Smart Tech for the Holidays: 6 Must-Have Devices for Seniors

November 29, 2017

by: The My Medicare Matters Team 

As you age, there’s a misconception that your interest in technology decreases. In a time when cellphones are one of the most popular accessories for people, older adults are more tech savvy now than ever. Truth is, a growing number of older Americans are embracing technology and recognizing the many ways it can actually make life easier. From managing health concerns to keeping in touch with the grandkids, tech knows no generational boundaries. Here are the must-have tech devices seniors should consider purchasing to make their lives richer and more convenient as they age.

1. Tablets – iPads

A large touch screen, keypad and front facing camera; no we’re not talking about the latest smartphone, and but it’s larger counterpart the tablet. These devices are typically easier and more comfortable to use than the smartphone because of their larger features and touchpads. Most tablets come with built in cameras which can be used to connect with friends and family members you may not see as often as you would like. Just by downloading one of the latest video messaging, texting or social media applications you can connect with loved ones across the country in seconds.

Tablets are also great for the millions of apps you can download for entertainment or mental stimulation like your favorite novel, crossword puzzles, or brain and memory training games. Everyday tasks like reminders to take medication or scheduling appointments can be done through your tablet as well, making your life easier and assisting with your health care needs.

2. Fitness Trackers – FitBit, Apple Watch, Samsung Watch

An important part of aging gracefully is staying active. A fitness trend taking America by storm is keeping track of daily steps. Experts say 10,000 steps per day makes for a healthier lifestyle. Today’s fitness trackers can be worn inconspicuously as a watch or clipped in your pocket. They can not only count your steps and remind you to get up and walk, but they also help you monitor your heart rate, plan healthier meals and track how well you sleep each night.

3. Car Safety Technology

Maintaining independence as a driver is a huge priority for many older adults and with emerging car technology, that desire has become a lot more feasible. A recent CARFAX study revealed that Americans age 55 and older are generally late adopters of technology, yet they are more trusting of tech than millennials. Car features like backup cameras, blind-spot monitoring, forward/rear collision warnings and automatic parking provide additional assistance to drivers who may need it. Most of these features come standard with newer vehicles, but if you aren’t in the market for a new car you can purchase features like the backup camera at your local electronic or auto store and install it with minimal assistance.

While these features are designed to complement driver’s capabilities, they are not a substitute for safe driving habits. If you feel as though your driving skills are diminishing it may be time to turn your license into the DMV and have a conversation with your family about transportation alternatives.

4. Voice Assistants – Amazon Alexa and Google Home

“Ok, Google, where did I put my keys?” Wouldn’t it be nice to find lost items with a simple voice command? With personal voice assistants, you can do just that. These devices are especially useful for aging seniors who may have issues with fine motor control or memory. Voice assistants offer the ability to relay information, manage your calendar, turn on your favorite song and even control the lights—without lifting a finger. Voice assistants are one of the newest devices on the market, so you will likely be able to find one that fits your needs for an affordable price.

5. Smart Home Features

Home automation features can also be useful for most people. They provide convenience for everyday activities, can help reduce utility bills and increase your home’s safety. Smart thermostats allow you to control the temperature of your home when you’re away with just a swipe on your cell phone. You can also preset your preferred temperature to turn on at a specific time. Smart lighting has similar features and can be set up to react to movement or voice commands. One home feature you may already be familiar with is the security system, but with updates like viewing live feed from your phone, integrating your lights and thermostat, and pet friendly motion detectors these state of the art systems have greatly evolved over the years. It may be time to consider upgrading your current system or investing in one especially if you live alone.

6. Emergency Devices – Medical Alert System

We’ve all heard the catch phrase “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” But the truth is, —it can happen to anyone. Falling in your home and having no one there to help you is a downright scary to think of. Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS) can be instrumental in safety and peace of mind. A PERS device is wearable and enables you to call for help, alerting emergency responders to come when needed, without you having to reach for the phone. These devices can bring comfort to both seniors and their families.

With countless ways to seamlessly integrate technology into their lives, aging Americans can enjoy their later years with added convenience, safety and even a little bit of fun.