How Seniors are Using Technology to Gracefully Age-in-place

Medicare Benefits Solutions
Jun 24, 2022

Modern seniors who are adapting to new health challenges as they age are much more tech-savvy than previous generations. Many people 65 and older are open to innovation and are using technology to enroll in Medicare, manage their health, and stay connected socially.

Seniors who want to avoid assisted living due to chronic illness or injury may even use innovative tools to help them live more independently at home.

Closing the Digital Tech Gap

Some people mistakenly assume that older adults are not capable of understanding technical instruments. But technology resistance is not necessarily about computer literacy. There are valid concerns about data privacy and social media addiction, and many seniors simply question its value and whether learning how to navigate software is worth their time.

However, tech knowledge and skills seem to be growing among older adults. According to Pew Research, from 2019 to 2021 the percentage of people 65+ using YouTube increased from 38% to 49%. And, going back to 2012, only 13% of people 65 and older reported owning a smartphone compared to 61% in 2021.

Perhaps the gap is closing because companies are learning how to help seniors learn how to use new devices and software. There is also a growing awareness of the benefits of automation for senior citizens who want to age in place at home. Technology for elderly people can minimize health and safety concerns and offer peace of mind to the families of older adults living alone.

Seniors Aging in Place with Technology

In 2021, AARP conducted a survey on home and community preferences that found “about three-quarters of those 50+ would like to stay in their current homes or communities for as long as possible.”

Explore a few options for devices and services that serve as home safety and health-related tools. They can help you continue living in your own home and you may find that the benefits outweigh the time required for a learning curve.

The following are examples of technology that serve the needs of older adults and the people supporting them.

Emergency Tech for Older Adults

Emergency devices like medical alert fall prevention systems can be a blessing for older adults and distant caregivers. Here are a few examples:

  • Lifeline, formerly Philips Lifeline, with AutoAlert provides a help button you can wear around your neck or wrist. If you fall, the device connects you to a response center for 24/7/365 customer support.
  • MobileHelp offers a device with a satellite tracking system you can use inside or outside the home. If you press the help button, the response team arranges medical assistance. It then informs your emergency contact of your location details, including the hospital, via phone and email.
  • LifeAlert is an alert system with a help button on a wristband or pendant. LifeAlert can set up your cell phone to connect with their monitoring center. If you have a smartphone, you can download the company’s app on Google Play or the Apple Store.

Fitness Tech for Seniors

Exercise is important to people of all ages, but as we get older, it’s vital that we stay active and strong. People who are living with certain illnesses, such as prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes, can prevent more serious complications by committing to regular fitness activities.

Fitness trackers offer tech for seniors who want to stay active and monitor their health and wellness progress. Here are a few picks from the 2022 Seniors Mobility list of best fitness trackers for seniors:

  • Garmin Descent Mk2i is noted as easy to use and waterproof.
  • Lintelek Fitness Tracker is a basic device that enables you to monitor your heart rate, link to your smartphone and track up to 14 types of activities.
  • Apple Watch Series 3 is touted as user-friendly, comfortable, easy to read and lightweight.

Some fitness trackers will even let you share your fitness information with friends or family, making it an opportunity to connect socially. Before starting any exercise routine, it’s a good idea to consult with your doctor to review any restrictions or limitations you may have due to illness or injury.

Communication Tech for Seniors

Video chatting devices are a great way to stay in touch with friends and family members near and far. Facetime, Skype and Zoom are a few examples of easy-to-use and readily available software.

Video technology for seniors also provides an alternative to visiting the doctor via a telehealth appointment. While virtual doctor visits became more prominent during the height of the COVID pandemic, many offices have continued the practice.

Medical practices typically have their preferred software for virtual e-health visits. They will email you the link before the session, and you can usually connect with them after setting up an account with your personal information.

Access to telehealth allows seniors to ask questions about their health without having to arrange transportation to and from a doctor’s office. Telehealth is also a great option if you’re ill and are worried about possible exposure to other illnesses.

Technology for Senior Citizens to Help with Medication

Understandably, adult children worry about their elderly parents who take multiple medications at different times. Devices like automated pill dispensers provide some assurance of accurate dosage and timing.

The following are suggestions of the top pill organizers and smart dispensers to assist with medication management:

  • Hero Automatic Medication Dispenser has audible and visual reminders for you as well as an app that sends a reminder to your caregiver. There is an option for locking the drugs and using a personal identification number (PIN) for unlocking at the appropriate time.
  • The e-pill Voice can be ideal for people with memory issues, and a caregiver can lock it with a key. Voice and light alarms alert you when to take your medication. Press a marked area of the dispenser at a preset time, and the pills become available.
  • MedaCube, which has a programming touch screen, prepares and delivers doses at the right time. You can also set up alerts to send notifications to your caregiver if there are any missed doses or when the dispenser needs to be refilled.

Senior Technology for Healthcare

User-friendly senior technology makes it easy to search online for the best Medicare plan based on your healthcare needs. With a plan finder tool, you can filter search results by location, price and other criteria. You can also compare your current plan to the plan finder recommendations, then choose the best plan that meets your needs.

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