Technology can play a vital role in the lives of residents who live in nursing homes if they can embrace the technology that for many, is foreign. The good news is, many of them are indeed embracing the use of tablets and cell phones.
According to the Pew Research Center, among seniors ages 65 and older, about 85 percent own a cell phone. Of those seniors, 46 percent have used a smartphone.
Embracing this technology has proven to be very useful at Maine Veterans’ Homes as well as nursing homes across the country while combating COVID-19. Loved ones are elated to video chat with their family member while they can’t see them in person. Husbands and wives have celebrated anniversaries, families have celebrated 100th birthdays and even the births of grandchildren digitally.
Staff at Maine Veterans’ Homes are happy to help residents video chat with their families. However, if you can teach your mom or dad, grandfather or grandmother, how to use a tablet, they will feel empowered to contact you themselves, whenever they feel, not just when a staff member’s schedule allows it.
Independence And More
Our moms and dads, grandmothers and grandfathers, whether living at home or in a nursing home, can find great comfort and independence in having a cell phone or tablet. It allows them to communicate with who they want, when they want to, and it also gives them a window to an entire world outside of the Home.
Thanks to the introduction of smartphones, and tech-savvy families willing to teach their loved ones how to use the technology, those ages 65 and older have become frequent internet users – 73 percent. Compare that to the same age group in the year 2000 which only saw 14 percent using the Internet.
Common reasons seniors enjoy having this technology:
- Video chat with family
- Check the date, time and weather
There is an endless number of apps with games that can not only entertain, but challenge the seniors who use them. A cell phone or tablet is great for a senior who wants to sharpen their thinking – they can use brain-training apps that help improve memory and logical thinking. These apps may also help seniors slow the aging process and stay mentally fresh.
This technology also allows a tablet user to access audiobooks and podcasts for those whose eyesight makes it difficult for them to enjoy newspapers, books or magazines.
Staying Together Virtually
Connectivity remains a top reason for your loved one in a nursing home to have a cell phone or tablet. You can send them photos of their grandchildren and great-grandchildren; you can see one another’s faces through video chatting – and in the absence of an actual in-person visit, this brings much comfort to everyone.
There are also phones geared specifically to seniors that feature more simple menus, higher volume options, magnifying cameras, and closed captioning features.
While learning new technology can be stressful for seniors, with the right guidance from family members, it can be a gift and even create special moments that wouldn’t have been possible if they hadn’t learned to embrace this helpful technology.
About Maine Veterans’ Homes
Staff at all six Maine Veterans’ Homes locations help residents stay connected with families when they can’t visit in person. They set up video chats between residents and their families, read letters and emails to them and they print out photos sent in on social media. To learn more about becoming a resident at MVH, download our free Eligibility Guide >>>