More and more seniors are using smartphones, according to recent data from the Pew Research Center. Over four in ten seniors owned a smartphone in 2017, which is more than double the results of the survey in 2013.
About two-thirds of people aged 65 and older use the internet. More than half of them are connected via broadband. With technology increasingly becoming an essential part of the life of older adults, shouldn’t you be getting your senior loved one a smart device, too? Here’s a list of gadgets your senior family member can use at home or in the nursing facility.
Smartphones with Assistants
Voice assistants like Google Home and Alexa can help seniors play their favorite music, make phone calls, and do other things with simple voice commands. They’re especially important for older adults who have mobility problems. When they’re in bed, they don’t have to stand to get weather or news updates. They only need to ask, “What’s the weather like?” or “What are the headlines for today?”
If your elderly loved ones are suffering from tremors, they don’t have to use the remote control to switch television channels. A simple voice command, such as “Alexa, change the channel” can do it, as long as they have a smart TV. They may also enjoy their favorite novels in the form of audiobooks, read aloud through the speaker system.
Smartphones might be great all-around companions, but they’re too small for most older adults. Tablets have a bigger screen that’s more comfortable to use. They also have the same apps that smartphones have. A larger display means that videos are more comfortable to watch and texts are easier to read. Tablets like Amazon Kindle and Apple iPad are especially great e-book readers with their simple designs and crystal-clear screens.
Smartwatches from Apple and Samsung seem to be on everyone’s wrists these days. It’s for a good reason. Apart from functioning as a standard timekeeper, these watches connect directly to your main smart device. They inform you about your messages, the weather, and the news.
For seniors, a smartwatch is a great tool for waking them up in the morning and keeping tabs of their activities. Apart from playing a loud tune, the watch vibrates when there’s an alarm. They may recognize the alert as a signal to get up or check their to-do list. It can be helpful for seniors with declining memory.
Smartwatches can also serve as microphones when they’re connected to a smart speaker. This way, older adults with soft voices can issue commands even when they’re out of range for the main device to hear.
Units like the Apple Watch 4 have a heart rate and ECG monitor. The device has fall detection that asks the user if it should call emergency services after a hard fall. If the person has been immobile for a minute, the watch automatically calls 911. It also sends messages to the user’s emergency contacts, informing them of the possible fall and its location.
It’s great to see that technology manufacturers are making devices more accessible for senior citizens. However, you need to teach your elderly loved one how to use their brand new smartwatch or voice assistant, if they’re not willing to explore its features on their own. With enough patience and practice, they’ll have a blast listening to their favorite music on demand or scrolling through their digital e-book library.