The digital world is increasingly accessible to everyone, even to the elderly. And is that many technological innovations are aimed at improving the quality of life of the elderly population in several areas. The goal is not only to enrich your experience as a digital user but also to make your day-to-day easier. But what are the benefits that the Internet can bring to the elderly? Below are a number of technologies that enhance the lives of seniors: from apps for health to proposals for improving memory.
According to data from the National Institute of Statistics contained in the report ‘A profile of the elderly in Spain’, 34.7% of those over 65 have used the Internet in the last three months. This figure has grown almost 30% from 2006 to 2016, which shows that technology is increasingly integrated into the daily lives of elderly people, who rely on the Net for daily habits such as informing themselves.
There are many areas where technology is being used to make life easier for older people. Software, mobile apps, social networking advancements, etc., everything can be very useful for them. These are some of the most widespread uses:
1. Technologies adapted for elderly
The first thing to ensure is that access to new technologies is possible for the elderly. Internet is a whole new world for many older people, so it is common for them to experience difficulty navigating the Web or using their mobile phones. However, today it is possible to adapt operating systems such as Android, that is, make them more intuitive by modifying the menus or increasing the size of images and text. Some applications that can do this are WISER, Large Launcher, and even SwiftKey, with which you can enlarge the keyboard of the phone.
2. Applications that care for the health of the elderly
As the years go by, health care becomes an even more important priority. And thanks to some apps, taking care of yourself is a lot easier. As far as sport and physical exercise are concerned, it is a very interesting Pedometer, an application that allows calculating the distances and the calories consumed in the walks of the older ones. Another of the most common needs is to keep up with the medications they have to take. To avoid missing a single detail there is the Medisafe app, which warns by notifying when to take the drugs.
3. Applications to communicate with family
One of the words that best define the essence of the Internet is connected. The Network brings people together, even the elderly. In this sense, some cities in the world such as the Japanese Iruma are promoting initiatives to help the elderly who are lost through identifiers with QR codes. In addition, instant messaging services and simple programs like Skype help many older people stay in touch with loved ones and friends when it is not possible to move from home.
4. Apps for memory
In the same way that the body is trained, the brain must also be exercised. To combat or at least minimize the effects of memory loss, there are applications such as Memory Trainer, with which to developmental, language, and logic calculation capabilities. In this way, in the palm of the hand is all the power to design mental training routines and exercise brain activity continuously.
5. Fun Apps
Older people have plenty of free time, so entertainment is an essential part of their lives. The possibilities offered by technology are endless: from lightweight digital books with eye-catching special screens to intuitive video games for tablets and mobile devices. A wide range of audiovisual content (films, series, and documentaries) is available to the Internet and Smart TV TVs offer to young and old.
Technology for all
Technology does not function as a barrier between generations, but rather the opposite. With effort, innovation, and originality it can be very easy to facilitate the inclusion of the elderly in the technological and digital environment. And, as we have seen in the text, this can have very positive consequences in their lives, but it is also something that benefits all and that makes us grow and advance as a society.