Seniors have generally been late to adopt new technology and information systems compared to younger people. However, as technology use continues to evolve and deepen, seniors digital life seems to be increasing.
There are two different groups of older Americans. The first group tends to be younger, more highly educated. Meanwhile, the second group tends to older and not as affluent, many of them have significant challenges with health. The first group tends to be more technologically literate while the latter group is normally disconnected from digital tools and services.
As the internet becomes more ubiquitous and important for news gathering, everyone from all age groups, are turning to the internet more often. Along with news gathering, the internet plays a huge role in things like government services, health resources, and opportunities for social support and interaction.
The Benefits of the Technology
There is a long list of benefits that comes from using technology. Not only can you stay up-to-date on news information but you can also use the tools and resources that are available to help.
Many older adults believe that there are a number of benefits associated with technology and that they outweigh the costs and challenges with technology.
An federal report found that technology holds many benefits for older adults and can help them stay active and independent as they age. It can also increase social engagement, activity participation, and improve a person’s sense of purpose. One example of this is smartphone apps that are used to monitor fine motor control skills, this can help patients with Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis.
Caregivers and Assistive Technology
It is worth noting that technology can also hold many benefits for caregivers who assist seniors and older adults with health care routines and day-to-day activities.
Assisted technology is one of the many benefits that can help caregivers. For instance, technologies like monitoring and wearable information systems can help seniors age while ensuring their safety and health.
Assistive technology, in general, holds many benefits for those struggling with cognitive impairment or movement issues. Assistive technology allows patients to have greater control over their own lives, participate in more activities, interact with more people, and more. Some of the benefits that can come from using assistive technology include increased self-motivation, increased independence, accountability, and expanded life experiences.
Along with assistive technology, there are many forms of safety technology that can help keep seniors safe, especially those with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. Some of the safety technologies that are used include:
Automatic Lights — Lighting is super important for keeping seniors safe. They can help to prevent falls and trips, a problem that many seniors suffer from every year.
Special Plugs — Special plugs are available to help prevent flooding. These devices allow users to choose a certain water depth in the sink or the bath and if the water goes over these points, it will automatically begin to drain.
Automatic Stove Turn-Off — Along with keeping the water on, stoves are another worry for seniors with Alzheimer’s. If stove tops are left on or unattended it can lead to a kitchen fire and cause life-threatening circumstances. However, there are a number of automatic stove turn-off devices that you can get for your loved one.
Social Media and The Internet
One of the major benefits that come with technology is social media. One report found that more than 50 percent of adults used multiple types of social network sites which is a good thing.
Social participation is strongly linked to improved mental and physical health and can play a role in delaying cognitive decline. However, social participation is something that varies throughout life with social engagement dropping as we age. In fact, the older we get the more likely social isolation and loneliness can occur as many factors like losing a loved one can occur.
Unfortunately, these social problems can lead to a number of different issues such as depression. It should also be noted that older men specifically are at special risk of suicide.
Social media holds a number of pros and cons for seniors. For one, social media, and technology in general, makes it much easier for people to reach one another, stay in touch with lost friends, and even meet new people.
It gives people the opportunity to meet others through online forums and groups. You can find like-minded people that have similar interests as yourself and many of these groups schedule meet up often.
Despite how helpful social media can be for connecting us with loved ones and friends, there are still a number of negatives that can occur from using and overusing social media.
According to one study conducted by the Journal of Medical Internet Research Mental Health, those who use social media and have negative interactions are likely to reap negative rewards. In fact, those who do not have positive interactions and social comparisons were more likely to deal with higher levels of depression and anxiety.
Technology use among seniors is something that has been increasing in recent years, especially as the internet and some devices become more and more ubiquitous. For senior citizens who are dealing with movement or cognitive impairment issues that can interfere with day-to-day tasks, there are some devices and technology safety features that caregivers can incorporate to make daily living easier. However, even with these safety devices and technological features, some senior citizens still can’t live on their own and may need to enlist the help of a caregiver or an assisted living facility.
Landmark Senior Living is one assisted living facility in Fall River that can help you or your loved one as they adjust to this different lifestyle. Landmark can offer residents access to medical care, memory care, and social activities to help keep residents healthy and happy during their stay with Landmark. If you are interested in learning more about Landmark and what we can offer your loved one, please visit our website and reach out to schedule a complimentary walkthrough.