Modern technology has paved the way for multi-functional devices like the smartwatch and the smartphone. Computers are increasingly faster, more portable, and higher-powered than ever before. With all of these revolutions, technology has also made our lives easier, faster, better, and more fun.
In this article, we’ll cover how technology has enhanced the quality of life for seniors lives in and out of the home. Technology’s advancements have provided quicker ways to communicate through instant messaging apps and social media platforms. Seniors are able to keep in touch with loved ones, while caregivers have new avenues to check in on aging parents or patients.
Technology has also given us brand new devices in recent decades, like smartwatches, tablets, and voice assistant devices. With these devices, we can do things like transfer money instantly and make purchases for everything from clothes, food delivery, groceries, furniture, and more. Technology has changed how we entertain ourselves, meet each other, and consume all types of media. It’s made fun advancements, but it’s also made important advancements in safety when it comes to home security and medical devices.
Those struggling with hearing loss can now benefit from hearing aids, or TV Listening Devices that allow them to comfortably listen to their favorite programs with ease.
Especially for seniors, these devices are providing the freedom to age in place, to live independently, and to continue moving through everyday life with peace of mind. It opens up new opportunities by helping with safety, mobility and connectivity. Medical advancements have made it so you can stay proactive with conditions like diabetes and arthritis. With new medical alert devices, seniors can also get help at the push of a button and keep in touch with loved ones no matter where they are in the world.
Since there are so many new technologies to keep track of, it can seem overwhelming to adapt. However, all of these new technologies are designed to make your life easier. Even though it may not feel intuitive, learning how to use smart phones, smartwatches and voice assistants just takes a little bit of instruction and practice.
Four-in-ten seniors now own smartphones, more than double the share that did in 2013.
When it comes to the way we communicate overall, modern technology has had a powerful influence.
Digital technology has changed what people term as “media.” The influence of new technology on media is apparent since a media company isn’t necessarily a news platform anymore. A media company is now any company that helps pass information across the globe, including social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
The amount of active web users globally is now near 3.2 billion people. That is almost half of the world’s population. Every day, two million smartphones are sold around the world, and the amount of information we share shared on social media networks is phenomenal.
Social media isn’t the only big statement digital technology has made. Neither is social media the only way technology has had an impact in everyone’s life.
Modern technology has made it possible for the discovery of many multi-functional devices like the smartwatch and the smartphone.
Before mobile technology, you had to search through a dictionary to understand the meaning of a word. Now you can look words up in a dictionary app or quickly search the Internet. Beyond words, you can search for practically anything on the Internet using search engines like Google and Bing.
There is no denying that the future of technology will continue to revolutionize our lives. In a few years, driverless cars may be the norm for everyone, and robots will be commonplace in factories. Future technology is sure to transform our lives in unbelievable ways, but here we highlight the many common ways technology is changing our lives today.
Technology Has Changed How We Communicate
In addition to social media platforms, there are also many other applications specifically designed for communication.
How has technology helped communication? The advancement of technology has made communication unbelievably fast and convenient. It’s incredible to look back and see how much easier communication has gotten over the years. Communication tools offer one of the most significant examples of how quickly technology has evolved.
In the past, writing a letter, sending faxes, or finding a wired telephone was the best way to communicate remotely with someone. To connect with someone in society today, you have many more efficient options at your fingertips. You can send them a message on social media, text them, video chat, email, or put a call through.
These new methods can help you keep in touch with loved ones, especially if you’re aging in place or living alone. Video chat helps caregivers check on seniors who may not need continual check-ups in person. Social media is a great way to keep in touch in general, allowing you to see what your loved ones are doing through the photos and updates they post.
Who hasn’t heard of Facebook, Twitter, or Skype? They’ve become household names. Even if you don’t use these platforms, they’re a part of everyday life and not going away anytime soon. Regardless of your location, messages via social media get delivered on these platforms at the same rate and speed whether the recipient is right beside you or on the other side of the globe. You can also send voice messages through these platforms, and it is delivered in nanoseconds.
