Growing up in the age of the internet, mobile phones and Ipads I can’t imagine how anyone lived without them. Watching Band of Brothers and films that document the horrors of war I find it difficult to put myself in those character’s shoes and imagine moving away from the city to the country to avoid bombs or ever experiencing a real threat of dying.
So if I find it so difficult to relate with a world where thousands were slaughtered in gas chambers, where family members dying was not unusual and where sugar was rationed, it is hardly surprising our elders find it difficult to relate to these new things emerging. The fear of the unknown is probably the strongest. But, despite this, on a day to day basis I see technologies that will not only benefit the young, driven, city slicker but also provide company, mental stimulation and safety for the elderly.
So how can technologies benefit the elderly? Below we look at the barriers to overcome the fears of modern day living and the new technologies that offer us solutions..
“I’m too old to learn all that”
Are you to old? No of course not. Its not going to be easy but was learning to ride a bike, taking your first trip away or driving? Nothing is easy to begin with until you learn the skill! And now we have a fantastic resource from Age UK
Age UK Advice: 0800 169 6565
A message from my Nan after calling them “Wow, this lovely young man helped me. My TV was all fuzzy and he talked me through it step by step. Knew which button I needed to press! And do you know what? He didn’t even have to come over because I was able to follow his instructions and made it work myself!”
“I don’t want anyone changing anything”
This is usually the fear of losing control and the unknown. No one should be forced into anything. Try to show them the benefits and take something over to try.
“I don’t understand how it all works”
If this is the answer it is useful as a care giver or a physio to give advice and information sheets that the patient can have a browse through at their leisure.
Simple observations and Possible solutions
Scenario One – Day Care Centre Entertainment
This can be used in sitting or standing (if appropriate for the patient)
The Benefits Include…….
Active games – Increase heart rate, endorphin release, laughter, mental stimulation, improve balance.
Mental Games – ‘Use it or lose it’ philosophy. Increased self esteem, mental stimulation.
It is well known that physical exercise, balance exercises and fitness is useful for elderly patients to reduce the risk of falls, improve circulation, improve quality of life and confidence, particularly in a care setting. Get your patients involved and active to keep them fit and healthy.
Scenario 2 – Elderly patient wanders off in the night
Ever been worried that your patients will wander off and be unable to find their way home? According to the Alzheimer’s Society 800,000 people in the UK have Dementia and in our ever aging population this is growing.
Dementia is the term that refers to the symptoms such as memory loss, communication difficulties and mood changes. This can be the result of diseases where the brain becomes damaged.
This nifty bit of kit from Fijutsi provides a walking stick with a difference. Its clever GPS downloads information on the walker’s location through Wi-fi, 3G or Bluetooth. Relatives can access an App or computer system to see where their relative is. Even better the stick can give direction so if your lost it can help you find your way home!! It can also measure heart rate to see if the patients are within normal healthy ranges. In the future they hope to develop an emergency button that could e used to call emergency services and provide their position. Finally!!
Scenario 3 – Loneliness
Can you imagine being 85? Your husband has passed on, your family have passed on and your dear friend Katherine lives down the road but you are no longer mobile enough to visit her except for once a week when you can get a lift? Being retired you have a lot of time to think and you can no longer get out and about as you used to.
There are so many games on the Ipad which are becoming increasingly easy to use. Even better you can video call and catch up with Katherine for a quick catch up over mid morning tea.
It’s light, easy to use (if provided education from grandchildren or physio techies!)
Provides mental stimulation, puzzles, quizzes, books, games, music, communication. For the younger 60-70 you can access fitness apps that set goals and provide advice on conditions and keeping healthy and active.