Being a relatively new idea, assisted living is becoming the preferred choice for many seniors who still want to remain independent but need a little help with their daily routine. Elderly adults in these situations are usually up to date on current technologies and know how to integrate it into their daily lives. Smile Senior Care will review the roles that technology is playing in assisted living.
The internet is a constant in the lives of most Americans, and seniors aren’t exempt. Recent research from the American Life Project and Pew Internet reveals that for the first time ever, half of the U.S. adults over the age of 65 use the internet. This is a main reason why many senior care facilities offer internet access for residents. Some facilities even offer classes for seniors to get up to speed on how to surf the web.
According to the Pew study, email is most commonly used by seniors when they surf the internet, with 86% of those 65 and older signing into an email server. Seniors are also realizing that the internet is great for staying in contact with friends and family. Social media use amongst seniors rose from 22% in 2009 to 42% in 2010.
Health and Mobility
For the first time ever, mobile devices outsold PCs. Mobile devices provide a potential advantage to seniors in the mobile technology field. There are many apps that seniors can load onto their mobile devices that will develop workout routines, track caloric intake, maintain medication schedules and will also keep in touch with medical professionals.
Unfortunately, because such technologies are relatively new, many still need tweaks to be accessible to seniors. For example, a recent study from the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES) examined three of the leading iPhone applications that help those living with diabetes monitor their blood glucose levels. They found that there were several issues with the apps, such as small, hard-to-read print and confusing functions that made them inaccessible for seniors.
Researchers hope that their studies will encourage app developers to keep seniors in mind as they design new mobile health programs.
Robotic technology to assist seniors is currently being developed. One major concern it whether or not seniors will be interested in such technologies. HFES conducted a separate survey, asking adults between the ages of 65 and 93 how they would feel about robotic assistance. They were shown videos of various technologies that could help with everything from making phone calls to personal grooming.
“Our results indicated that the older adults were generally open to robot assistance in the home, but they preferred it for some daily living tasks and not others,” said Cory-Ann Smarr, who led the study. More specifically, participants were open to the idea of robotic assistance for housekeeping chores, such as laundry, as well as some health-related tasks, such as medication management. However, they preferred traditional, human-based assisted living for more personal tasks, such as dressing, eating and bathing.