In this challenging year of drive-by birthday celebrations, live-streamed wedding ceremonies and socially distanced backyard dinners, it’s no wonder that families are still dreaming up creative ways to help senior relatives stay connected.
Pew research shows that up to 70% of seniors may already be using the internet. While many may need assistance in breaking through technological barriers, a world of new opportunities can be opened up for individuals otherwise isolated in their homes.
The e-book market saw a huge surge in popularity last summer when libraries across the country closed. Fortune magazine reported a boom during this pandemic, with e-book loans jumping 53%. Reading via touch-screen tablets or more affordable e-readers like Kindle® offer portable options. While books can be purchased for online reading, most individuals with a library card can borrow e-books for free. Another benefit for seniors: e-readers allow you to change text size and even spacing between lines, great for individuals with poor eyesight.
Facebook, Instagram and other social media can help seniors share in their family’s lives and feel a more immediate connection when it comes to special moments and events. It’s always a treat to see scores of friends and families wishing you happy birthday online. And photos and sentiments from important life events can be shared immediately, helping those isolated feel a part of the experience.
Shopping and Deliveries
From paper towels and milk to Szechuan chicken takeout, online ordering gets easier all the time. Payments can be made in advance with meals dropped off with the simple ring of a doorbell, meaning no person-to-person contact is needed. Services like Amazon Prime make ordering just about anything a simple click of a button, with goods arriving within days in many instances.
Entertainment and Education
While many of us weren’t familiar with the platform even last year, Zoom has been around for nearly a decade. Today, seniors can use Zoom and other video conferencing tools like Microsoft Chat and Cisco Webex for happy hours, classroom lessons, book club meetings and church services. These tools allow you to tour museums virtually, visit remote parts of the world from a couch, participate in a support group, learn a new language and speak to new and old friends. We’ve heard of Zoom cookie decorating events, bingo and trivia challenges, exercise classes, lunches, language courses, concerts and much more.
For someone with tech literacy, or a helper and a good internet connection, telehealth allows for one-on-one video chats with healthcare practitioners. Telemedicine has become an effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while allowing for needed healthcare. Additionally, wearable devices can track vital signs. Home monitoring kits allow data to be transmitted through Bluetooth technology. Heart health applications can track blood pressure, cholesterol, and more.
Help at Home
For most of us, the 2020 holidays are certainly looking a lot different than what we’re used to experiencing. Agencies like Reliance Home Health Care can help make holidays special
for families and their loved ones who might not be able to join the rest of the family this year. With our personalized approach we make sure your loved one gets the right help they need, when they need it. Our caregivers truly care about the individuals they help, not only providing needed services and assistance with daily activities but forming bonds that are so important especially at this time of the year.
The most important thing you can do for a senior loved one who is isolated is find a way to show you care. That’s the best holiday gift you can give.