Technology can benefit both
Well, by using technology to nurture social connections and gain social support - both and the loved one they’re caring for can avoid and loneliness.
and the people they care for. But, how? and the ability to build through , online support groups, and taking part in a can be hugely beneficial.
Here are some grave statistics that depict how serious the effects of can be:
and loneliness can have the same health impact as smoking 15 cigarettes per day
costs Medicare $7 billion annually
The good news? Innovation and growth in technology have accelerated in the past few years due to COVID-19.
From voice assistants, tablets, and apps to online tech support and artificial intelligence: the options for are more varied than ever.
Let’s explore some ways technology can help improve social engagement for you and your loved one.
As a , you want to be everywhere at once – but it is physically impossible.
However, with the growth of voice-first care hubs, you can be virtually together while physically apart. Here is a range of services to choose from:
Alexa Together uses the Echo device and the Alexa application to provide a range of support services, alerts, activities, and even fall detection.
LifePod is a platform that can increase social engagement while monitoring your loved one’s medical needs.
BrioCare provides personalized care routines, reminders, updates as well as video chats, and social programming. It offers a mix of safety, and social engagement such as games, music, trivia, and photo sharing.
When deciding on the right voice-assisted care for you and your loved one, your decision should come down to the services and support you need, the technology used, and the costs associated.
As senior living communities learned during the , connecting virtually via a video call can be safer than the associated with seeing family and . Connecting virtually can be a lifeline for an looking for more , , or even medical assistance.
can be achieved on one-on-one or virtual calls and can provide your loved one with a .
What are the for your loved one not using technology so far? It may help to consider what roadblocks stand in the way of your loved one using technology on their own.
While and video conferencing have had the reputation of being used mainly amongst and , that couldn’t be further away from the truth.
Considering what your loved one may struggle with before them placing a virtual call to a relative or friend, will help you as their better prepare and know what technology to invest in.
For example, if you’re caring for your grandfather who's looking to connect to his out-of-state grandkids, then he may require a different type of technology solution than a tablet that’s mainly used for online learning and conferences.
Here are two devices that could help your loved one make virtual calls:
A GradPad is an easy-to-use tablet for placing video calls, sharing photos, and built-in security.
Tablets from iPad to Lenovo and Samsung – all offer a range of features for everything from sharing care schedules to family video chats to posting a picture at a variety of price points.
For as well as the loved one they support, connecting via video is vital to staying connected.
A vital way to understand current technology and stay engaged is by receiving tech training and support. Teaching technology to your elder loved one can be challenging. However, training your loved one on technology can help take some of the burdens off of you in the long run and can help build their around using different types of technology.
Virtual training options have increased due to the growth of video conferencing solutions during the and the need for .
Let’s review two helpful tech training options for you and your loved one to consider.
GetSetUp offers a range of classes on tech topics like iPhone upgrades, Zoom meetings, Google drive basics, and internet safety as well as forums on cooking, music, creativity, government, and performing arts.
OATS, which began life as Senior Planet, has recently joined forces with AARP and brings access to technology tools. Programs are free to participants and are offered online and in person.
Yes, really. The day of the robotic sidekick has arrived. Believe it or not, robots or artificial intelligence can improve you and your loved one’s life.
ElliQ from Intuition Robotics is the first of these companions that can have a positive impact on engagement and wellness. Included in the service are a series of wellness coach sessions, companionship and conversation, physical exercise through Silver Sneakers partnerships, health content through Mayo Clinic, appointment reminders, and a range of additional features.
Companion Pet Cats and Pups
For a more passive, cuddly companion, Ageless Innovation’s Companion Pet Cats and Pups can bring more to with dementia.
First, determine what you as your loved one’s need. For example, perhaps your and are being neglected due to all the strenuous duties you have on your plate.
If your health is suffering or if you’re struggling with and , consider booking a virtual fitness class of your choice from the comfort of your own home for some .
If you’re looking to dedicate more time to self-care, try scheduling a virtual therapy session with a therapist of your choice. Your as your loved one’s matters. Investing in the right technology now can help pay dividends later.
In the meantime, here are some questions to consider when deciding on which tech is right for you and your loved one:
What are the top social engagement priorities for you and the person you’re caring for?
For example, does your loved one like to talk to other
and weekly? Try scheduling a virtual call for you and your loved one to virtually connect with relatives.
Will you and your loved one require tech training to use the technology?
Scheduling some time to receive tech training can help both you and your loved one use technology efficiently and in the future whether together or apart.
Is the person you’re caring for willing to use technology?
If your loved one is interested in using technology, try introducing them to technology slowly so they don’t feel overwhelmed.
While introducing your loved one to new technology, try reviewing online safety and technology tips with them so that they can steer clear of elder fraud when using a new device or application.
If your loved one has a lot of and mobility issues, convincing your loved one on using technology for virtual visits with a may help them understand the value of using technology.
While your needs may change over time, technology solutions will continue to evolve. It’s important for family to be open-minded in using technology for , building , and improving overall .
Finding new opportunities to involve technology in you and your loved one’s daily routine can help relieve stress and improve for both of you.
Staying connected, engaged, and healthy is just as important for you as the as it is for the you’re caring for. If your loved one is struggling with accepting technology as a way to virtually interact with others, try holding an stressing how you feel it would benefit their and .
By explaining your reasons thoroughly, you may receive the you require from your loved one to invest in the right technology for both of you. Be sure to mention how staying socially isolated from and can have on their health and that technology can help build those again.
So no matter if you and your loved one are based in New York, and the rest of the family is located in Texas, technology can help you stay connected with relatives and friends across the world.
Elyse Dasko is a communications strategist specializing in age tech and digital health. She previously led communications for GreatCall (Now Lively), helping to develop their strategic partnerships and build visibility for both the organization and the longevity economy. Elyse has strong relationships in the aging/longevity space with leading nonprofits, including AARP, the American Society on Aging, and the National Alliance for Caregiving, and established a council of nationally prominent leaders in the family caregiving space (Family Caregiver Council).
Ready Set Care is creating a community to provide guidance for anyone caring for an aging loved one.
If you know someone that could benefit from our website, click the share icons below
or copy link below