Staying Healthy with the Help of Technology

Health & Wellness
Technology To Help Seniors Stay Healthy

Posted: April 30, 2021

Attitudes about aging are changing. Gone are the days when turning 65 or even 75 meant declining health and living a lonely, sedentary life. Today’s seniors are active adults looking for ways to contribute to society and live full, thriving lives. Seniors are engaging in their own health and wellness and are open to embracing technology that can help them stay healthy by promoting physical activity, sharpening cognition and maintaining social connections.

Promote Physical Activity with an App

Exercise and physical activity are vital components of healthy aging. According to the CDC, even a moderate amount of physical activity every day can reduce the risk of heart disease and developing high blood pressure, colon cancer and diabetes. Increasing stamina and muscle control can reduce the risk of falling and help you stay healthier longer.

Decreased strength and muscle loss are some of the leading causes of falls for seniors. At Cappella of Pueblo West our Movement 4 Life Program incorporates 4 major movements and increased regular activity to reduce the risk of falling for residents. Learn more about Movement 4 Life here and incorporate these exercises into your daily routine to increase balance, flexibility and strength.

Motivating yourself to exercise is a problem for all ages. When we are older, joint swelling, arthritis and pain can be discouraging and cause us to avoid activity. Doing what you can, even if only walking a few minutes a day, can make a difference. For those wishing to pump up their physical activity, there are a variety of free apps and websites with workout videos. Here are a few resources to consider:

  • The Johnson and Johnson 7 Minute Workout App shows you how to quickly work out at home or on the road and is available for IOS and Android mobile devices.
  • The Daily Yoga App includes thousands of workouts, including seated workouts (chair yoga) for beginners.
  • The MapMyRun and MapMyWalk apps track distance, elevation and speed while showing you popular routes in your area and letting you connect with friends. The popular Couch to 5K fitness app takes you step by step through a walking or running plan in a progression that suits your ability and fitness level.
  • The Hasfit Channel on YouTube offers 20-to-30-minute workouts for older adults including chair exercises for those with limited mobility. Search YouTube for any type of workout that interests you.

Wearable technology, like the Fitbit or Apple Watch not only makes it easy to track wellness, but some recent models can also monitor heart rates and send medical notifications in case of a heart attack. Medical alert systems can help older adults live independently for longer. Read a review of the top home medical alert options here. And for seniors with heart conditions, AliveCor KardiaMobile is a portable EKG device that can fit into your pocket.

Training the Brain, Digitally

Just as staying physically active can help promote physical activity, learning new things, like how to use technology, can stimulate the brain and sharpen cognition skills. Digital brain games allow older adults to engage independently or with others, helping to combat loneliness and the effects of isolation.

While there isn’t conclusive evidence that training the brain digitally can reduce age-related dementia symptoms, a study by Harvard Health does show how a multidimensional approach, like playing chess or checkers, bridge, or doing crossword puzzles in conjunction with playing online video games can build cognitive reserve. So when thinking about training the brain, it’s wise to consider both digital and analog resources. The AARP hosts a game page with a selection of digital brain games, crossword puzzles and card games.

Keeping residents engaged and stimulated mentally is part of the four facets of successful aging central to life enrichment at Cappella of Pueblo West. We understand that the mind is a muscle that benefits from regular exercise, just like our bodies. Read more about life enrichment at Cappella of Pueblo West here.

Maintaining Social Connections

Staying socially connected is as important to staying healthy as is staying physically active and mentally sharp. While in-person connection is the best, it is not always possible. Technologies that connect people with family and friends have become a critical resource during the COVID-19 pandemic. Social media options like Facebook and Instagram are tools to share thoughts, pictures and news, while email offers a quick way to send a letter. Video chat services like Skype and Facetime allow families and friends to see each other while talking. Marco Polo is a video-sharing service that many families use to send videos of grandchildren to grandparents, and grandparents can send videos in return of them reading books to their grandchild or singing songs.

Virtual reality, popular in the gaming industry, is being used to help people maintain social connections as well. Programs like Rendever and MyndVR offer a variety of virtual experiences that allow seniors who are socially isolated to connect with others and the outside world.

At Cappella of Pueblo West, we understand the strain of social isolation. Our assisted living staff is skilled at finding creative ways to keep residents socially engaged. We leverage technology to elevate and enhance our programs while also investing energy into nurturing deep personal relationships. Read more about how we’ve been helping older adults stay active and socialize safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Technology at Home

Technology is an important part of our lives and its influence is growing. Smart home devices, like Google Home and Amazon Echo allow users to set alarms and medication reminders, play music, control home lighting, shop and more. Video doorbells, smart thermostats and wireless sensor networks that monitor vital signs make living at home safer and can give you peace of mind. Robots are being developed to provide companionship, and it won’t be long before there are robots that act as caregivers and help older adults with the tasks of daily living.

While technology can improve our lives in many ways, home isn’t always the safest or best choice for many seniors. A senior living community can provide a place to live an active lifestyle, find purpose and maintain social connections. Assisted living communities, like Cappella Pueblo West provide life enrichment activities that meet the social, intellectual, inspirational and physical needs of residents. Residents can enjoy their day independently or in harmony with others, free from the cares of household maintenance.

Contact us to learn more about assisted living at Cappella of Pueblo West and read what residents have to say about our retirement community.

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