Technology & Seniors: Tools for Healthy Living
Never before in human history has health information been so accessible. As advancements in science have increased our longevity, technology has made knowledge about our bodies, health, and habits more accessible. From the internet to apps, there is a wealth of information for seniors whether they are looking to start an exercise routine, better manage a chronic illness, or research a disease. It’s all at the tip of our fingers. This increased access has changed the way that we gather information, engage with our own heath, and even the way we think about aging.
From electronic health records to wellness webinars to advanced treatments and surgeries, the healthcare system has made sweeping advancements through technology. When it comes to managing health at the individual level, technology gives seniors further tools to help them maintain independence and a higher quality of life. The statement, “There’s an app for that”, has made it into our cultural lexicon. And it has applied to senior health as well. There are apps for managing blood pressure, for giving medication reminders, and managing weight. Maybe your doctor gave you a new diet to better manage your diabetes. There’s an app for finding recipes, eating out properly, and managing blood sugar. For ideas on senior apps, check out our video that highlights 10 apps that are a great starting point for seniors.
While it may seem that younger generations have a natural connection to this up and coming technology this perception is slowly fading. In early 2012, for the first time ever, The PEW Internet & American Life Project found that more than 50% of older Americans are internet users and even higher percentages have mobile phones. According to the same report, among internet users age 65+, 70% use it every day. 1 in 3 online seniors uses social networking sites like Facebook, and LinkedIn. Email continues to be the bedrock of online communications for seniors. As of August 2011, 86% of internet users age 65+ use email. They found high percentages of senior users going online for news, email, weather, hobbies, health information, and just for fun.
Websites, videos and blogs continue to have a significant impact on how we receive information and connect with resources. Even on YouTube free senior health videos have become more prevalent from senior yoga classes to chair exercises that can be accessed anywhere and anytime. Websites such as WebMD and AARP are providing education, positive health tips, and resources for managing and preventing chronic illness. (Always consult a doctor before implementing anything new into your health routine) As a result of online Meetup Groups, Facebook and other social sites, it has never been easier to form local senior groups that regularly engage together in hobbies, classes, walks, museum visits, and more. For a list of important blogs on aging for seniors and families caring for them, check out our video that presents 5 great blog resources you should know about.
As technology has become part of our everyday lives, it is helping to weave healthy living habits and information into our everyday realm as well. So, where do all these tools, information, and technology get us? The answer is simple. There has been a significant paradigm shift in the way we treat our own health and bodies. We used to think that we were dealt a set of genes and either we would be healthy, or we would be unhealthy, but there wasn’t much that we could do to impact what happened to us or how we aged. The truth is we have learned that our habits and behaviors over time have a significant impact on how long we live and how well we live the years we have. The better connected we are to our own health, the better equipped we are to participate in our own well-being and the better we take care of ourselves, the longer and fuller lives we are able to enjoy.
Published on May 29, 2013.