In today’s world, it seems like nearly everyone has a smartphone. People tend to assume that the one demographic excluded from this trend is the elderly. However, it is important to recognize that older adults can actually utilize and enjoy smartphones and tablets as well.
If you have an elderly loved one who requires daily care, they might benefit from these technologies in unique ways and unexpected ways. Keep reading to learn more about how smartphones, tablets, and other products can benefit home care patients.
Adapt to COVID-19 Impacts
There is no denying that COVID-19 has made some indelible impacts on our world. Perhaps the most obvious changes brought about by the pandemic has been a strong shift towards online services.
Of course, most of us have gradually been incorporating more and more use of the internet into our daily lives over the past few decades. However, the need to social-distance has created an even greater emphasis on online communication, commerce, and more.
Having a smartphone or tablet can help many elderly people better adapt to today’s impacts of COVID-19. Before the pandemic, your loved one may have gone out quite frequently. They likely shopped at the grocery store, attended doctors’ visits, and went out to socialize with friends and family. Now, nearly all of these interactions are taking place via the internet.
While the shift online may be eerie to some, it is keeping many people safe. Staying home and supplementing in-person interaction for online activities can limit one’s potential exposure to the virus.
A smartphone or tablet can help your elderly loved one stay home during COVID-19 with:
- Online shopping
- Communication (email, Skype, FaceTime, etc.)
Telehealth is an extremely convenient and useful service that deserves further explanation and consideration.
Telehealth is one of many trends greatly influenced by the pandemic. It is likely that even after COVID-19 subsides, telehealth will remain an important resource for medical patients.
The basic premise of telehealth is to supplement in-person doctor’s appointments with online video calls. Physicians, physical therapists, psychologists, and many other medical professionals are opting to use telehealth whenever possible. Telehealth calls typically take the place of in-person appointments when a patient has a non-emergency issue. This might include calls to diagnose certain health issues, discuss treatment plans, fill prescriptions, and more.
Having a smart-device can greatly facilitate a home care patient’s ability to utilize telehealth services. With a smartphone or tablet, your loved one can easily access video calling applications such as FaceTime, Skype, or Zoom. Using these apps for telehealth unlocks a variety of options instead of always visiting a doctor’s office or pharmacy.
Keep in Touch with Family and Friends
Another unfortunate impact of the pandemic has been a limitation on social life. Many people are choosing to social-distance from friends and family in order to limit potential exposure to COVID-19. Elderly adults might feel increased pressure to do so because of their status as an “at-risk” demographic.
Luckily, social distancing does not necessarily mean social isolation. Smartphones and tablets can help people keep in touch without meeting up in person.
With many people canceling travel plans, this can also help families stay connected when they cannot visit one another. If you had to cancel plans to visit an elderly loved one, keeping in touch with them over the phone or video call is an important practice.
Of course, a FaceTime call is not always as fulfilling as spending time with loved ones in person. However, it can be an extremely important mode of communication during these difficult times.
If your elderly loved one is not particularly tech-savvy, you can help them learn the basics. Walk them through joining a Zoom call, setting up a social media account, or sending texts. These simple gestures can help senior home care patients keep in touch with those they love when distance is an obstacle.
Smart-devices can also provide critical resources to elderly people during emergencies. Many smartphones and tablets include emergency call commands for those in need. This makes getting in touch with 911 or an emergency contact as simple as pressing down on the home button of a device.
This feature is especially useful to people who carry their phones or tablets with them often. Keeping a smart device in reach in case of an accident helps home care patients contact the emergency services they need faster.
If your loved one is prone to falls or other in-home accidents, their smart device can help keep them safe.
Support From Assistive Technologies
Lastly, many seniors can benefit from an array of assistive technologies offered on smart-devices.
Many elderly adults struggle with common handicaps such as hearing, vision, or motor function impairments. Most smartphones and tablets include assistive technologies that cater to these handicaps.
Common assistive technologies offered on smart-devices include:
- Enlarged text size (vision impairments)
- Color adjustments (vision impairments)
- Automated reading (vision impairments)
- Voice commands and voice to text (vision and motor function impairments)
- Subtitles and captioning (hearing impairment)
- Real-time transcription applications (hearing impairment)
This is just a small list of a vast array of assistive technologies offered on smartphones and tablets. Many of these programs can be accessed in the “settings” on a given device. On top of built-in functions, there are hundreds of applications that have been designed to help people with specific handicaps.
With a plethora of new technologies available on one compact device, your loved one might experience newfound convenience with a smartphone or tablet.