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.
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.
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.
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.