Note: This guest post has been submitted by Sarah Allen with NucleusLife.
Studies have shown increasing or maintaining socialization with friends and family can have profound effects on seniors' 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 for some loved ones, technology offers a few truly viable solutions. Here are a few ways caregivers can stay in touch with tech.
Maintain Social Connections with Video Chat and Social Media
Social media is a great way to keep seniors connected. Being able to share thoughts or comments on platforms like Facebook or Twitter is a growing trend within the senior community—and one that should be encouraged!
Take advantage of hardware solutions as well: If possible, try to set up a Nucleus smart home intercom system. It’s an easy, senior-friendly device which enables video chat with anyone in the family who has a device of their own, or the app! By pressing just one button, older adults can instantly get in touch with grandkids or even call for help in an emergency situation.
Use Video Games to Keep Mind and Body Active
Video games are no longer for children only. Studies continue to show the health benefits of playing video games at any age, and there are plenty of benefits for seniors especially.
In fact, playing video games from time to time can actually improve vision. A study by Ontario Canada’s McMaster University showed senior 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.
Adding games to a daily or weekly routine is a great way for caregivers to promote overall health.
Utilize Apps for Medication Tracking
Ensuring seniors can live as independently as possible is a key aspect of caregiving. Their ability to track and take medications correctly is a huge part of maintaining independence. Caregivers should research and download the best apps they can find to help seniors accomplish this task.
Finding the right app when there are so many available can be an overwhelming task. Fortunately, The University of Sydney tackled this challenge, studying 272 different medication tracking apps and ranking 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+.
Have you started using technology as a tool for caregiving? What technologies would you recommend? Let us know!