How Technology Is Changing Assisted Living For Good

In today’s world, the changes, trends, and technological advances in our increasingly computer-oriented society are extremely rapid. Some seniors have adjusted well and show great tech competence, while many seniors have had some degree of difficulty adapting to this very volatile and constantly updating computer culture.

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Senior care facilities understand this wide range of tech capability and tech needs among its older residents, and have made it a priority to provide technology in line with the expectations of seniors at varying levels of tech competence.  Increasingly, assisted living facilities are working to utilize technology in ways that keep residents connected to their loved ones, entertained, accommodated, educated, and protected.

As a senior, you may have taken a second to glance over that touch-screen phone in the hands of your kids and grandkids.  It looks complicated and fragile… you may be afraid you might break it just by looking at it, let alone be able to understand how all its features work.

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But while plugging into the technology/Internet culture may initially seem a little daunting and confusing to those who have lived most of their lives just fine without computers, it is important for seniors to consider the benefits of learning the basics of navigating the web.   And fortunately, many seniors who are considering assisted living as the next step in their lives will find that most senior care facilities offer programs that make understanding the basic fundamentals of tech-culture simple to learn.

The presence of technology in society is only increasing.  Over a billion people are on social networks, and the overwhelming majority of the children and grandchildren of seniors are very active online.  If a senior is open to the idea of learning a thing or two about how to navigate the Internet or creating an online social media presence (seeing what your family is up to on Facebook), doing so will certainly help in keeping connected to distant friends and family while enjoying assisted living.

However, it is silly to suggest that all seniors are technology-incompetent.  In fact many seniors only recently coming into retirement are emerging from the workforce with substantial computer skills, and expect their senior living community to accommodate their technology needs.  These seniors expect access to the Internet as well as other basic computer-based conveniences.

A recent study showed that over 50% of U.S. adults over the age of 65 now make use of the Internet, and assisted living facilities are accommodating this trend by offering basic utilities to residence such as access to computer labs.  Some elder care centers, like Grapevine Senior Retirement Community in Seattle, have even gone above and beyond by providing iPads to all senior residents as well as simple courses training seniors in the basics on computer use. Studies have found that email is the primary reason that seniors access the Internet. And providing seniors with access to email as well as potentially expanding their technology use will continue to be a priority for assisted living communities.

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Senior care facilities also make use of technology by installing monitoring systems capable of detecting emergency situations without invading residents’ privacy.  With assistance from monitoring/protection systems like QuietCare. WellAware, and Stealth Health, senior residents of assisted living facilities can have their well being monitored (taking an unusually long time in the bathroom/an irregularly long stretch of inactivity in room) without the intrusive use of cameras or microphones.  If these movement sensors detect excessive movement or absence of movement, a staff member is then alerted to come check in on the possibly distressed resident.

The benefits of technology can be experienced without necessarily becoming a computer-wiz or even very tech-savvy.  Seniors who take a little time to investigate the monitoring systems provided by prospective senior care communities, as well as exploring what computer training opportunities are offered, will find that technology can provide a sense of security and sociability, making life easier in the retirement years.

Find Assisted Living Facilities with the best technologies for your loved ones today, search now. 


How Aging Impacts Men and Women Differently

Maybe you are a senior, and have at some point found yourself bickering with your spouse over who has it worse in this whole “getting old” thing.  Aging often affects men and women in different ways, physically, emotionally, and psychologically.  There are pluses and minuses to getting on in years for both sexes; so hold your bickering for a moment, and read on to learn a little about what to expect from aging effects, and how to appreciate the unique experiences that impact older men and women, that it may hopefully bring you and your life partner of all these years closer together.

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Certain elements of the changes that age brings generally impact men and women differently.  A survey showed that women are typically perceived as “old” about five years before men.  And women are often more conscious of their fading youthful beauty than men, as women frequently feel under greater pressure to look young.  The decreasing amount of “guys double-taking at the sight of your walking down the sidewalk” can decrease the confidence of aging women, and lead to depression for those who are not yet accepting of the transition into this next era of life.  In fact, a recent study showed that 42% of middle-aged women expressed that they would consider plastic surgery, Botox, and other anti-aging procedures in order to look younger, as opposed to only 18% of middle-aged men.

Here it is important for men to encourage their wives whenever they are troubled with feelings of “looking old.” A wife may benefit emotionally by being reassured that she is still beautiful to the man she loves.  She may do well to know that the experiences you both have shared, as well as the person she has aged into is more at the heart of this relationship than just mere appearances.

Evidenced by people like George Clooney and Robert Downy Jr., men can sometimes pull off the greying hairs and aging face as adding distinction, an intellectual semblance, and charm to their appearance.  But while men may not tend to feel as devastated by the diminishing of their youthful looks, they often struggle with other challenges of aging.  The physical limitations that a weakening body can bring may make a man feel less useful and less independent around his home.  Men can become depressed as their libido starts to wind down and sexual activity becomes less possible or less frequent.  And that stereotypical male reluctance to ask for help or admit to weakness can be detrimental to getting any needed health care, and sometimes lead to cases of Alzheimer’s to not be detected or treated until later stages of the disease.

Here, wives may have an opportunity to provide some consolation to their aging husbands, by assuring them that they by no means have to be a “superman” anymore, and all that matters is getting whatever help is needed, to that they can remain healthily together for more years to come.

It is a well-known health phenomenon that women tend to outlive men by a few years.  This can have psychological implications on seniors of both sexes.  Men can feel uneasy and depressed about leaving their loved ones behind; and studies have shown that mortality rates for widowed spouses rises in the two years after their loved-one’s passing.  Living longer also consequentially makes women more statistically likely to develop age-related disorders.  Approximately 65% of seniors with Alzheimer’s are women, and the residents in memory care facilities are overwhelmingly female.

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While there are fewer cases of elderly men with Alzheimer’s and dementia than women, the amount of men with memory-hindering diseases is increasing.  And men are still sometimes faced with the circumstance of being in the minority at memory care and assisted living facilities, where women may in general feel more accommodated.

When overviewing information about aging, like this, it is good for seniors to understand that the changes happening to themselves and their spouses are natural and mostly inevitable.  The best thing that can be done is to appreciate the physical and emotional needs of an aging husband or wife in the later years of a marriage.  No one has it better or worse in this “getting old” thing, as long as they are supported and surrounded by others who care, whether it is a spouse, other relatives, or the friendly staff at an assisted living community.