It’s easy to assume that the elderly and technology just don’t go together. However, that certainly isn’t the case anymore. An increasing number of elderly people are turning to technology to help them stay active, both in mind and body.
Take a look below at 6 activities that the elderly are increasingly enjoying thanks to technology:
Although going for a brisk run may be out of the question, games consoles such as the Nintendo Wii are helping the elderly stay mentally and physically active. Games such as Walk It Out can get them up on their feet and moving around, in a safe environment. Wii Bowling can encourage people to be more sociable, whilst having fun. Wii Fit can improve balance and keep muscles strong, aiding stability, which can reduce the likelihood of falls. Whereas sports such as Wii Golf, Wii Ski and Wii Fishing can help to keep the brain stimulated, without any major risk of injury. Other video games such as puzzles, crosswords and Sudoku can also be used to improve mental agility and can even help to prevent memory loss.
Reading can help provide intellectual stimulation. However, as vision can deteriorate when you get older, some may find it difficult to continue reading books, magazines and newspapers. They can also be difficult to hold or fiddly to turn the pages of and so devices such as eReaders and tablets can be an enormous help. They are lightweight, touch screen and the font size can be increased for easier visibility. In some cases, audiobooks may even be available, which can simply be listened to from a tablet or PC.
With the help of software such as Skype and FaceTime, elderly people can contact their loved ones whenever they want, regardless of distance. Being able to make face-to-face video calls can help stimulate them mentally and significantly reduce the potential feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Although Facebook may have been designed with college students in mind, it’s increasingly being adopted by the elderly. It is a good way for them to stay connected with friends and family around the world by starting conversations, but also just by being able to see everyone’s lives depicted in text, photos and videos.
The Internet can often be quite a daunting prospect for older generations. However, at the same time, it can enrich their lives by providing a wealth of interesting information, games, news, photos and videos. It can also transport them to places they’ve never been before and can even help those looking to learn something new.
Technology is even helping the elderly in the form of robots. Companies such as Matia Robotics for example have created Tek RMD (Robotic Mobilisation Device), a re-designed wheelchair which can help those with leg disabilities to become more active. Similarly, Willow Garage have created PR2, a robot which can help carry out basic tasks such as opening doors and folding towels. This can help elderly people to take care of themselves for longer, so they can feel more independent and ultimately have a better quality of life.
With an aging population, the use of technology by the elderly is likely to grow. However, as well as adopting existing technologies, we’ll also see an increase in the number of companies who develop technologies specially for this older generation.