By Sarah Allen Nucleus Life
Studies have shown that increasing or maintaining the ability for seniors to socialize with friends and family can have profound effects on their health and longevity. In 2012, UnitedHealthcare performed a study of 100 centenarians (100@100) and found that staying socially engaged is just as important to healthy aging as genetics or other healthy living habits.
However, if in-person meetings are difficult or not possible for some loved ones, technology can offer some truly viable solutions. There are plenty of ways caregivers can use technology to ensure those they care for stay connected.
Maintain Social Connections with Video Chat and Social Media
Social media can be a great way to keep seniors connected. Being able to share thoughts or comments on platforms like Facebook or Twitter is a growing trend with the senior community and should be encouraged!
There are great hardware solutions that can be taken advantage of as well. If possible, try to set up a Nucleus smart home intercom system. It’s an easy, senior-friendly device that enables video chat with anyone in the family who has a device of their own or the app! They only need to worry about hitting one button and they can instantly get in touch with their grandkids or even call for help in an emergency situation.
Use Video Games to Keep Mind and Body Active
As time goes by, the stigma of video games being for children only has been going away. Studies continue to show the health benefits of playing video games at any age, and there are plenty of benefits for seniors especially.
For example, playing video games from time to time can actually improve vision. A study by Ontario Canada’s McMaster University showed that elderly patients with cataracts reported an improvement in vision after playing first person shooter games like Halo or Call of Duty. The rapid eye movement and focus of attention helped strengthen the eye and resulted in better vision.
Some video games encourage physical exercise as well. The older Wii games are a perfect example of ways to get seniors up and moving around while having fun! Sports games like bowling, golf and tennis encourage full body movement which can increase blood flow and improve coordination. As an added bonus, these kinds of games also encourage social interaction and positive interaction with others.
Adding some games to a daily or weekly routine can be a great way for caregivers to promote overall health.
Utilize Apps for Medication Tracking
Ensuring that seniors can live as independently as possible is a key aspect to caregiving. Their ability to track and take medications correctly is a huge part of being able to maintain independence. Caregivers should research and download the best apps they can find to help seniors easily track and manage their medications.
The number of these kinds of apps that exist can make finding the right one an overwhelming task. Luckily, The University of Sydney tackled this very problem and studied 272 different medication tracking apps and ranked them based on functionality and ease of use. The apps that scored highest were Medisafe Pill Reminder & Medication Tracker (free), Alar Meds (Android only), My Heart My Life, and MedicineList+.
All these apps excelled at offering multiple features, and were sited as being easy to use by seniors. Whichever app you choose, ensuring those in your care have the right technology to help track their medications is key.
Have you started using technology as a tool for caregiving? What technologies would you recommend? Let us know!
About Nucleus Life: Nucleus is a family communication device that connects you with the people you love, whether they’re downstairs or across the country.