Embracing Technology Helps You Stay Independent

How different devices promote health and happiness

In our 21st-century world, technology is woven into every part of our lives. For older adults or those caregiving for loved ones, the realm of devices and technological tools that can help with maintaining independence and a good quality of life is growing every day. Here’s a sampling of just some of the many gadgets that can make life easier and more enriching:

 

Tablets and e-readers

With screens that are larger than smartphones and portability that desktop computers lack, tablets – when connected to the Internet throughWi-Fi – can help provide easy access to bank accounts, investments, financial information and health records. They also provide a handy way to surf the Web and stay connected with friends and family through social networking sites like Facebook and through video chatting platforms like WhatsApp,Skype or Google Hangouts, helping ward off feelings of loneliness and isolation. E-readers like Kindles, Kobos and NOOKs are lightweight, have the ability to make words appear larger and can provide a virtual libraries of books, magazines and other reading materials at the touch of a fingertip.

 

Smart speakers

Like having a virtual assistant who does what you say, smart speakers like the Amazon Echo and Google Home devices also use a Wi-Fi connection to respond to requests for information and more. Users give voice commands to make the devices play music and games, set timers, make lists, get the weather, control connected devices such as thermostats and lights, order products from select retailers, turn televisions on and off and much more.

 

Video gaming consoles

By playing video games, you can have fun while flexing your mental muscles, helping your memory, improving your dexterity and stimulating your mind. And in addition to the action, adventure, role-playing, simulation and puzzle genres, there are games that virtually mimic playing sports and doing exercises that can help with maintaining physical activity, balance and strength. Games are also available that allow the player to connect with others online, offering a virtual avenue for additional social interaction.

 

Healthcare-related devices

Medication-dispensing systems can remind users to take their medicine and can send alerts if a dose is missed. Battery-powered devices called personal emergency response systems (PERS) or medical emergency response systems typically can be carried in a pocket or worn around the neck or wrist and allow the user to call for emergency help with the press of a button. Vital health data such as someone’s heart rate, oxygen levelsand blood pressure, blood glucose and more can be measured and collected through wearable health monitoring sensors. Wireless-enabled wearable activity trackers like those made by Fitbit and Garmin can help measure daily physical fitness, such as steps walked or climbed, sleep quality and heart rate.

Through an ever-growing number of assistive devices, technology can offer life enhancement, peace of mind and help with remaining independent at home with less worry and more fulfillment.