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Trends and Benefits of Technology for Seniors

Seniors—a generation that’s seen telephones become palm-sized devices and computers go from filling a room to fitting in a pouch—are using today’s technology in many ways, from staying in touch with loved ones to managing their health.

Smartphone ownership has risen among older adults ages 65 and up; today, about half who own cellphones have some type of smartphone, up from 23% in 2013. Internet use among older adults has risen to nearly 70%; and e-readers and tablets, and the use of social media, are also growing in popularity among seniors.

Here’s a look at how some technology is benefiting elders.

Senior safety
For seniors who take several prescription medications a day, it can be challenging to keep track of medications. One way in which technology helps is with smartphone apps and wearables for medication management and health tracking. Reminders and alerts are available, and these apps can also help prevent medication errors. And, we are all aware of the emergency alert systems that summon assistance in our buildings at the push of a button on one’s pendant. There are also other devices are available to monitor heart health, activity, and location to keep users safe.

Voice-activated devices and smart homes are also helping keep older adults safe, especially as mobility issues arise. These devices can turn lights on and off and adjust thermostats; in private homes, they can also turn the lawn sprinklers on and off.

Socializing
Staying socially active is as important as being mentally or physically active as we age. The emergence of Skype and similar video and audio chat programs are helping seniors stay in touch with family member across the country and around the world. Social media adoption is rising as grandparents want to stay abreast of their grandchildren’s accomplishments and enjoy photos of friends and family.

There are a few social media networks specifically for seniors. The stated goal of Stitch is to help seniors find peers with similar interests. Those seeking a roommate can go on the Gold Girls Network, and video-based virtual senior centers are available.

Active minds and bodies
Computer games help keep older minds agile. Of course, in our JCHC communities, there are many activities already programmed into each week, and for those who enjoy some screen time, there are many games one can play alone or with other online participants, such as jigsaw puzzles, mahjong or Scrabble.

JCHC residents enjoy weekly exercise classes but there’s always room for some additional physical activity revolving around technology. For those with grandchildren who own video game systems like Wii or PlayStation, a visit with family could include a fun round of virtual tennis, bowling, golf, and other ways to stay physically active.

Residents in all our JCHC senior living communities have access to computers in the libraries or computer rooms, where they enjoy using It’s Never2Late, a computer program designed specifically for older adults. Residents can browse the internet, send and receive email, play computer games, use Facebook, explore distant lands, and more.

Whether living in their private homes or in a senior living community, there are many opportunities for seniors to enjoy and benefit from technology. A quick internet search will yield many results for devices and programs to keep older adults engaged, socializing and safe.

Making the Transition to a Retirement Community

Moving from your long-time home to a retirement community brings about a lot of change which can be difficult for many people. Leaving the place where many memories were created can bring up strong emotions, moving away from old friends or the thought of going to a new place may trigger feelings of uncertainty.

However, moving into a retirement community also means starting a new chapter of life—one that brings new opportunities for discovery with peers.

Benefits of living in a retirement community
If you’re moving from a private home or condo, you’ll leave behind the cares of maintaining or upgrading a home. No more worries about the roof or siding, appliance repair, lawn maintenance, sidewalk repairs, snow removal, and so many other expensive or time-consuming tasks.

Do you like to visit family and friends for long weekends or plan nice vacations? Forget security systems or asking neighbors to check on the house. Just close the door and go, knowing your home is secure.

Best of all, senior living enables you to age in place, safely and with dignity. There’s always staff around, programming is designed to keep seniors active and engaged, and the residences are built with older adults’ needs at the forefront.

If you’re an older adult considering the move, here are some things to keep in mind.

Getting familiar with senior residences
Visit several senior living communities to get a feeling for the type of environment or lifestyle best suits your preferences or needs. Some considerations are:

  • Would you like senior housing with a range of services and programs?
  • Would you like to open your apartment door every day to an array of activities?
  • What about the amenities offered?
  • While touring the communities, take a ride around the area as well so you have a good idea of where town services, stores, and restaurants are located.
  • Ask if you can sample a meal in the dining room (where you’ll also have a chance to meet and chat with residents). If you have specific dietary needs, find out if those can be met.

Settling into your new home
When you move into your new home, place some favorite photos or special keepsakes in your apartment to help it feel more familiar (along with furniture pieces you’ve brought with you). If you’re feeling a bit adventurous, you might consider buying some new furniture to give your apartment a fresh look. Have fun with it!

Once you move in, make sure to try out some of the offerings so you get familiar with your new surroundings and get acquainted with your neighbors. Whether it’s a class, lecture, or movie night, participating in all that’s available will help you meet like-minded people with whom to share this life chapter. Staying open to new experiences will help you write a new story for yourself. Perhaps you will:

  • Learn a new hobby or creative pursuit like painting, knitting, or poetry
  • Engage in adult learning classes about new topics
  • Join a book club or discussion group.
  • Go on an outing to a place you’ve never visited before

Widen your social circle
Remember that you’ll be surrounded by new neighbors who will welcome you, and a support staff that’s eager to make you feel at home. Talk to your fellow residents about their experiences, the kinds of programs they enjoy, and give yourself time to acclimate to your surroundings and your new acquaintances—some of whom will soon become your friends. Many seniors find that when they establish those personal connections, they feel truly at home. That’s when the fun can really begin!

At the JCHC, our senior living communities offer older adults a variety of services, programs, and amenities—and many ways to write a new chapter that enriches their lives. Contact our team for information about independent living, assisted living, and memory care options in Essex County and Morris County, NJ.

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