Post submitted by Jayde Lynch
Today, approximately half of adults aged 65 and older own smartphones, which is more than double the number that did so six years ago, according to statistics by the Pew Research Center. Smartphone ownership has more than doubled in the past five years, which shows that people are embracing the latest mobile technology at a faster pace than ever before, and seniors have not been left behind. As a result, many tech companies are inventing various smartphone technologies targeting older people. From dating apps to tools designed to improve healthcare, there are many smartphone technologies available today that can make life easier and more enjoyable for the elderly.
Smartphone technologies for healthcare
As we grow older, healthcare becomes a vital part of life. We need to watch our health more closely to avoid illnesses or to catch them early enough to treat them. In the past, seniors had to go to hospitals for routine checkups like blood pressure and heart rate. Now, they can perform such checkups in the comfort of their homes using their smartphones and wearable tech like the Fitbit smartwatch. Another way that smartphones can help the elderly improve healthcare is by helping them manage their medications. According to the CDC, 40 percent of older adults had to take five or more prescription drugs almost daily over 30 days. For most, it can be challenging to manage medications, especially for those with memory impairment. This can lead to missed doses, overdose or even taking the wrong medicine. Luckily, there are apps like Pillboxie and MedCoach that can ensure that seniors always take the right medication at the right time.
Managing assistive technologies
Many assistive technologies have been invented to make life for the elderly easier, especially for those who choose to remain at home as they get older. Most of these technologies are paired with smartphone apps for easier management. A great example of an assistive technology that keeps older people safe at home is the Personal Emergency Response System (PERS). The system comprises of a small transmitter with a button worn by the senior that connects to their smartphone. At the press of the button, a signal is transmitted automatically to an emergency call center to send help to the senior’s location immediately. Another assistive technology that works well with smartphones is smart doorbells. Seniors who use wheelchairs can install a doorbell that shows them who’s at the door on their smartphone,and a smart lock to control access into their home.
Managing home care services
Older adults who prefer to age in place sometimes need a caregiver to tend to their needs. Caregiver applications offer a wide range of services both for seniors and their caregivers. For example, caregivers can quickly and easily manage their daily schedules to ensure that they are always available when needed. They can also track recurring tasks like organizing and taking medications, ensuring that they are always done on time. Monitoring symptoms of long-term health issues is also easier when you know where and when to check.
Staying connected to the outside world
About 28 percent of older adults in the US live alone, according to the National Institute on Aging. As a result of lack of human contact, many seniors suffer from loneliness and social isolation, which puts them at a higher risk of developing various physical and mental conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, anxiety and depression. Thankfully, this doesn’t have to be the case for those who own smartphones. For example, through social media, seniors can interact with their friends, loved ones and even strangers. They can share their views on matters that are important to them, which makes them feel like they are still a valued member of the community. There are also dating apps like eHarmony or SeniorMatch, where elderly individuals looking for love and companionship can find each other.
The number of older Americans aged 65 and older today is at an all-time high, and thanks to improvements in medical care systems, it is expected to keep rising. As seniors move towards more digitally connected lives, it will be exciting to see how many more ways smartphones will be used to make their lives better.