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How Technology Improves the Life of Old Fogies

Now that I am on Medicare and always get the senior discount at the movies I thought it was time to reflect upon how technology has helped to improve the lives of those of us showing some gray. One of the most important demographics for Small Dog Electronics is our older customers. Where technology is second nature to the millennials it has a bit more wonder for those that were used to pencils, books and talking to their neighbors.

There are so many ways that technology and specifically Apple technology can enhance the life of seniors. I have written before about my experiences with hearing aids. Apple technology made it possible to have my hearing aids paired with my iPhone for control and streaming of phone calls and music. I always wanted to start a collection of ear trumpets but these high tech hearing aids have truly changed my life.

Apple has a strong commitment to accessibility and has built-in many useful features for making your computing experience on your Mac, iPhone or iPad easier. We have reviewed many of these accessibility features for sight, hearing, touch and interfacing with your device. Those all make it easier to access the technology but how does this access actually help make your life easier.

Staying in touch is one thing that most seniors want to do, whether it is by email, voice, social media or FaceTime. FaceTime has been a huge boon for seniors trying to stay in touch with their families. I remember going to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago in the 50s to be wowed by the AT&T picture phone which was going to be the future. Of course, that never happened but FaceTime did! It doesn’t matter where you are, you can easily FaceTime your family or friends or if they are not using Apple, try Skype which also will allow worldwide connections. It was so cool to be way over in China and be able to talk and see Grace back in Vermont.

Getting out to shop for anything can be a real production, especially if you have to travel some distance. I am a very firm supporter of shopping locally but the convenience of having my dog food delivered on a monthly basis for the pups sure beats lugging those bags to the car and into the house. Mail order pharmacies have made getting medicine a bit more easy – no more standing in line at the drug store (you just have to stand in line on the phone sometimes).

There is so much that technology can do to help manage your health. I have diabetes and my nurse practitioner is always on my case to measure my blood sugar. I have tried all kinds of devices and I have settled on the iHealth glucometer which interfaces via Bluetooth to my iPhone and can automatically send my readings to my health professional. But, this week also had news that for some time Apple has had a team working on a whole new concept for blood glucose monitoring that will eliminate the finger sticks that prevent many from bothering. It could open a whole new era for diabetes management.

I have a smart scale that helps me lose weight, Apple’s Health app can help monitor other medical issues, remind you of your medications, track nutrition and much more to allow seniors more control over their health and eliminate some trips to the clinic.

Video games are not just for the kids, playing games can improve cognition and mental agility. With thousands to choose from it is no longer just dealing solitaire from a worn deck of cards. Gaming involves some social interaction, too!

Wireless internet and home automation are two pieces of technology that can really help seniors. Whether it is employing sensor devices to call out for help when needed or simply being able to turn on the lights by asking Siri, wireless technology frees up seniors. Never forget to lock your door if you have a HomeKit compatible lock and it knows when you arrived home and unlocks the door for you, too!

Okay, it is not just that I am old but I have directionally challenged. It sort of runs in my family. Grace says I have to go someplace a dozen times before I remember the directions. That was true when I was 25, too and my daughter, Autumn seems to have inherited that. But technology to the rescue. I am so tuned in to GPS technology that I am literally never without it. My Apple watch taps me to remind me to go right or left and I have GPS on all my vehicles.

How do you use technology to make your life better? I am a gadget geek and of course, this is what I do for a living but I see older customers come into the store every day. I love asking them what they are using their Mac or iPad for and keeping in touch is on top of the list but everything from looking up recipes to managing their retirement portfolio comes up in those discussions. Technology grants the most precious gift – time!

A long time ago, in a galaxy far away, I reserved a bunch of domain names and aside from falserumors.com (which I REALLY want to launch), I reserved macseniors.com. Now that I have a 49-year old daughter (Happy Birthday, Zoey!) and an 18-year old granddaughter (Happy Birthday, Khadija!) maybe it is time to resurrect MacSeniors or SeniorMac.com.

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