Tech ideas on you can care for your mom or dad remotely. Technology is crucial in helping seniors combat social isolation.
In the midst of this global pandemic, societies large and small are being asked to socially isolate to help curb the impact of COVID-19. The novel coronavirus which was first discovered in Wuhan, China at the end of 2019 has since reached all corners of the globe and as of March 29, there have been 634,835 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 29,957 deaths.
According to research from the World Health Organization (WHO) each person with coronavirus will go on to infect between two and two-and-a-half other people on average. On top of that, older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. To help prevent the spread and infection, especially for seniors or those with compromised immune systems, the WHO has asked governments around the world to implement social isolation practices. These practices include only leaving home for essential services like groceries and keeping two meters of distance between people when out. Even visiting the homes of friends or loved ones is frowned upon because COVID-19 can present asymptomatically.
Seniors at risk
8 out of 10 deaths reported in the U.S. have been in adults 65 years old and older
Among adults with confirmed COVID-19 reported in the US:
- Estimated percent requiring hospitalization
- 31-70% of adults 85 years old and older
- 31-59% of adults 65-84 years old
In an article for Vox, Sean Leng, a geriatrician and professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine explains why seniors are more at-risk for COVID-19. “Immune function is not as robust as it is in younger people, studies over the years have shown that immune functions go down rather quickly after age 75 or 80.”
The problem isolation causes seniors
More than that, is how society is treating seniors during this time. Measures like social distancing and quarantines remain the most effective tactics for shielding the most vulnerable during this outbreak. But robust social networks and interactions improve health for older adults. We are in the midst of a difficult situation for seniors that need protection from COVID-19 but also experience better health through socialization.
Through the use of technology, the fear of isolation can be mitigated by connecting older adults to their social networks through apps like video calling software or even online gaming.
The measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 can also affect care for chronic illnesses among seniors, particularly as the people like nurses providing the care start to keep their distance. Age tends to bring more chronic illnesses, which in turn demand more frequent health interventions or ongoing treatment in house. However, services are being stretched thin as both nurses and clients are at risk for contracting the deadly disease through house visits.One answer to this concern has been telehealth services. According to Statista, telehealth patients have grown from 0.35 million in 2013 to approximately 7 million as of 2018.
There is different technology out there to help seniors stay connected and keep up their physical health. What is the right solution for you and your loved ones?
Technology as an essential tool
Social isolation has been made easier with software and technology that allows people to work from home, video call friends and family, get a good workout, or even listen to an audiobook.
For younger generations well-versed in technology, the change has been an easy one. But what about seniors aged 75 and up? How are they dealing with feelings of isolation or health in these confusing times?
More than ever before technology is crucial to our way of life, in fact, moving forward it demonstrates how this pandemic is changing how people should think in the new world.
Different options for the socially isolate senior
There is a variety of easy-to-use technology for seniors in social isolation.
A tablet designed with seniors in mind, Grandpad Tablet for seniors is considered one of the best tablets for elderly. It allows them to connect with their loved ones through the free Grandpad companion app and web portal. Grandpad is designed as a private family network, that allows family members to upload photos and adjust settings. It is connected through iPhone, Android, iPad, or desktop computer. It removes the clutter bringing only the essential apps and services to Grandpad users.
Google Home and Amazon Alexa
The Google Home or Amazon Alexafor seniors give hands-free help in any room. From checking the weather, to creating lists and managing your calendar. Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology from Google and Amazon allows users access to nearly everything on the Internet without the added stress of typing it out or scouring the web. Seniors can also get peace of mind by programming their AI assistant to set medication alerts.
Medical alert apps
Medical alert apps like iMedAlert or Philips Lifeline are great additions to any smartphone. They perform like other medical alert systems (often cheaper), sending out a call for distress with the push of a button. On top of that, iMedAlert also texts medical data to first responders and acts as an alarm. However, one issue noted with medical alert applications is the adverse feelings seniors still feel towards complicated, touch-sensitive smart phone technology.
Advertised as “the simplest smartphone ever,” the Jitterbug Smart 2 gives users a simple, list-based menu, easily readable 5’5” screen, and access to the 5Star Urgent Response button. It’s a smartphone for seniors that have difficulty with all the clutter and screen sensitivity associated with this technolog
Sirona.TV combines the best features of these products to create a system that allows seniors and their loved ones achieve peace of mind in this unsure time.
The anchor includes an 8-megapixel camera, and 6 microphones with a 15-foot range, HDMI port and simple to use remote control. It allows users to phone, or video chat with family and friends, store a photo album, check the weather with a simple “Hey Sirona, how is the weather” and most importantly monitor their health.
With the Sirona.TV telehealth feature, seniors living in social isolation can monitor their health with a blood pressure cuff that connects to the anchor, keep up with exercise with videos targeted to their specific needs. Seniors can also stay in touch with family through video or phone call software and share precious photos through the photo album feature. Sirona.TV is a value-add system, technology that allows seniors the social and health security they need during this crisis.
Sirona.TV is geared towards seniors aged 75 and up with its easy interface, with large graphics making it easy-to-use, and streamlined information to help reduce the social divide.
It’s important now more than ever to stay active – mentally, emotionally and physically. With technology like Sirona.TV stay connected and stay safe.