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The Truth about Technology and Independence in Senior Living

Technology can help seniors stay independent longer. But is it a real substitute for the benefits of care in senior living? Find out here.

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    Like it or not, technology is now central to life for most of us. It’s the key to convenience, connection and, many seniors feel, the key to maintaining independence. Not only are seniors more tech-savvy than ever, there are also now apps and services that can help with everything from safety to medications to health to transportation and even maintaining your home. But is it a real substitute for the benefits of senior living in the long run? Let’s find out.

    How Seniors are Using Technology

    There was a time when needing any extra help at home would necessitate hiring a caregiver or moving to senior living, but now seniors and their families are leaning on technology to fill the gap in areas such as:

    Convenience and connection – Not only can technology help seniors stay connected to loved ones through video chat apps such as FaceTime or Zoom as well as social media, it also makes it easier to keep up with news and weather or play games, share photos and download books. And that’s just to start!

    Health – Wearable technology like the Apple Watch and Fitbit help seniors in key areas of health such as tracking activity levels, sleep, food, nutrition, weight and more. Some devices are even capable of providing fall detection that automatically alerts first responders and emergency contacts if the wearer becomes immobile.

    Daily Tasks – This is often the first area where seniors begin to need help and they can now rely on robotic vacuums and mops to clean as well as voice-activated assistants to make grocery lists, set reminders and turn on lights, appliances and TVs in some cases. Not to mention the ability to order groceries online (or through an app) and have them delivered.

    Safety – Technology also makes it possible for seniors to keep better track of medications with reminders of time, dosage and refills as well as drug interaction warnings. What’s more, personal emergency response systems (PERS) allow seniors to notify first responders and family in emergencies with the push of a button.

    Transportation – Driving is also less of a headache for seniors (and their families) as now most cars are equipped with GPS technology while apps like Life360 feature automatic crash detection as well as an automated SOS feature. For seniors who no longer drive, rideshare services like Lyft and Uber can also get you wherever you need to go – all you need is the app to schedule!

    Even devices themselves are more suited for seniors as smartphones as well as tablets and e-readers feature large screens, voice capabilities and the ability to navigate by touch.

    Knowing When You Need More

    On the surface, all these technology options may seem to circumvent the need for senior living. But it’s important not to confuse ‘help’ with care. While technology can help seniors to stay independent longer, don’t let it lull you into a false sense of security if health conditions or cognitive challenges are worsening for example. Technology is simply not a substitute for the type of onsite care and 24/7 support provided by experienced assisted living or memory care staff in a senior living community.

    What’s more, these communities also offer convenience with home maintenance, housekeeping, laundry, nutritious meals and transportation, but they are all taken care of for you instead of having to manage multiple apps and services on your own! As an added benefit, senior living communities also offer a full calendar of social events, outings and enrichment opportunities as well as plenty of upscale amenities.

    The Best of Both Worlds in Senior Living

    What you may not realize is that seniors can have the best of both worlds in senior living because not only are more communities incorporating these technologies into everyday life for residents, many communities also offer a continuum of care. This means seniors can enjoy the conveniences of technology in an independent living setting while also having peace of mind that personalized care is available on the same campus should it be needed.

    To learn more about our senior living community, contact us today to schedule a virtual tour.

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    If you're interested in learning more about 12 Oaks Senior Living, please call 214-871-2155 or click here to schedule a personalized tour.