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Technology Helps Seniors Maintain Independence During COVID-19

We’ve all heard the adage, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” but that is merely an old wives’ tale. It may not be easy to teach someone older and set in their ways to try new things, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility that they can learn! Granted, it may not be easy to teach an “old dog new tricks,” but it is possible.

I say this because my 75 year-old Mother is learning to text for the first time, and she is getting better at texting each time she makes the attempt!

Technology can be intimidating to some seniors, but it is, by far, the safest way to stay connected with them during this COVID-19 pandemic. I’ve tried to expose Mom to more technology by showing her ways to see her children and grands through Zoom calls, while she’s staying healthy at home.

Technology can help seniors maintain their independence in the midst of the current coronavirus surge in Florida, by giving them a myriad of options for communicating, staying entertained, shopping for supplies and so much more!

Businesswire published an article in April that caught my attention, because it focused on technology for seniors and how it can help them stay healthy and engaged.

“Studies show social isolation and loneliness are linked to higher risk of cardiovascular disease, anxiety, depression, and a variety of ailments,” says aging expert Lisa Cini. “During this unprecedented time, sheltering-in-place can provide an opportunity to stay connected with our older friends, neighbors and family through technology. Remember, we can help make our aging loved ones remain healthy, happy, and safe while practicing social distancing and quarantine.”

Lisa’s 10 tips for older adults during COVID-19 as published in businesswire include:

  1. Coordinate daily check in times: A phone call or text, Skype, Facetime, Zoom, Loop, WhatsApp, & WeChat are all possibilities. A video call is best to see smiling faces and easier for those with hearing loss. Additionally, group texts are a great way to send funny pictures, videos, and continuous words of encouragement. One helpful device to stay connected is called Loop. The Loop is a portable screen that allows you to privately and securely send photos, videos and do live video chats with family and friends.
  2. Exercise: Wellness devices like Fitbit, Garmin, Apple watch, and Kardia are all great tools to get moving. Arranging 10-minute group exercises, ensures loved ones are moving and keeping the blood flowing which improves brain function, reduces depression and improves the immune system. Notifications can easily be sent to your phone will help you stop worrying and provide an opportunity to nudge them to get moving.
  3. Gaming: Words with Friends, Candy Crush, and Word Cross are as simple as tic-tac-toe or as interactive as building entire cities with Minecraft or experiencing a flight simulator. The internet allows us to create a watch party for favorite TV shows or movies and group texts, video chat or messages on Facebook. Video games not only help with eye hand coordination, memory and mind training but raise endorphin levels to keep the blood flowing and even create a more energized feeling.
  4. Facetime or Zoom Meals: Video chat during meals! Create a virtual “family dining” experience where everyone can share their day, laugh and reconnect. Send ingredients to a family recipe beforehand, and you can virtually cook “together.”
  5. Control moods: Hapbee is a wearable device and Smartphone app that can make you feel happy, calm, sleepy, alert, focused, etc. with the click of a button. Also, the Human Charger introduces light therapy through ear buds to reach the photoreceptors of the brain, which can help those who may have the winter blues, sleep issues, or just want more energy and alertness.
  6. Get a care free companion pet: Hasbro Joy for All companion pets are designed to bring comfort, companionship and fun for older loved ones who may not be able to get out and walk, feed, or care for a real dog or cat. These pets deliver a soothing, joyful experience that inspires smiles, laughter and fond memories.
  7. Engage remote health monitoring devices: Livio AI hearing aid has fall detection and tracks body and brain health in 27 languages. Zibrio’s SmartScale measures movements that indicate risk of falling. MouthLab by Aidar Health monitors more than 10 medical parameters like temperature, respiratory rate, blood pressure, breathing patterns, heart rate, lung function, and more in 30-seconds. Essence Group Fall Detector Radar tracks a person's position in the home, provide immediate detection of a fall, and effectively alerts healthcare providers. CarePredict assesses day to day movements including sleep, walking, eating, and more. The MedWand handheld device allows users to conduct remote office visits and uses real-time collection of vital sign readings, to accurately monitor medical conditions regardless of location. H2-BP is the world’s smallest and lightest wearable blood pressure monitor.
  8. Navigating the toilet paper shortage? Luxury Class A8 Serenity Bidet Toilet Seat: replaces your normal toilet seat by adding a bidet feature that both washes and blows you dry. Plus, it’s customizable, heated, gets you to the proper height, and includes both a splash guard and a nightlight.
  9. Keep the House Clean: With just the push of a button, iRobot Braava Jet 240 Robot Mop wet-and dry-mops your floors and is tiny enough to get under cabinets, beds, furniture and even around the toilet!
  10. Install an automatic stove shutoff device: Stove Safety from FireAvert provides peace of mind and protection when cooking is forgotten or left unattended. It’s an easy way to prevent a possible fire and save dinner, too.

Like I said in the beginning, it may not be easy to teach every tech aspect to your senior loved ones, but many of these options are very user-friendly, and may not take much time at all for them to achieve success; feel a real sense of accomplishment, joy and independence; while staving off loneliness, isolation and depression.

These tech suggestions may be a challenge for seniors who are on their own with no family members or friends around to help. That’s why I recommend a highly-skilled caregiver with a keen understanding of today’s technological advancements, gadgets and devices to provide guidance. They can also monitor their mental and physical well-being, and provide companion care to curb feelings of isolation, loneliness and depression that negatively impact mental health. I gladly offer a FREE consultation to assess all needs and match the perfect, most qualified caregiver to help with technology and so much more!

We, at Home Helpers® Clearwater, are honored to have received the Home Care Pulse – Best of Home Care® Provider of Choice Award for 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020. We proudly serve male and female seniors in Clearwater, Dunedin, Palm Harbor, Safety Harbor, Tarpon Springs, Holiday, New Port Richey, Trinity, Port Richey, Hudson and surrounding areas. Home Helpers®…we are Making Life Easier℠ (727)240-3059.

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