At a time when everything seems to have shifted to smart this or smart that – phones, televisions, watches, even thermostats—sometimes it’s easy to feel like you’re anything but smart while trying to keep up with it all. This is especially true for older generations who, despite increases over the past decade, still report lower use of technology than their younger counterparts (Pew Research Center, 2022).
In studying technology use among older generations, researchers have discovered that when seniors hear they aren’t “good” at using technology, it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy – they avoid using it and then really are less proficient in using it. The consequences of such attitudes about seniors and technology are unfortunate, as technological advancements hold many possibilities for helping seniors to live meaningful, independent lives. As we will see below, technology has an important place in the day-to-day lives of older adults and can support them in their desire to age in place.
One significant outcome of the pandemic is how virtual healthcare has become commonplace. And what better arrangement for older adults, who might lack transportation or the ability to trek out of the house to the doctor’s office for issues that could quickly and easily be addressed by way of a screening visit from the couch? Many insurance companies offer telehealth apps for smart devices for individuals to connect with a licensed doctor in their state around the clock. Additionally, several doctors still offer virtual visits to their patients even though in-person visits have widely resumed, having recognized how beneficial that option is for so many of their patients.
Food Delivery Services
Technology has changed the face of ordering delivery, and it’s not just relegated to restaurants anymore. Yet another positive result of the pandemic is dozens of food delivery apps—such as DoorDash, Instacart, and Hello Fresh—place restaurant take-out, fresh groceries, and boxed meal kits at your fingertips, allowing homebound older adults aging in place to maintain independence and a healthy diet.
For seniors unable to drive, technology simplifies the coordination of rides to get wherever they need to go in the community. Transportation apps like Uber or Lyft, which can be downloaded to a smartphone or tablet, enable folks to schedule rides with the click of a button without the hassle of having cash or bus tokens on hand.
Socialization with Family and Friends
While many of us feel “Zoomed out” lately, programs like Zoom, Skype, and FaceTime can be a lifeline for a senior living alone or far away from loved ones. Whether it’s catching up with a friend, virtually joining a family celebration, or reading a bedtime story to grandchildren across the country, these social connection apps make it possible for not just seniors but people of all ages to be actively involved in relationships that mean the most—no matter the distance.
At The Hickman, we value the role of technology in promoting the quality of life of our residents and their families. Through the LifeLoop program, our residents access daily schedules, reserve spots for desired activities, send emails to connected family members and staff, and upload personal photographs and pictures of activities in which they have taken part. LifeLoop links our residents to their Hickman community and their loved ones near and far – offering comfort, connection, and peace of mind. We invite you to visit us and discover why “when you’re here, you’re home.”