5 ways technology can enhance senior living

As technology becomes more advanced and widely adopted, seniors have jumped on the bandwagon and begun to implement these devices into their everyday lives. While older adults may have shied away from technology in the past, they have started to embrace the many benefits it provides, from keeping them connected to family members who live far away to allowing them to manage finances from the comfort of their own home. Here are five ways tech-savvy seniors can benefit from electronic devices.

1. They let you stay connected
Social networking sites have increased exponentially in size and popularity over the past few years, with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all boasting record numbers of users in 2013. All three sites reported increased activity among users aged 65 and older, which isn’t surprising since Statistics Canada estimated that 49 percent of Canadian seniors were online in 2012. Individuals who participate in these sites, or other online communities that engage people from across the globe, have the opportunity to speak and interact with other people who share common interests, or family members and friends who are present on them as well.

2. Video games help keep you active
Iowa State University recently created a program to keep seniors active using the Wii to promote physical fitness, according to Radio Iowa. Participants engaged in virtual sports with other older adults, switching between playing tennis and bowling to going through strength-building exercises. Professor Jennifer Margrett, director of the gerontology program, said it allows seniors to not only increase their physical wellness, but to meet other older adults in the community as well. These video games provide perfect opportunities for social events for elderly because they allow for multiple users to engage in different virtual games.

3. Learning devices keep you sharp
From the Discovery Channel to the National Geographic, numerous organizations have released apps geared toward furthering individuals’ education. These apps feature e-readers that allow users to stay up to date with news, studies and trends happening around the globe. Seniors can access the latest information right at their fingertips. Additionally, older adults who enjoy reading have the ability to download and store thousands of digital books on tablets or mobile devices. Apple’s iBooks features titles that range from classic novels to informational textbooks, a large number of which are available for free. Google recently unveiled Google Play Education, which added hundreds of titles that users can rent for a certain period of time. Seniors living in a retirement community can read these books and engage with this educational material in any room around the facility.

4. Apps can keep your brain healthy
Thousands of apps are available on mobile and tablet devices, a large majority of which are problem-solving games geared toward increasing cognitive abilities and critical thinking skills. Puzzle, racing and brain training games can help seniors enhance memory care or improve their multitasking skills. Most apps are available for free download for users who use smart phones or tablet technology. Seniors can also connect with other individuals living in a retirement village to play these games or programs with a group, enhancing not only cognitive, but social skills as well.

5. Online records can reduce the clutter
Seniors who are retirement planning have the option to use online resources in order to easily store and manage records, including bills, financial documents and medical records. Not only can using online tools make managing large amounts of paper much easier, but it also reduces clutter. Placing all documents on one online platform also ensures children or caretakers can have access to them when needed.