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How Seniors Can Use Technology to Stay Connected During Social Distancing

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, “social distancing” has become an all-too-familiar term in our vocabulary. Although designed to protect our more vulnerable older Americans from contracting the virus, social distancing can also cause loneliness and isolation in seniors. These issues can be highly challenging for our senior population even in the best of times.

Says Crystal Yost, PCHA, PCH, Administrator at Impressions Memory Care at Bryn Mawr, located in Bryn Mawr, PA, “Being alone for extended periods can be especially harmful to seniors. Health experts say loneliness can lead to depression and other health problems in seniors, which can place them at even greater risk for the coronavirus.”

“However, the good news is that there are various technologies available today that can help seniors to stay connected with loved ones while we have to stay apart.” 

 

Ways Technology Can Help Seniors Stay Connected

According to technology experts, seniors can use various tech apps to help them stay connected, combat loneliness and remain healthy while ensuring that their basic needs are met. Specifically, they say that seniors can utilize today’s communications technologies for:

  • Staying in touch with family and friends – Seniors can use communications technologies such as FaceTime on their iPhones, Skype, Zoom and Google Hangouts to stay connected to their loved ones and friends while staying safely at home. Bill Walsh, Vice President of Integrated Communications at AARP, says that these technologies have the added benefit of enabling loved ones to see as well as hear each other.

 

Connecting frequently via these tech methods can also help seniors to combat their fears and anxiety during this crisis.

 

NOTE: In lieu of visits, Impressions Memory Care at Bryn Mawr suggests using the above means of communication during the pandemic to safeguard our residents and the staff who care for them.

 

  • Shopping for food, medications and supplies – During the pandemic, seniors can shop for essential items such as groceries and medications without having to step outside their door, or into a grocery store or pharmacy. In light of the need for social distancing, there are now many food-delivery services and mail-order pharmacies that seniors can contact – either online or by phone – that will deliver goods directly to their door. Restaurant delivery websites are another excellent option for seniors who don’t want to cook.

 

  • Staying healthy – Seniors can also be supported with technology to help them stay safe and healthy while social distancing in their homes. For example, medical alert systems can be very useful for seniors with underlying health conditions who are at greater risk of falling ill with the virus. Other tech apps, such as Medisafe, can remind seniors when to take their medications and when to refill their prescriptions.

 

Additionally, telemedicine services use technology to enable seniors to consult with their physicians without leaving home. Medicare recently expanded its telemedicine coverage so that seniors can use tech apps like FaceTime, Skype and Zoom to interact with doctors remotely.

 

Recently, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services administrator Seema Verma urged tech-savvy Americans to help older loved ones use the technology needed to take advantage of the telemedicine program if they are unable to do it for themselves.

 

 

  • Staying active – Along with good nutrition and sufficient sleep, staying fit is also important for older Americans’ health. For seniors who want to remain active while staying indoors, there are many age-appropriate exercise videos on YouTube that they can watch and work out with. Also, the National Institute on Aging website provides this recommended 15-minute, at-home workout video.

 

When All Else Fails, There’s Always “Vintage Tech”

Crystal adds, “If the senior in your life is unable or unwilling to use today’s technology to stay connected during social distancing, all is not lost. If you’re not able to provide them with tech assistance, your older loved one can always use their good old low-tech telephone to call grocery stores, pharmacies and restaurants for needed items.”

“And during this period of self-isolation and social distancing, it is important for families to connect with seniors frequently. Check on their health and mood, try to quell their fears and reassure them that you are there for them – even if you can’t be there physically. And remember, just hearing the voice of a grandchild can often brighten their day in ways we can’t measure.”

We encourage you to contact us with any questions you have on dementia care or to schedule a virtual tour. Also, we invite you to read our timely blog articles on current caregiver and dementia care topics posted on our website.

 

We Would Love to Hear from You!

If you have comments or questions about our blog, “How Seniors Can Use Technology to Stay Connected During Social Distancing,” we’d love to hear from you. We also encourage you to share any of your caregiving experiences in our comments section.

 

Engaging Days. Meaningful Moments.

Loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease or other memory impairments require specialized care and support. They also deserve a lifestyle rich in dignity and fulfillment Impressions Memory Care at Bryn Mawr provides residents with Engaging Days and Meaningful Moments that emphasize individual abilities, encourage socialization and promote the highest level of independence possible. We offer a complete continuum of leading-edge programs, services and amenities that address the total physical, emotional and social needs of residents in a caring setting that offers individual suites with large private baths and the comfort of home. Our memory care community touches hearts and changes lives.

 

Helping Families Be “Family” Again.

Memory loss caused by Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or another form of memory impairment doesn’t only affect the person who has it – it affects the entire family.

If you have a loved one with early- to mid-stage memory loss, you know how challenging it can be to provide the care that’s needed while trying to maintain balance in your life. As care needs increase, you may not be able to meet them physically or emotionally. It’s often difficult to be available to care for your loved one’s health and well-being around the clock.

If and when the time comes to seek additional help, place your trust in Impressions Memory Care at Bryn Mawr. We lift the stresses and worries of being a caregiver from your shoulders, enabling you and your family to enjoy time with your loved one again. 

For more information, please call Crystal at 484.380.5403 or contact us online. 

Disclaimer: The articles and tip sheets on this website are offered by Impressions Memory Care at Bryn Mawr and Main Line Senior Care Alliance for general informational and educational purposes and do not constitute legal or medical advice. For legal or medical advice, please contact your attorney or physician.