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From the Neighborhood Press

Technology for Seniors

August was winding down. It was still hot out during the day in Oklahoma City, so Jean would take her short strolls outside during the cool mornings and sometimes she would even venture outdoors in the evening just before bedtime. But Jean didn’t mind. Her family had gifted her an iPad for her birthday last month and she was still intrigued. Jean’s grandson had helped her set install a few apps to get her started. One of these apps gave her access to a world of audio books. Jean still had decent vision, but sometimes reading was strenuous for her. She was surprised that she could follow along with the story better as she sipped her iced tea and gazed outside as the story unfolded. Jean remembered her favorite authors and immediately chose a new title to explore. And today, she was lost in a world of new ideas as she closed her eyes and enjoyed the story.

Technology has made life so much easier for seniors and young people alike. Sometimes seniors encounter audio or visual impairment and can benefit from various apps available to them. Or maybe you’re thinking of your loved one in a Memory Care program after a Alzheimer’s diagnosis. It’s possible these seniors too could find mind stimulating apps useful. Consider equipping your senior with technology such as an iPad or other devise that would allow them to take advantage of these apps. Then help them determine which ones would be most enjoyable and beneficial for them. Here are some ideas.

Listening to books

As Jean discovered, listening to an audio book allowed her to rest her eyes, sit back and enjoy the story. Audible is a great app that allows members to select books, download them and listen when it’s most convenient. If your senior has access to Amazon Prime, check to see which audio books are available to them at no extra charge. It’s likely your senior will require your assistance to install any apps you’ll need to take advantage of all their Amazon Prime benefits. Seniors may enjoy audio books when they return from meals or physical activities and would like to relax, but are not tired enough for a nap. Audio books are also a great way to wind down as you’re trying to fall asleep in the evening after a tasty meal. If your senior prefers reading books, consider technology that would support Kindle.

Mind stimulating games. Keeping an active mind is important for any senior. For those with memory deficits such as Alzheimer’s, activities to help stimulate the mind can be especially important. Talk to your loved one’s medical care providers as well as their caretakers to find out which mind stimulating activities such as brain games could benefit them the most. There are plenty of apps which offer word games, memory building skills, number puzzles and various other activities. If your senior loves crosswords, there are quite a few apps to choose from. You’ll find everything from daily themed word puzzles to mystery solving crossword games. Plan a day to visit your loved one and help set them up with their new activity apps. They will probably need some help getting started, but with a little bit of effort, they can have hours of enjoyment long after you leave.

Video visits.  Apps such as FaceTime will likely give you and your senior many happy moments to remember. Virtual video visits with you, the grandkids and other family members can help you all stay connected. There are several apps which all offer the opportunity to visit virtually. FaceTime can be set up on an Apple device. Skype is another app which can be used on either Apple or Android systems. These apps are easy to install and just require a camera and microphone. If your senior has a difficult time using technology, ask their caretakers if they would be willing to help get them started. Of course, virtual visits do not replace in-person ones, but they can help you connect more often!

Apps for socializing. Many seniors love staying connected with friends and family. As seniors age and travel becomes more challenging, seniors can lose touch with old friends they no longer can visit. Facebook and Instagram are popular ways for families and friends to stay connected. Your loved one may enjoy scrolling through pictures and videos of their children and grandchildren. They can interact too and “love” posts, comment or even write a post of their own. It’s likely that they will be able to find some of their old friends too and reconnect.

There are so many apps to choose from based on your loved one’s interests and needs, as well as their ability to learn some simple technology skills. Even those in assisted living or nursing home settings may greatly benefit from access to a few great apps. If your senior has a difficult time with vision, you can adjust screen text size and use more audio-based apps. Everything can be tailored to you and your loved one’s needs. With just a little creativity and help with setup, you can make this spring season a little more enjoyable for them. They’ll know you thought of them!

2 responses to “Technology for Seniors

  1. Me and my friends have always loved to hear a good book read out loud. Short story audio books are perfect for my senior in memory care, especially for my friends with fading eyesight.

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