The way we use mobile phones has changed dramatically as well. In addition to social media platforms, there are numerous other applications specifically designed for communication. If social media isn’t for you, WhatsApp and other messaging apps enable you to quickly message family and friends and even make calls over Wi-Fi.
You can email through your phone or send SMS text messages through your mobile provider, but many smartphones have their own messaging platforms built directly into the phone. On Apple iPhones, iMessage allows you communicate with anyone else who has an iPhone for free using WiFi or cellular data. iMessage has gotten increasingly sophisticated over the years. Sending photos, videos and emojis are just the basics with what you can do, and the platform has now expanded to include gaming, voice notes, and various app integrations to send information more quickly.
Messaging Apps can be a great option if you have friends in other countries or if you don’t have a phone plan.
The Evolution Of Medical Alert System Technology
Within the last decade, medical emergency response systems have seen some impressive advancements, both in terms of technology and in safety measures that have made seniors feel safer than ever before. One of the earliest and most important advancements has been the introduction of mobile medical alert systems. These systems allow users the freedom to leave their homes and live their normal lives, while still having the peace of mind that emergency help is available in case of an emergency. Several devices, such as the Medical Guardian Mobile 2.0, allow users to set up a network of emergency contacts who can also view their whereabouts and be notified in case of an emergency.
Recent advancements in medical alert technology also include a built-in fall detection feature. With this feature, special sensors in your medical alert pendant automatically detect when a fall occurs and send an alert to your monitoring call center. With new GPS and cellular technology, the operator can then determine where you fell, regardless of whether you can communicate your whereabouts or know the address. This technology allows the operators to then send emergency medical assistance to you more quickly, thus providing a great sense of security for yourself and your loved ones.
Hearing Aids Improve Quality Of Life
The use of hearing aids allows people to maintain a happy, healthy life by reducing the strain caused by reduced hearing ability. According to a study facilitated by the Better Hearing Institute, eight out of 10 hearing aid users report being satisfied with the changes that their hearing aids have made in their lives. Hearing aids allow users to engage in common daily activities that would otherwise be far more difficult – or even impossible– such as talking, watching TV and listening to music. Hearing aids can also help you have a better quality of life by assisting you in:
- Identifying speech and language in voices
- Being alert to what’s happening around you
- Avoiding the need for assistance from others at all times
- Having a sense of control over your life
Communication has even evolved beyond mobile devices and personal computers. We can now send messages through tablets, voice assistants, smartwatches, and more. The smartwatch is a relatively new technology that captures almost all the capabilities of smartphones in a convenient touch-screen watch. You can receive notifications, track your activity, set alarms, and even call and text directly through these wearable devices.
Smartwatches can also serve as a way to communicate with emergency responders. Medical alert companies like MobileHelp and Medical Guardian have partnered with smartwatch developers or created proprietary technologies to provide seniors the safety of a medical alert right on their wrist. These watches include many of the same features as a typical smartwatch, such as activity tracking and personal messaging.
Even the makers of popular smartwatches on the market outside of the medical alert industry providing people the ability to communicate quickly in the case of an emergency. The Apple Watch Series 4 and its subsequent versions have built-in fall detection, which will automatically alert emergency assistance. In addition to its automatic response capabilities, Apple Watch technology also allows users to initiate an emergency call from any location worldwide manually. Apple’s Medical ID Health app can provide emergency responders access to your medical conditions and designated emergency contacts.
Technology allows us to communicate instantly with people in our neighborhoods or around the globe. This innovation not only keeps us connected but can help us live safer and healthier lives.
MAKE SURE YOUR LOVED ONES ARE SAFE AT HOME
Updating your home is the first step toward aging in place comfortably. Professional home care services help seniors stay healthy at home.
Technology Has Changed How We Pay Bills And Transfer Money
No more do you have to enter a bank to withdraw money or transfer it to someone. Many banks have already made transactions possible online and accessible to people everywhere. Companies like PayPal and Venmo have created platforms where people can send and receive money from any location using the Internet.
Paying bills has also become simplified thanks to technology. You can automatically schedule payments when they are due rather than having to remember to mail a check. With your cell phone and a banking app, you can manage all of your necessary bill payments online.
