Usage of smart, internet-connected devices is becoming the norm amongst people of all ages—even seniors.1
For the elderly, advanced technology and high-tech devices make daily tasks easier and can enhance quality of life. With technology, seniors have the tools and assistance to be more independent.
use the internet every
day via smart phones.
own a tablet.
say they feel somewhat
or very confident using
Advances in technology now allow individuals to communicate effectively with their loved ones wherever they may be. Facetime and Skype have shaped the way we communicate with family and friends. Advancing camera capabilities, smartphone and tablet apps, and user-friendly access make it easier for seniors to maintain contact.
Video chatting is a great way to foster social connection among seniors who may not have as many opportunities to talk to others. Continued social interaction with friends and family members could also help seniors with mental and cognitive health.
Believe it or not, many seniors have active social media accounts. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter help seniors keep in touch with their children, grandchildren and friends. For caregivers and family members, social media is also a great way to keep tabs on how elderly family members are faring.
With the growing popularity of live videos and social media "stories," family members can get real-time updates on what what their elders are up to, as well as insights into any health and wellness issues.
GPS technology can help seniors find their way around town with easy-to-use apps compatible with smartphones and Apple Watches. For friends and family members, GPS technology can also help keep track of each others location.
This could be especially beneficial for seniors with dementia or other cognitive impairments.
Wearable tracking technology is also capable of sending real-time GPS locations to friends and family, offering safety and peace of mind.
Rideshare companies such as Lyft have been branching out from their competitors to provide features for ease of use among all users.6 Seniors can use apps to schedule rides to hospitals or medical appointments, helping them avoid unnecessary taxi or ambulance costs.
Seniors don’t have to rely on friends or relatives for transportation either, which could mean huge boosts in independence and confidence, as well as more flexibility and opportunities for social interaction.
Technology has advanced to help protect and save the lives of many seniors. Fall detection devices can sense when seniors are in dangerous situations, or when vitals change. With these systems, seniors can alert caretakers or contact help by simply pressing a button on a wristband or a necklace.
Some wearable alert systems can even detect falls without the senior needing to press a button at all.7 Emergency, family or friends are automatically alerted to ensure that the senior is okay.
Fall detection necklaces aren’t the be-all and end-all of senior medical alert systems. Innovative wearable technology can automatically alert emergency systems and caregivers to a fall—and can event prevent future falls by monitoring seniors' health changes.
Financial exploitation is one of the most common types of elder abuse in the United States. In fact, one in nine seniors say they have been financially neglected or exploited in the past year.8 From "get rich quick" schemes to dishonest relatives, financial exploitation is a huge concern for seniors. In this age of advanced technology, seniors have the tools to protect themselves financially.
1 in 9 seniors say they have been financially neglected or exploited in the past year.
Apps such as EverSafe alert seniors and their relatives of any unusual financial activity within their bank accounts.9 The app boasts "age-friendly software" to make the app user-friendly for the elderly.
Thanks to modern technology, seniors don't need to rely on brightly colored pill boxes to remember to take medication. There are many smart devices, apps, and wearables that can make sure seniors are taking the right pills at the right time. For example, the AdhereTech internet-connected smart pill bottle glows blue when it’s time to take medication, and if the senior misses a dose, a chime goes off to remind them.11 It can also alert caregivers or family members to missed doses. Apps such as WebMD feature intuitive medication reminders, and can be installed on wearable devices like the Apple Watch. The WebMD app displays on-screen instructions for taking medication, as well as the medication's name and dosage.12
of seniors would prefer to age in their own homes instead of care centers.13
Meals on Wheels was the original senior food delivery service, bringing meals to those unable to prepare their own food. But the ease and immediacy of food delivery apps and home grocery delivery can have huge benefits to seniors as well—and there are many reliable apps and local services out there.
SApps including Uber Eats, GrubHub, Postmates, and Seamless are expanding into more areas of the United States, making it easier for seniors to quickly order food if they are incapable of preparing it themselves, on days when they might not have in-home care services, or if they are experiencing physical difficulties.
For most seniors, independence is very important. Home assistive devices can help seniors handle everyday tasks, and can be especially helpful for seniors who may have cognitive or motor impairments.
These devices include LED lighting, auto stove shut-off systems, smart thermostats, home security systems, smart outlets, smart smoke or carbon monoxide detectors, smart garage openers, or smart cookware.14
Smart devices such as Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Apple HomePod can be extremely helpful to seniors of all ages. Though they might take some getting used to at first, virtual assistants can help seniors in all facets of everyday life—from reading a recipe out loud while preparing dinner, to compiling a dictated grocery list.
In homes equipped with smart devices, such as smart thermostats or locks, virtual assistants can regulate temperature or increase security via voice commands. Seniors can also call their family members or friends without having to dial a phone or remember a phone number. These devices allow seniors to listen to audiobooks out loud, hear weather forecasts, and stay updated on recent events.
Nearly 20% of seniors aged 70+ say they find it difficult to — or cannot — live independently and accomplish daily tasks without assistance from caregivers or community resources.15
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