the simplest senior care devices will always be the most popular because they are easy to use and reliable.