Setting up automated payments through a banking app is especially helpful for seniors who may have memory problems. Caregivers or loved ones can help set up recurring bill payments so there’s never a question if a bill will be paid on time or not.
It’s even simple to pay for things using only your smartphone. With Apple Pay and Google Wallet, you don’t need to carry cash when you go shopping. These apps securely link your bank account to your mobile phone. The same machines you use to swipe your credit card at the store now allow mobile payments from your phone.
Keeping up with all of these innovations may seem like a hassle, but these technologies can simplify your life to help you worry about fewer things. With all of the payment capabilities available these days, you could leave home without your wallet and be just fine.
Technology Has Changed How We Watch TV
Technology has changed how we watch television today. Cable companies are continuously rolling out new features allowing viewers to pause and rewind live TV and record their favorite programs to watch later.
With your mobile devices, you can watch, or “stream” the tv shows you want, when you want, and how you want. Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video all offer access to cable TV shows and original content for a low monthly price. Disney is also getting into the streaming game, with the recent announcement of their new streaming service Disney+. Streaming is just another way to watch your favorite shows, but it uses the Internet instead of cable. It can be a more cost-effective way to watch television. Unlike traditional cable tv packages, you don’t have to pay for large cable bundles with channels you don’t use. Streaming services offer movies and TV shows that are grouped by genre, making it easy to find your favorites.
With streaming, you can watch on the go – all you need is an Internet connection. Many of the streaming services we listed above have mobile applications that allow you to download content directly to your device. This option allows you to watch even if you go somewhere without Internet access.
More and more TVs these days are even designed for streaming. “Smart TVs” have Wi-Fi capability, which allows them to connect to streaming services using the Internet. Smart TVs will enable you to access more programs and even save money. With a Smart TV, you can access both streaming services and cable channels. To save money, you can also opt-out of cable altogether. It all depends on your budget and what you enjoy watching.
New TVs are also capable of displaying picture quality far beyond what you’ve experienced in the past. A standard definition TV displays 720 horizontal pixels. Today, it’s more common for TVs to have 4k resolution, which is 4,000 horizontal pixels. That means TVs today show a picture with nearly 6x more definition than standard-definition TVs making for a much better viewing experience and can make your favorite shows and movies that much more enjoyable.
Seniors who suffer from hearing loss can benefit from using a TV Listening Device that provides superior sound quality, enhancing the overall TV viewing experience.
How Has Technology Changed Other Forms Of Entertainment?
Paper books aren’t going anywhere. However, e-reader devices have made reading easier when you’re on the go. An e-reader device like a Kindle or Nook can hold thousands of books without taking up space in your home. It’s a great way to have multiple options on hand if you’re going on a trip or vacation.
Audio books are an especially great way to enjoy classic and new books alike. Though you’re not reading, you’re still able to consume a great story through an audiobook. For aging seniors, audio books are great when it becomes more challenging to read the small type in books.
When it comes to music, technology has also helped consolidate the devices we use. We can access our music no matter where we are. In the same vein as books, vinyl records, CDs, cassettes, and other physical albums will always have their place. They serve a unique purpose in enjoying music. However, just as it’s possible to stream movies and TV shows, you can also stream your favorite songs and albums.
Platforms like Spotify and Apple Music have made it possible to access millions of artists all at a monthly fee. While it isn’t the same as owning your favorite album, streaming allows you the opportunity to listen to music easily. The number of devices with music streaming capabilities continues to grow. You can use your smartphone, computer, car, portable speakers, and even TVs to listen to your favorite songs.
Technology Has Changed How We Date
How has the Internet improved our lives? One way is through the ease of meeting new people.
With the proliferation of online dating sites, you can register on a website, find a match, and start to communicate at your own pace. Many people don’t meet face to face until they decide there is a connection. This vetting helps you prioritize your time and protect your privacy while still getting to know someone new.
With the proliferation of online dating sites, you can register on a website, find a match and start to communicate at your own pace.
