Written by Nurse Susan
Curious how technology can give your health and wellness a boost as a senior? Don’t miss this quick guide:
Talk to a Doctor
If an after-hours run to an urgent care clinic or a visit to the doctor during peak flu season has you hunkering down at home even when you feel ill, it may be time to check out telemedicine. The latest in the evolution of mobile health technologies, telemedicine is providing convenient access to licensed and board-certified medical professionals via live video chat on your computer.
Some health insurance providers already offer telemedicine portals for patients to connect with doctors online, but other online services like Doctor on Demand also let you live video chat with a doctor who can assess your symptoms, evaluate your condition, and even order some tests and prescribe medicine.
Organize Medicine Schedules
Did you know that roughly 50% of people with a chronic illness do not take their medicine as prescribed? An estimated 4 out of 5 seniors live with at least one chronic illness too, many of which are managed with medicine. Coordinating medicine schedules when there are different prescriptions, dosings, and frequencies not to mention multiple providers can get complicated.
Smartphone apps like MediSafe, Pillboxie, and CareZone can lend a hand in helping seniors and their caregivers set up alerts for taking pills as well as remind you when it’s time to refill prescriptions and when you have upcoming doctor’s appointments.
While quick, packaged meals save seniors time when it comes to preparing food to eat each day, they are notoriously unhealthy. For example, one frozen lasagna entree may have over half of your recommended daily allotment of sodium in one serving. Same goes for some canned foods, processed meats, and cereals.
Accessing fresh, whole foods can be a challenge for seniors who can’t always get transportation to the grocery store. That’s where online grocery delivery services like Instacart and Amazon Prime Now can help. Seniors can order the groceries they want online and have them delivered straight to their door. More nutritious meal options can make a huge difference in your own health (and your waistline!).
Set Up Your Medical ID
Did you know you can securely store important health information in your smartphone? In the case of an emergency, if you are hurt or ill and unable to speak with emergency workers, they are often trained to check your smartphone for important personal and health data including:
- Known health conditions
- Blood Type
- Emergency contact number
Both iPhones and Androids now come with “Health” applications where you can enter this information and it can be accessed from your lock screen by emergency personnel without having to enter a passcode. It’s essentially like a clearer, more informative “medical ID bracelet”.
Is financial stress taking a toll on your emotional wellbeing? Sticking to a budget in retirement is a stark reality for many seniors, as is continuing to work into your 70s or finding part-time jobs to supplement social security income. Technology can come in handy in this respect, helping seniors earn extra cash from the comfort of their own home.
Seniors can list and sell nicer, gently-used items online with sites like eBay, Facebook Marketplace, or Craigslist. You can also teach lessons or tutor a child via live video chat or set up a work-from-home consulting business contracting with clients in the industry in which you spent your career. Helpful tools like laptop desks let you work in bed, in your favorite recliner, standing at the kitchen counter, you name it.
Video Chat with Family
If you are one of the millions of seniors experiencing loneliness, social isolation, anxiety, or depression, your doctor may have recommended getting out more and trying to connect more regularly with friends and family live. If mobility issues or other conditions prevent you from frequently leaving the house, perhaps technology can help you connect with friends and family far away.
Free, digital tools like Skype, Google+ Hangouts, and Facetime allow you to speak with other people over WiFi using your computer or another mobile device with a webcam and speaker. Seniors can see their loved ones essentially face to face which also makes it easier to carry on conversations if you are hard of hearing.
Technology can also equip seniors with tools that indirectly benefit their health, like apps for streaming stress-relieving music (Spotify, Pandora, etc), or usability features like being able to magnify text and brighten screens to better read books, online newspapers, and so forth.