With the advent of many excellent new technologies, it’s important to plan ahead for the impact that they may have on our lives and communities. Find out how these technologies are opening up new and exciting possibilities for those staying in an assisted living facility.
Smartphones Are Only the First Step
Face-to-face communications with a smartphone have opened up a wide array of opportunities to communicate with friends and family more easily. Unfortunately, as our loved ones age, they can often feel left behind or overwhelmed by new technology. We’ve come a long way since rotary phones and the first car phones that were available only along certain roads. Still, while smartphone controls are designed to be intuitive for younger users, they can baffle many people in older generations. If possible, phones with simpler controls or limited menus can be a more user-friendly option for residents of an assisted living facility.
Computer Software Is Complicated
It’s important to find a balance when making simplified versions of the most useful technology available to seniors. Video chat is an incredibly fun way to see the growth of far-away grandkids, but don’t expect Grandma to download and register for the software on her own. The first step is finding an assortment of the most useful programs and making them easy to find on the desktop. Sticky notes with passwords and other login information aren’t an ideal solution for most people, but it will be okay to write the passwords for the most harmless websites like social media sites. Investment portfolio and bank account logins shouldn’t be easily visible to other residents and visitors, because it’s worth noting that the environment in an assisted living facility is naturally a less private than the typical home office.
Personal Music and Stereos
While elderly individuals are unlikely to be terribly impressed by the concept of MP3s, it’s better to download a selection of artists and musicians from their childhood and teenage years and impress them with the availability of all the nostalgia-inspiring media. Ask for a list of their favorite musicians, by all means, but also pull from the popular listings of the day. We all get in the habit of giving routine answers for questions like “what music do you like?” until we inevitably forget a few of the minor favorites that we never got around to mentioning. Hearing a blast from the past can stimulate forgotten connections in the brain and bring back other memories.
Tech for a Higher Quality of Life
Social media can be a way to stay connected while living in an assisted living facility by allowing people to network with old friends around the world or family across the country. Technology can also provide a way to access forgotten movies and music and other archived records from bygone eras. The point of making all the connections, however, isn’t just to prove that Grandpa can still “be hip” and learn computers. The focus has to be on finding technology that’s meaningful for a user who no longer needs to care about what’s hip or cutting edge. Residents of any assisted living facility have earned the right not to bother with technology for the sake of being up-to-date.