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Digital Trends: Improving Senior Health Through Tech

With the growing focus on health holidays such as National Senior Health & Fitness Day- an observance day that’s been held on May 30 for the last 25 years encouraging seniors to take control of their health through regular physical activity- the spotlight is on digital technologies that are helping seniors learn and try new things, and communicate with each other and healthcare professionals.

So what does this mean for you? For one, it means that because the internet is more accessible than ever, there’s a truly unlimited web of resources out there to help you get better clinical care, change your eating habits, embark on a fitness journey, and more.

Take a closer look below at some of the ways technology is evolving to help you stick to your goals and ultimately live a better quality of life.

 

Telehealth

Though advancements have definitely been made in recent years, telemedicine is actually not a new concept. From whispers of using “the telephone to reduce unnecessary office visits” as early as 1879, to its current incarnation in call centers and video chats, the industry has evolved to reflect the idea that on-demand, affordable health care is a crucial priority for providers- which is great news for patients!

By using telemedicine, you can take advantage of remote monitoring for chronic conditions, access a wider net of specialists, and reduce your risk of a medical emergency, all at costs that are considerably lower than traditional healthcare. Since recent laws are requiring common providers like Medicaid to provide access to telemedicine for their patients in many cases, it can’t hurt to contact your healthcare provider, and explore your options.

 

Discussion Forums & Social Media

The advent of the internet brought with it the idea that those who had previously never met, and who could go their whole lives without physically meeting one another, could share information and opinions through online discussion forums. This isn’t a practice that will fade away anytime soon- more of the older population is online than ever before, and look to discussion forums and websites in order to make informed decisions about their health.

A big part of this is social media. As stated previously, older adults are logging on in record numbers- in fact, a study conducted by the Pew Internet research group indicated that more than 45 percent of seniors under 75 have reported using social media, a number that has steadily grown year over year, with no signs of slowing.

Sites like Facebook are a powerful resource for those looking to interact with businesses, and form groups of like-minded people (based on qualifiers like age, health conditions, and location). It’s a great way to get social and share information, and creating an account is free if you’d like to try it out.

 

Apps & Wearables

The number of seniors who own smartphones has more than doubled since 2013, according to the same Pew Internet research study. Health and fitness apps and wearable tracking devices (think FitBit) have made fitness and nutrition information more accessible than ever before- and are paving the way for other smartphone apps and devices specifically designed to help seniors.

Whether it’s a gps tracker for dementia “wanderers”, to a device that tracks your sleep patterns and helps you draw conclusions about your health, apps and wearables can be helpful no matter what stage in the aging process you are.

 

The Takeaway

It’s important to stay connected, especially as we age. Try some of these tips, distilled from the info above, to get you online and active in no time!

  • Ask your doctor about telemedicine options
  • Create a social media account and connect with friends and family
  • oin an online chat or form a Facebook group
  • Test out a smartphone app (many have free trials available)
  • Use a device to track your steps, sleeping habits, and heart rate

 

Tapping into digital trends like the ones above is becoming increasingly commonplace amongst the older generation. What do you think about the way technology is shaping healthcare and wellness?

 

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