While modern technology can be a little overwhelming to some seniors, it is also a godsend for ageing-in-place. There are many things that these tech devices can help seniors do that were simply not possible just a generation back. They are here to help us connect to friends and families in real time, and offer conveniences to help us live more independently.
Here are some of the ways technology is changing ageing-in-place for the better.
- You can connect with friends and families in so many ways for the low price of a stable internet connection. You can video-chat with loved ones across the globe as though they are next door. You can follow all your friends and loved one social media and share with them what’s happening in your life. While such virtual connections cannot substitute for real world meetings, it fills the gaps between the times when you get to actually meet in person.
- Shopping online is really a new trend that is only going to grow in all directions. Seniors at home can buy virtually anything without stepping outside — from kitchenware to bicycles! Online shopping in many cities has also included groceries and household essentials that can be delivered to your doorstep. And if you do not want to trek all the way downtown to your favorite restaurant, you can order online and have your menu selections delivered for dinner.
- UBER and GRAB has changed mobility greatly for seniors. With a cellphone and a credit card, you are now free to travel without having to drive. All this convenience is now available at the touch of your smartphone. Even better, you can also designate your loved ones to be able to track your journey to make sure you get to your destination safely. Maybe it is really time to give up driving!
- Many seniors spends way too much TV time. If you read, your smartphone or tablet gives you access to millions of books on demand. If you can afford it, there is always Amazon Prime that offers hundreds of thousands of current books that you can download instantly. In Singapore, the National Library Board offers online books that you can “borrow”. If you are a reader, try reading on your tablet or reader — the best part is that it is light and you can take it anywhere. No need to carry that thick novel with you.
- A rapidly evolving technology is the virtual assistant in your smartphone — which works as though you are talking to a real person. While you are actually taking to a “machine”, it opens up a whole new way for you to get things done without tapping or clicking. For now, you can easily ask the time or weather, set your alarms or timer and ask the virtual assistant to call someone on your contact list. Some apps like Google or Alexa will allow you to use your virtual assistant to turn on the lights and other devices at home. Watch this space – a lot is happening here.