It’s not talking into your shoe, but today’s technology has seniors getting smart!
Living through a pandemic has somewhat forced our hands when it comes to engaging with digital technology while ageing in place. Smartphones, using Zoom and QR codes, and entertainment platforms like Netflix became part of everyday life for seniors wanting to stay connected with loved ones and navigate the world as we now know it. Home Care Assistance are able to support you or your loved one when it comes to ‘connecting’ to the digital world!
Whilst the number of seniors saying that digital services had made life easier for them rose from 71 per cent in 2018 to 87 percent in 2021, the level of frustration also increased alongside this 1 . Coming to grips with new ways of navigating the digital world when none of this technology had even been thought about when you were growing up presents its challenges. However, there are great educational resources, in home care and support available to help Aussie seniors learn how to use technology so that the benefits of connection, convenience, information, and safety it brings can be enjoyed at any age.
It is easy as someone ageing in place to be intimidated by technology. Everyone approaches new technology in different ways and while younger age groups are quick to embrace new things, for some older people whose internet journey typically began later in life, keeping up has been more challenging. Technology classes designed specifically for older people can be a wonderful place to start. Your local library is likely to offer free classes and tech support sessions with patient and knowledgeable tech support officers. These classes enable seniors to pick up modern technology at their own pace, and this can be further supported with not only transport to get to and from classes, but also to supplement your learning or accompany you to classes as part of your routine care.
There is certainly an expectation these days that everyone has and can successfully use the internet. Older people are likely to access the internet at home on a PC or tablet, perhaps with the support of a loved one or our in-home care services, but most also use a mobile phone to go online when out and about. The range of activities that older people undertake online has increased in recent years, with the majority of those aged 65 and over successfully banking and paying bills, viewing video content, and buying goods and services over the internet 2.
But using these devices can take some getting used to. Making your smartphone or tablet easier to use is something that our in-home care workers love to help with at Home Care Assistance. Our aged care workers can help you to customise your device, set up shortcuts to things you are wanting to use regularly, adjust font sizes, and ensure ringer tones and volumes work well for you to increase comfort, accessibility and ease of use. You can practice with your in-home care worker to increase your confidence and competence while ageing in place.
Using a smartphone to access the internet enables people ageing in place to keep connected to loved ones and access information from wherever they are. Navigating directions, even if out for a walk, is easily supported with things like Google maps, not to mention the convenience of finding information on anything really with a simple “google” action. Your smartphone can also be a great health support when used with a fitness device like a Fitbit. These digital health trackers keep an eye on your activity levels, heart rates, sleeping patterns, and even detect falls and send alerts to your in-home health care worker or loved one for help.
Smartphones and tablets can also be heaps of fun and offer social and cognitive stimulation from the comfort of your own home while ageing in place, or on-the-go. The use of Connectivity apps like Whatsapp, Messenger and Facetime allows video calls and group sharing of chat messages in real time. Your favourite music from any era is only a music app away, and books are all at the ready whether you want to read on a screen or listen to an audiobook. Online games like Solitaire or crosswords can be enjoyed on your own but can also be played in virtual groups like Wordle or Words with Friends to add a little competitive edge to your gaming and keep you connected with others.
Additional technology around the home can also be helpful for seniors ageing in place. Devices such as Google Home or Alexa can be your virtual in-home care assistant when your home care assistance care worker has left for the day. These smart technology devices can control heating and cooling, lighting, monitor security systems, turn on your TV or oven and so much more. These virtual assistants can also b great for health monitoring, giving medication reminders, or making emergency calls. For seniors with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia, virtual assistants can support things like music therapy by providing an effortless way to play music on demand.
One thing is for sure, we live in a digital world and technology will continue to evolve in ways we can’t even imagine yet. Finding the right balance of technology for you now and as it changes can really add value to your world while ageing in place. Social connection, health support, safety alerts, convenience measures can all be experienced thanks to technology, but it doesn’t have to be hard to set-up and use. Home Care Assistance Care Workers can assist you with your daily activities and ensure you are getting the most out of what our digital world has to offer, supporting you in a number of ways while keeping you living independently at home.
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As a leading age care provider, Home Care Assistance offers tailored in-home care services for older Australians, enabling them to live happier and healthier lives in the comfort of their own homes.
We offer private and government subsidised Care Packages and have office locations that are a registered NDIS provider. Our Care Workers undergo extensive training in order to deliver unmatched in-home aged care services where people can continue ageing in place. We are proud ambassadors of the My Aged Care government funded aged care program, enabling Australians to successfully navigate the process and gain approval for in-home care support packages. Home Care Assistance offers hourly care, specialised care, Alzheimer’s and Dementia care, hospital to home care, and 24 hour in home care.