The beauty of living in this time is that there is a technological aid for almost every challenge you may have as you get older. Live alone? Get a voice-activated AI such as Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri to talk to and interact with. Need reminders to drink enough water? Buy a water bottle that chimes when it’s time to take a drink. Everywhere around us there are solutions to our problems, and no one needs solutions more than senior citizens. Here is a short list of health tips and tech aids meant specifically for seniors.
The number one health tip for everyone regardless of age is to quit smoking and/or vaping. By quitting smoking you immediately improve your overall health by preventing cancer, strokes, and heart failure. Technology to the rescue! Researchers at Case Western Reserve University have developed wearable sensor technology that delivers an alert to assist people who are trying to quit smoking. The wearable detects certain arm motions that indicate smoking and sends you a text message or a video message reminding you of the risks of smoking. The research has shown a marked improvement in smoking cessation due to this technology, which is wonderful considering that smoking is responsible for one out of every five deaths in the United States according to the CDC.
Another great risk for the aging body is falling, which is both more likely and also causes more damage. Use technology to help your senior if they fall or have a medical emergency while you aren’t there. A wearable alert device such as a medical alert system is instrumental in getting emergency services or a family member to the senior as quickly as possible in the case of a fall, stroke, or other mishap. There are a number of different devices for different situations, so check the review sites to find the best one for you. These devices are especially important for those elderly family members who live alone.
Another healthy living tip – especially for seniors or those who live alone – is to make sure you are eating a balanced diet and getting enough nutrition. This can be hard for seniors, who often don’t want to plan meals or cook large amounts. Luckily, the Internet is full of websites, blogs, and menu planning services that can accommodate this shift in eating and cooking habits. There are apps you can use to keep track of what you are eating and when (for example, Simple Meal Reminder for Android and FoodRemindr for Apple users). These simple and free apps allow you to track your eating, sound alarms as reminders to eat, and give you a simple way to see what your overall eating patterns are (this can also be helpful in case your doctor wants you to keep a food diary).
Another healthy alternative for seniors – although it’s definitely more of a low-tech option – is to invest in a meal-kit delivery service such as HelloFresh, Freshly, or Home Chef. These meals or meal kits are delivered to the doorstep with all of the ingredients and recipes that are needed. Some of these services are geared specifically for seniors or single adults, so that your senior isn’t burdened with too many leftovers and can still enjoy fresh, healthy meals. Some companies such as Freshly deliver fully prepared meals, while other services such as HelloFresh will deliver the ingredients and recipes for your loved one to make if that’s what they prefer.
Another good tip for seniors is to find a simple, technological solution for your medication management. Most of us have a pill keeper, but how about a pill keeper that reminds you when it’s time to take your meds? And only unlocks the appropriate box for you at the specified time? Tech aids such as the Pillboxie or MedMinder can be extremely helpful for family members who are responsible for an aging senior who may not remember to take his or her regular meds. They can be programmed to play an alarm at the appropriate time, unlock only that day’s meds, and send a text alert to the family member if the medication is not taken. Another good tool is something like the Reminder Rosie, a talking clock that you can also program to give verbal messages to your loved one. Not only can you remind your senior to take their meds, you or any family member can record messages to remind them that they are loved, that you will call them at a certain time, or any other message that can be delivered at a specified time.
It’s definitely a great time to be a senior citizen with all that the future holds, technologically speaking. Use these health tips to stay healthy, live longer, and look forward to a bright, healthy future.