Technology and computers have changed every aspect of the world.
Even something as simple as taking your temperature is digitalized these days. Analog clocks are limited to wristwatches and clock towers on heritage listed buildings. Aged care is an area not generally associated with technological advances, and yet there are a number of technologies which have benefitted the aged care landscape in various ways.
Home Is Where the Heart Is
People’s homes are an extension of themselves, full of memories, love, and a place of comfort. Yet as people get older, sometimes the practicality of living at home and managing all the chores and work associated with that, can become too much. Everyone needs to increase levels of assistance and care as they grow older.
Community care services offer the assistance needed to help people continue to live at home and also providing invaluable care and company. From helping with household work to buying groceries and cooking, there is always something to be done. Carers do their best to find ways to engage with people on a meaningful, individual level, from organizing outings to instructing on the use of new technologies.
The benefits of some of these technologies is priceless, from stronger connections to family units to increased brain activity, enabling the elderly to embrace these technologies, rather than be fearful or dismissive of them can open up a whole new world.
Computers, Tablets, and Social Media
The use of social media and communication tools has greatly benefitted the elderly in aged care facilities. Many grandparents are becoming very efficient in the use of Facebook and especially Skype as convenient ways of engaging with family and friends on a regular, even daily basis. The increased contact made available through the use of these technologies means that people are able to communicate with their children and grandchildren in a convenient, comfortable way and with increased frequency.
Setting up an email account is a great start to opening up this world of technological communications. Younger generations are much more likely to regularly check and respond to emails than letters, cards and other modes of communication. With the effects of globalization and the Australian tendency to travel and live overseas, it means that family and friends are never all that far away. With the click of a button and the swipe of a finger on an easy to use and carry tablet device, people in aged care facilities are able to stay connected and feel closer to loved ones.
The banking landscape has changed over the past few decades, with the need to visit branches becoming less and less necessary. Community care workers are, of course, able to assist with transport and help with bank visits, however, they are also able to help instruct people on the use of home internet banking.
Paying bills, transferring money, and a large percentage of your banking needs are available online or with the use of an app on your phone or tablet. This enables people to manage and take care of their banking needs whenever they like, in the comfort of their own home without the need to travel to a branch and wait in long queues (which are only getting longer).
The use of computer apps has greatly affected the aged care landscape.
Generally speaking, they are easy and convenient to use and open up so many options banking needs, to the use of Skype as well as memory games, calendar reminders and even language learning apps, which can give people a new sense of direction and accomplishment and are easy and fun to use.
People who have always wanted to learn a second language (or third, or fourth) are able to with increased ease in the comfort of their own rooms. The sense of accomplishing such a feat late in life can also give a tremendous boost to the overall sense of well-being.
And what does the future hold?
Researchers are looking into ways robotics could be used in elderly care. Automated nursing staff and robotic companions could be the future aged care workers. Whether or not they would be accepted is another question. Perhaps those people who grew up watching The Jetsons wouldn’t be so adverse to the idea of a robotic nurse, but I’m sure there would be a number of short circuits on both sides.