Innovations in technology help improve our health and keep us connected to loved ones.
There is no doubt about it: Exciting technological advances in recent decades have greatly improved the quality of life for humans around the world. People are living longer, in greater numbers, partly due to innovations in health care, curing disease, and promoting health at all ages. It seems, though, just the last five years have brought a particularly dramatic evolution in technology that improves our health and lifestyles on many levels.
According to Taylor Moss, VP of Management Information Systems for Spectrum Retirement Communities, LLC these improvements are most notable in two important areas relevant to older adults: social connectivity and healthcare. Considering how technology benefits us as we age, Moss claims that new digital platforms support social interaction and engagement for all generations, especially for older adults who are cultivating intimacy-at-a-distance with family and friends. “[This technology] provides older adults with outlets for social engagement and connection with family, friends, and loved ones,” he says.
Healthcare is another area where technology has improved the quality of life for older adults, specifically in health monitoring. Better management and promotion of healthy lifestyles, new gadgets, and educational awareness can improve the overall quality of life for people by helping them stay fit as they age. Together, technology related to socialization and healthcare provides older adults with meaningful opportunities to remain engaged, stay connected, cultivate wellness, and feel a sense of purpose.
Tech Tools for Health
These technological advances in health and lifestyle are an integral part of life at Spectrum Retirement Communities. As Moss explains, “At every community there is a library with several common-use computers where residents can check their email, use the Internet, and print documents.” In newer and future-planned Spectrum communities, WiFi access is available for all residents.
Additionally, in an effort to help residents benefit from technology, Spectrum has introduced Linked Senior in several of the communities. Linked Senior is a web-based platform that offers dementia care and therapy through a variety of games and tools, as well as spiritual and social platforms. In addition to this type of provided technology, many residents use their own devices, ranging from iPods, iPads, and smartphones to computers and wearable devices such as Fitbits and the newly released Apple Watch.
Spectrum Retirement Communities implements technology in their communities based on the latest trends in the marketplace and also according to what residents want. “At Spectrum, we listen to our residents. We complete resident satisfaction surveys and ask what people want in all areas of living; and technology is part of that,” says Moss.
Technology will continue to change and is likely to have more rapid advances in the near future, particularly in the area of healthcare and healthcare delivery. Moss anticipates that wearable devices and “telehealth” are two areas that will expand quickly. At the corporate level, Spectrum Retirement Communities is factoring these potential changes into their long-range planning in an effort to remain competitive and offer their residents the best in healthcare, wellness, and senior living.
As Moss explains, “It is in many ways an exciting time; the future is uncertain but we can expect more technological advances that will improve our quality of life and support us well into old age.”
Technological advancements come with their own lexicon, often as hard to interpret as a foreign language.
Here are some quick translations:
FITBIT: The brand name most commonly associated with the new wearable health monitors, which measure everything from heart rate to steps taken each day.
THE CLOUD: The term used to describe online databases, or remote information storage.
TELEHEALTH: The use of telecommunication and electric devices to support long-distance healthcare.
FACETIME: The name of Apple’s mobile phone video application, allowing people to see each other while they speak on their cell phones. Yes, just like The Jetsons!
By Lydia Manning