Help at Home: How Technology Aids Senior Personal Care

Like most things in life, there are pros and cons that come with our increasingly technology-driven world. While it seems that children get further ensconced in smartphone culture with each passing year, as their collective eyes glaze over from too much screen time, there’s hope yet: not all age demographics are suffering unnecessarily from the prevalence of digital technology. In fact, elderly people comprise one of the groups that benefits most from it, so long as they and their caregivers are willing to give it a try in regards to senior personal care.

Technological devices that help seniors

One of the most obvious, basic devices that have helped countless elderly people stay connected to the world as they age are hearing aids. But instead of the outdated, cumbersome style, there are now many tiny devices that are virtually inconspicuous to wear — it’s even possible to implant a hearing device inside the ear.
Some of the more unexpected gadgets involve more recent innovations. For example, iPhones, iPads, and tablets aren’t products that we typically associate with elderly people. Unfortunately, our society tends to think of newer computer technology as the domain of young people; we inaccurately and ignorantly assume that anyone over sixty will either be uninterested or unable to use new electronic devices. However, the truth is that not only are many seniors both willing and able to learn, but doing so offers benefits for their health:
“From games that promote brain fitness to apps that track health information, a tablet can have a variety of positive impacts on seniors’ lives. Seniors can view photos, listen to music, read, learn languages — plus the devices are lightweight, their touch screens are easy to use, and font sizes can be adjusted for easier reading.”

IOA’s Senior Care Manager app

What’s more is that there’s also a variety of useful software available that enable caregivers and family members to provide better personal care for seniors. A great example is IOA’s Senior Care Manager app, which helps families and professional caregivers manage the myriad aspects that go into to caring for an elderly person. From organizing medication and health appointments, to social calendars and photos, the Senior Care Manager app allows caregivers to keep track of everything in one easy place. Compatible with the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, the app syncs across all three devices, making things easy when operating more than one. In addition, this offers the elderly person to contribute on a device that works for them; while an iPhone’s user-interface might be too small for someone with poor eyesight, an iPad might suit them fine.

Personal care for seniors made simpler

IOA’s Senior Care Manager app is different than a regular day planner app, since it’s specialized for seniors and their caregivers. Features like ‘Manage Medication’ make it easy to scan medication, and type notes with the help of prompts like “dosage,” “instructions,” and “what it’s for.” (Haven’t we all had the experience of unintentionally losing track of what each bottle of pills is actually for?) Meanwhile, there’s also a handy section that lets you mark down what pills have already been taken each day; a calendar for appointments and social dates; an area to upload photos; and, thoughtfully, an area for journaling.
The journaling feature is a useful place to jot down important notes about changes in health conditions, any unusual occurrences, or photos that act as visual reminders. This encourages caregivers to notice any recurring patterns that might indicate a decline (or improvement!) in the senior’s overall health. It’s also invaluable to have on hand during visits to the doctor, as re-reading the journal can help to answer unexpected questions, or jog memory.
Supporting our seniors involves staying on top of everything they need help with. As any family member or caregiver knows firsthand, this is not a simple task — but it’s absolutely one worth investing our time and energy in. Allowing new technology like IOA’s Senior Care Manager app help us to manage the everyday aspects of personal care for seniors not only reduces stress in our own lives, but increases the quality of our caregiving — and ensures that we’re giving our all to their wellbeing.
If you are unsure of how to best help an aging loved one, the trained and compassionate staff at the Institute on Aging is here to help you make that decision and gain the best in at-home senior care. Contact us to find out more.

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