The compatibility of older generations with new technology is often questioned – and this is entirely understandable. Even those in their late twenties struggle to comprehend how those in their teens master new technology; with new apps, social media channels and devices emerging all the time. It’s hard for any generation to keep up with the one before.
So, for those in their golden years, much of today’s technology may appear incomprehensible compared to what they were familiar with in their youth. But, despite a possible reluctance to engage in recent technological developments, it’s certainly worth encouraging your loved one to do so.
A key benefit of this, is that it helps to maintain brain activity and cognitive function, providing enough challenge to keep the mind sharp.
Older generations, and even younger, have long been encouraged to engage in pastimes such as crosswords and Sudoku to encourage appropriate mental stimulation, with something as simple as a puzzle book going a long way in aiding this.
However, new technology can offer greater benefits, with an excellent example of this being electronic tablets.
These devices have the advantage of being easily accessible, user-friendly and portable – something that’s of real benefit in a care home environment. They also provide an infinite offering thanks to their connectivity.
Taking a standard puzzle book as a comparative example; it’s not long before they’re completed from cover to cover, which, of course, means you then need to head out to get a new one.
For an elderly care home resident, this is easier said than done.
While we provide all sorts of stimulating materials at Goatacre, some of our residents are more voracious than others in how much they consume, which means they often look to their friends and family to provide them with new resources to keep them sufficiently entertained.
If your care home visits are less frequent than you’d like, this can sometimes prove tricky to keep on top of and can even be a source of stress and worry.
This is where the use of an electronic tablet can really come to the fore. Puzzles, games, quizzes and challenges are constantly refreshed and updated, with varying degrees of difficulty to suit personal preferences, meaning your loved one is provided with a never-ending stream of entertainment. They can also connect to the internet, which provides them with literally endless engagement opportunities.
At Goatacre, our team are always delighted to assist our residents with items such as iPads, helping to guide them through the process and ensuring they’re enjoying the appropriate level of challenge.
Other fantastic technological tools are electronic readers. Although the smell and feel of a good book often can’t be beaten, e-readers, such as Amazon’s Kindle, provide boundless reams of reading materials to satisfy even the most insatiable of readers.
And while there’s nothing better for eye health than reading a standard book, e-readers, however, are designed with eye health in mind – unlike many tablets, mobile phones and computer screens. The main culprit for eye damage is the backlight, and e-readers have these removed so that users can read for the same length of time as that allowed by a physical book.
It’s not just to help keep faculties sharp though where technology can help.
As we become less mobile, day-to-day living becomes trickier.
Although our team are always on hand to assist, we’re seeing the introduction of new tools such as Amazon’s Alexa – something that can really help the less mobile. Simply uttering a command such as “Alexa, play Frank Sinatra” can soon have your loved one enjoying tunes of their choice without having to move or ask for assistance from a carer. It can also keep them entertained in the form of games, while also answering queries from the inquisitive – all triggered by the sound of their voice.
Although tablets, as mentioned, allow you to connect to the internet (and all that that entails), at Goatacre we provide a laptop and Skype for our residents to use for long distance video calls – something that can work wonders with wellbeing, as residents enjoy the opportunity to connect with family and friends.
For more information about how we can integrate the latest technologies to help with your loved one’s care, please get in touch and one of our team would be more than happy to talk things through with you.