For better or worse, technology has also made it possible for you to find other people’s personal information on the Internet through social media. You can gain access to the information you want to know about a particular person. Some people who aren’t used to social media may view this as an unnecessary new part of life. However, it’s helpful to get to know people and keep up with them through busy schedules. Especially for seniors, online dating is useful during a stage of life where it’s typically more challenging to meet new people.
Online dating platforms have millions of registered users and have received lots of good reviews from every part of the world. Dating platforms have helped people connect with their matches in a way where neither party has to waste the other person’s time. It is comfortable, straightforward, safe, and it works.
Technology Has Changed How We Live In and Outside of Our Homes
The internet of things allows everyday objects to be synced to the internet through Wi-Fi.
How Does The Internet Of Things Work With Home Devices?
All of the technology mentioned above has been made possible because of the Internet. New websites, platforms, and applications will continue to revolutionize the way we live our lives. However, the latest Internet technology isn’t always accessible on screens, and it’s called the Internet of Things (IoT). The Internet of Things allows everyday objects to be synced up to the Internet through Wi-Fi. This synching makes their usual functions accessible remotely and automated through data available on the world wide web. It may sound complicated, but it’s the same technology we’ve been using for years, just now accessible through different objects.
The Internet of Things can help to significantly improve aging in place and at-home safety, especially for seniors living with conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and arthritis. IoT devices are designed to monitor health at home, aid with mobility, and provide continuous monitoring.
Some examples of objects that use IoT today include driverless cars, fitness trackers like Fitbit, thermostats, and doorbells. Objects that use IoT are also commonly referred to as smart objects (think of smart TVs).
We’ll use the example of a smart thermostat to describe how it works. By connecting to the Internet, you’re able to use a smart thermostat remotely through your computer or smartphone. These systems usually have their own applications that you can open and control no matter where you are. For example, what if you’d like to cool the house down while you’re away? All you would have to do is open the smart thermostat app to tell it what to do.
Because these devices are so “smart,” you usually don’t need to do much when using them. The sensors on these thermostats are specifically designed to optimize your home for energy efficiency. Once you set your desired temperature, the thermostat can work on its own to keep your home at the best temperature. The thermostat won’t waste energy by staying on longer than needed.
Using Technology For Shopping
When you’re too busy or don’t want to leave home, online shopping is an easy way to buy what you need. You’re only a couple clicks away from getting the things you need thanks to the many options for online retail. There is no hassle and no need to make several trips to different stores.
If you aren’t as mobile as you used to be, online shopping makes it so everything you need can be delivered directly to your doorstep. While we still encourage as much daily exercise as possible, it can be too hectic and even hazardous sometimes for seniors to be out running so many errands.
Your average yard sale is even now online. With websites like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace, you can browse listings from people in your area. These are people who are looking to get rid of their used furniture, clothes, appliances, and more. Using these websites, you can view items based on what you need and your budget. Just like the technologies we listed above, these online marketplaces use secure payment methods that don’t require cash.
Using Voice Assistants
If smart devices seem overwhelming to you, there may be an easy solution: voice assistants. These include Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple Siri. With a voice assistant, you can control all of the smart devices in your home and access the Internet by speaking voice commands. It’s as easy to use as having a conversation.
When it comes to shopping, these devices allow you to create a shopping list out loud and then have it automatically transferred to your phone. This makes the whole process easier for seniors with mobility issues with writing or who would rather speak out loud than make a list on a phone. Many of these devices even integrate directly with online shops. With the Amazon Alexa, you can immediately make Amazon purchases without ever having to go online.
To make everything in your home easier to access, you can integrate your voice assistant with any smart device to make it accessible via your voice. If your home needs temperature adjusting or you want to turn some lights off, you can do it all through a series of simple voice commands.
They’re also handy to have inside your home for one of the most basic uses of the Internet – finding information. All you need to do is ask your voice assistant a question, and it will give you an answer found online.
Most phones these days are also equipped with different versions of voice assistants. If you’re hesitant about purchasing a unique voice assistant device, try testing out the software that lives on your phone. You can ask it to set reminders and alerts through your phone without having to search through settings. For seniors, voice recognition software can significantly improve the ability to live independently by making everyday tasks easier, aiding with medication reminders, and simply providing a more accessible, intuitive way to use technology.
