It used to be that technology and seniors didn’t go together very well. Many seniors were little afraid of technology and gadgets, and the makers of those gadgets did not design them to meet the needs of most seniors. All of that has changed over the last few years, and now the variety of technology improvements and gadgets available to seniors is amazing.
Technology and gadgets to improve your life
For seniors, today’s technology and the gadgets made possible by that technology can dramatically improve their lives. From taking medication to staying in touch with family and friends, it’s easier and more convenient than ever for seniors to preserve their independence and quality of life.
Not all gadgets are created equal though, so there are a few things to look for when you’re considering items like this. Examples include:
Buttons and dials – Check to be sure the buttons and dials are easy to see, easy to read, and easy to use. Small buttons and hidden dials can make it hard to use an item, so if possible do some hands on research and shopping. This will help you to find items with buttons and dials that are easy for you to use.
User friendly – Some technology gadgets are so complicated and hard to use that they can quickly become very frustrating. Look for items that offer user friendly features, such as simple menus, easy to follow manuals and instructions, and good technical support. Spend some time with the item in the store going through the menus and functions to see just how easy they are to use.
Functional – Just because a gadget looks neat, does something interesting, or contains the latest technology does not mean it is really functional for your needs. Consider what an item actually does and think about whether or not you really need something to do those things. A fancy remote control, for example, may be able to run a large number of electronic components but if you have just a TV and a DVD player you probably don’t need all of those extra functions.
Great gadgets for seniors
Okay, now let’s get to the fun part and take a look at some of the terrific gadgets designed specifically for seniors.
Cell phones – Cell phone companies spend a lot of time and money trying to make their products smaller and packed with more functions. A new trend is to offer some simpler and easier to use cell phones that are great for seniors. Large displays, larger buttons, and basic functions are all set up to make it easy for seniors to get and use a cell phone.
Medication dispensers – Medication dispensers are now much more than just an old fashioned pill box. You can now get devices that remind you to take your pills with an alarm, by vibrating, or both. There are also dispensers that are voice activated and then dispense your pills. A few companies are even working on computerized medicine cabinets that will warn you if you have grabbed the wrong medication bottle.
Portable music players – iPods and MP 3 players are not just for teenagers anymore. Lots of seniors are using these portable devices to hold music, podcasts of news programs, and audio books. This makes it easy to enjoy these things anywhere you go.
Computers – Of course computers have been around for a long time, but more and more companies are offering computers with seniors in mind. Larger keys, better displays, and simplified functions are making it possible for more seniors to use and benefit from a computer. They can stay in touch with family and friends using e-mail, send and receive pictures, and access all the benefits of the Internet and more.
Safety and health sensors – Some companies offer safety and health sensors much like a home security system. This can be as simple as an emergency call button you wear around your neck or as sophisticated as sensors that can spot any unusual activity in your home. There are even devices that can monitor blood pressure, heart rate, and other vital signs and transmit that information to a caregiver or doctor’s office.
For most seniors, the addition of new technology or a helpful gadget can not only be fun, but also make their lives a bit easier and a bit safer. The key is to keep an open mind and be willing to try new things because you never know when you’re going to find something that’s really fantastic!
** Read more about Jitterbug for seniors posted under Cell Phones