Technology & Aging

My parents had a favorite restaurant—they loved splitting the extremely generous ribs platter.  About a year ago, their regular server told them that a new corporate policy had been enacted and the restaurant would not provide actual menus. Every customer would have to use the restaurant’s cellphone app to view the menu and place their orders.  My parents have never embraced technology and this new policy caused them to stop visiting their favorite restaurant.

Stories like this are not unusual. Consumers looking for assistance are often told to “visit our website” to learn more about whatever it is they need.  For many of us, being told to use the internet is not a problem. But, for many older Americans who have lived their lives very well without internet technology, this is a problem. Even something as simple as a television can become a challenge as newer televisions are designed to handle the trend toward streaming entertainment instead of the traditional cable channel lineup.  Looking at a remote control device for a television purchased in 2022 can be intimidating to anyone—especially if that person has little experience with technology.

Technology is redefining aging. A myriad of devices are being developed to assist people aging at home and their caregivers.  The vast number of “smart” devices can be extremely helpful if placed in the right home. There are considerations though. If a device depends on WIFI, will the person using the device be able to reset the WIFI or recognize that the WIFI is not working? Will the user remember to recharge the battery appropriately?  If they have multiple devices, will they be able to differentiate between several chargers?

Smart plugs can be programmed to turn lights on and off and specific times of the day. If connected to an interactive voice activated device, a person can control the lights from anywhere—lessening the risk of walking through a dark room.

Medication Management Devices. Powered by apps and cloud computing, these services can help with pill refills and reminders, enable monitoring by caregivers, send notifications and provide educational resources. Medication regimens can be complex for some people, and new tools can help keep it organized.

Wearable Sensors/Trackers. Often looking like a wrist watch, fitness trackers can act as a reminder to get up and walk around.  In addition, sensors can track heart health, quality and quantity of sleep, and other physical conditions, and this data can be shared with doctors and caregivers.

Convenience apps One of the keys to improving quality of life is helping seniors age at home and maintain independence. This can be difficult when driving and/or carrying heavy packages becomes an issue. There are several apps providing grocery and prepared food delivery, helping the user to eat healthy even if they have problems getting to a store or restaurant.

Monitoring for Emergencies While the goal is aging at home and independence, there is still a need for in-home monitoring and emergency services. Sensors and apps can help family members and medical professionals keep tabs on at risk seniors.

Social Apps One of the keys to living a long and happy life is social engagement and community support. Social services and apps can keep boomers in touch with family and friends and help them find communities of like-minded people to communicate with on a regular basis. For users with specific physical conditions, there are online patient communities and peer-to-peer support and counseling web sites.

Specially programmed tablets are now available to provide a user with internet access without having to understand the technology. These tablets sometimes will include phone service that limits the incoming calls to a pre-approved contact list—helping to avoid scam calls.

Understanding that technology can be useful, but can also be very confusing and overwhelming to an older user, SeniorCare has introduced a Technology Navigator to the services offered to North Shore seniors. The Technology Navigator can help setup and explain specific devices, can recommend products that may be helpful to the user and caregivers, and much more.

In addition to offering a Technology Navigator, SeniorCare is introducing innovative technologies to their consumers.  Two of SeniorCare’s most exciting programs— and virtual reality—will be demonstrated at SeniorCare’s 50th Anniversary Celebration on September 22, 2022, at the Beauport Hotel. For more information and reservations to the celebration, visit To learn more about SeniorCare’s services, call 978-281-1750 and ask to speak with an Information & Referral specialist.