Using Technology For Food Delivery
A lot of the technology we’ve already described helps make our lives easier by saving time and effort. Another example of this type of technology is food delivery. We all lead busy lives that could use some extra time. The ability to have things brought to your home is especially helpful for seniors or those with disabilities or sickness. One aspect of our lives that we often take for granted is the ability to head over to the grocery store.
Food delivery can come in many different forms. Currently, many mobile apps allow you to order delivery from your favorite restaurants. We’re not talking about your standard pizza delivery. These apps pay people just like you to pick up takeout almost anywhere. A few examples of these apps include Postmates, Uber Eats, and DoorDash.
Many of these same apps and others offer grocery delivery, such as Instacart and Shipt. A lot of grocery stores like Walmart, Target, and Kroger even offer delivery or pick-up options. The best grocery delivery plans for seniors are helpful if you love to cook but can’t make it to the grocery store that often. It can also help if you find it difficult to leave the house but still want to make home-cooked meals.
MEAL KIT DELIVERY
Lastly, you can also use subscription-based food delivery companies to get meals sent to your doorstep every week. These come in different forms. For example, companies like Blue Apron and HelloFresh deliver meal kits with all the ingredients for a set of recipes. It’s like getting customized groceries delivered with step-by-step instructions. Meal kits can help seniors by cutting out a lot of the preparation needed to make a meal. You still might need to do a little additional cutting and preparing, but it won’t be as intensive as going to the grocery store and starting from scratch.
PRE-MADE MEAL DELIVERY
If you don’t cook, some companies that deliver pre-made meals. Some examples of these companies include Magic Kitchen, Silver Cuisine, and The Good Kitchen. While frozen tends to mean less nutritious, these companies have put a lot of time and research into developing delicious recipes. They still taste great after being reheated yet also contain the nutritional value for different needs, including vegetarians, people with diabetes, and seniors. These options remove the need for time-consuming grocery shopping and cooking.
For seniors, it’s common to have particular nutritional needs as you age and start to live with deficiencies or conditions like diabetes. Senior meal delivery companies make it easy to stay healthy without sacrificing your mobility or personal time.
Using Technology In Transportation
Driverless cars have been in development for years, but this technology has yet to become commonplace. When it does, it will lead to fewer accidents on the road. It will also make transportation more accessible to everyone. People will be able to use cars even if they have disabilities or live in areas without public transportation. Driverless cars will use sensors to understand when to brake, speed up, turn, and park.
Though this technology still has yet to be perfected, we’re already seeing examples of its early stages in most new cars today. Since the technology being used isn’t completely driverless yet, it’s called driver assist. Using cameras and sensors, this technology can help you park, detect blind spots, warn you if you’re merging into another lane, and even automate the entire parking process – even parallel parking.
Until the development of technology for driverless cars is ready, people will still be using planes, trains, and regular automobiles to travel. Technology has made some of these options more accessible. One of the most popular types of apps used today is for ride sharing. Popular ride sharing apps companies like Lyft and Uber. The technology in their apps allows people to hail a ride from anywhere, just like a taxi cab. The best part about these apps is that the driver is trackable from a GPS map. Rides are also accessible nearly everywhere, even in areas where there usually aren’t any taxis. The companies let everyday people with modern cars apply to become drivers. Once they pass a background test, they’re eligible to start giving rides through the app.
Some people are hesitant to take rides from strangers. For your security, the apps have rating systems in place to ensure the drivers are doing their jobs well. The companies also continually update their security measures to make sure riders are safe.
USING THE GIG ECONOMY
Transportation apps like these are also an excellent way for seniors to make some extra money through the gig economy. What is the gig economy? When you’re on the other side of the app as a driver, you can set your schedule to fit your lifestyle and take as many or as few rides as you’d like. Aside from money, taking on a gig job can help keep you active through using technology, communicating daily with customers, and getting out around your town.
Technology Has Changed How We Stay Safe
For seniors or people with disabilities, IoT devices are some of the best technologies for keeping them safe at home.
One of the best ways technology has changed our lives is in keeping us safer. Through technology, we’re living longer than ever before. While there have been countless technology advances in hospitals and medicine, there are also new technologies we can use at home. These enhance our everyday lives with safety and protection.
IoT Safety Devices
For seniors or people with disabilities, IoT devices are some of the best technologies for keeping them safe at home. One great example is fall detection technology. Through wearables or floor and bed sensors, small devices are capable of knowing when someone falls. Once these sensors go off, caregivers are alerted through intercoms or mobile alerts.
Medical Alert Systems
Outside of IoT devices, simple medical alerts can keep the elderly or disabled safe. At its most basic level, a medical alert is usually a base station that comes with a wearable emergency button. The user presses the button when they need assistance, and a caregiver or loved one nearby is alerted to check on them.
Medical alert systems come as either monitored or non-monitored devices. A non-monitored device works as we described above, and a series of numbers are pre-programmed as emergency contacts. With non-monitored devices, you won’t be put in touch with 911 responders unless your emergency contacts call them for you.
Companies like MobileHelp and Medical Guardian provide monitored medical alert systems. These companies provide the medical alert equipment while also hosting a staff of remote monitoring operators (either outsourced or in-house). Typically, you don’t have to pay for the equipment, but the companies require a monthly fee to be able to provide the monitoring service.
Monitored alert devices are a huge benefit to older adults or seniors staying home by themselves. The devices allow help to be only the click of a button away should family members or caregivers be too far or unable to assist. The monitored devices also sometimes come with connectivity apps so that family caregivers can stay up to date with senior care. The apps will show when emergency buttons are pressed and can also provide activity monitoring through home or wristband sensors.
Home Security Systems
Smart security systems at home can also keep you safe from intruders. When these alarms go off, they can begin recording with a camera around your home and will also alert security professionals. These systems also connect to an app that you can access on your phone. You can view live footage of what’s going on in your home or disable alarms remotely.
If you aren’t interested in a full security system, you can also make a one-time purchase on a security camera or security doorbell like Ring Doorbell and Nest Camera. These require easy installation to your front door and work by providing direct notifications to your home when it senses someone’s there. There’s even an intercom built in so you can communicate with visitors and see them through the camera without having to open the door.
For seniors who live alone, these simple devices offer much-needed security and can be especially helpful for seniors who aren’t always able to frequently get up and open the door.
How Technology Continues to Change
Technology is rapidly evolving to help seniors age in place as well as to help improve productivity and wellbeing for all. Some of the latest innovations for seniors include medical alert smartwatches, touch-screen systems, and wearable activity trackers.
Companies like MobileHelp and Medical Guardian offer smartwatch medical alerts for on-the-go safety and touch-screen alert systems to use in the home. These new technologies are designed to provide quick assistance and complete connectivity to keep seniors and their loved ones well-informed.
While these technologies are currently still reactive, innovations continually help them to be even more proactive. Some smartwatch companies have already incorporated ECGs into their products to monitor heart rate and detect abnormalities, which can help get people to the doctor well before it’s too late.
Medical technology alone is beginning to give more and more patients hope with customizable medicine and new non-invasive procedures to help with diagnosis.
When it comes to technology designed for the greater good, we also see vast improvements and innovations. Although already used in factories and militaries, Robots are beginning to work more efficiently and human-like than ever before. Robots are being built to have impressive dexterity allowing them to move objects and themselves faster and smoother.
There are many more ways in which technology has changed the way we live. These are just some of the fundamental ways technology is influencing and transforming our world.
The revolutions that will surface in years to come will continue to make profound changes in our everyday lives. The continual changes can be hard to keep up with, especially for seniors. Luckily, there is a lot of new technology for seniors that is specifically designed to be helpful and easy to use. Rather than being overwhelmed, embrace technology to discover how it can enhance and become an essential part of your daily life. Learning how to become a tech-savvy senior can be done in as little as ten days. All you need is some persistence, help, and knowledge of the basics.