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Do seniors need smartphones?

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It seems that the older generation loves to reminisce on the times when we didn’t have screens to stare at constantly. Smartphones can cause car accidents, people walk into streets, and people are consumed in their own little bubbles.

But technology can also be seen as a way to connect. Pew Research states that 82% of smartphone-owning seniors describe their phone as freeing. Only 64% of those ages 18-29 have the same sentiment. Even fewer elderly smartphone owners (18%) describe their phone as “a leash” compared to double (36%) of those under age 30.

Why is it that the elderly and young people view this technology so differently? Is it important for seniors to start using and embracing this technology even if it may seem overwhelming or difficult to use?

How do we use our smartphones?

This isn’t about necessarily “how to use a smartphone”, we want to discuss the role smartphones play in our lives. Pew Research Center found that younger adults use their phones for a wide range of purposed such as to relieve boredom and to avoid those around them. Older Americans mainly use their phones for basic features like calls, email, and texting.

The reason is likely that older Americans are less likely to be online. Also, only 27% of those ages 65 and older have a smartphone compared to 85% of 18-19 year olds.

Another reason seniors tend to use just the basic functions of their phones is due to medical conditions like poor eyesight or hearing that make it difficult to use other features. Pew also stated that many older Americans are skeptical of the benefits of having a smartphone.

But that doesn’t mean all seniors are Luddites. Their study showed that in 2014, half of seniors using the internet were on Facebook.

Why use a smartphone?

Yes, the smartphone has been to blame for young people not connecting with those around them, but the smartphone has many beneficial features that are not as news-worthy as a teen walking into the street while playing on their phone.

These beneficial features include:

  • Video calls
  • Camera
  • Access to real-time news (Twitter, news apps)
  • Mobile banking and payments
  • Maps and navigation (Google Maps)

 

What will get more seniors to use smartphones?

One answer is education.

Smartphones don’t come with user manuals, and even if they did it would still be overwhelming and confusing to use the device especially if it’s your first time.

Getting educators into nursing homes or senior centers, hosting community smartphone sessions at the library are great ways to show seniors the benefits of learning to use one.

Once they’re able to see that they can Skype their kids and relatives, and are able to figure out how to use it, they may want to jump on board.

But don’t pressure them. They’ve lived nearly their entire lives without one, and many will put their foot down about getting one. The next best solution is to get them a senior-friendly phone. There are some available with large buttons and screens that display big numbers for easier visibility.


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Top apps for seniors

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If you’re a tech-savvy senior, or maybe you want to get your loved one an iPad or smartphone to start using, you’ll want to download some of these helpful apps for seniors.

It really is true that there’s an app for everything. Upon beginning our search into iTunes and the Google Play Store (the main app centers for Apple and Android phones) we noticed apps for detecting falls, medicine, games, health, food, and more.

It’s not surprising that some enterprising app developers decided to hit upon the senior market.

Here are some of the best apps out there for seniors.

Pillboxie (iPad and iPhone)
This app will help you remember which medicine to take and when. It seems simple enough to use, and you won’t have to worry about whether or not you took something any longer. $1.99

EyeReader (iPhone)
This app turns your phone’s camera into a magnifying glass. Useful for when you’re at a restaurant our need to read some fine print. $1.99

Lumosity
Lumosity offers games to help enhance your memory and attention. Play some games and feel good doing it! Free

Flipboard
If you love reading and discovering new articles, you’ll get addicted to Flipboard. You can create different topics or follow certain publications so you’re always on top of the latest news. Free

Skype
Stay in touch with friends and family through video! You may need to make an account, but after that the app is simple enough to use. Free

Word with Friends
This is a fun game based on Scrabble that allows you to play against friends in real time. Free

Facebook
Keep up with your family and friends with the Facebook app. You will need to set up a profile if you don’t already have one. A family member will be able to help you.

Weather Channel App
Check the weather for the day and the week ahead so you always know what to wear before you head outside. It’s especially useful here in Florida so you know the likelihood it will rain, since it can rain at any moment. Free

Mint
This personal finance app helps you see all of your financial information at a glance. Keep track of where you’re spending the most money and how well your accounts are doing. Free

NPR
The NPR One app lets you stream and listen to all your favorite NPR shows. Free

Voice Reading
This Android app will read text to you from the internet, messages, and emails. Very helpful for when you can’t read the small font on the screen. Free

Looking to learn how to use an Android phone? Here is a video on the Samsung Galaxy series of phones to help beginners get familiar with certain features.


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Keeping an eye on elderly family members during hurricane season

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The Atlantic hurricane season started on June 1st and won’t finish until November 30. Already we’ve seen multiple hurricanes and tropical storms hit the eastern cost of the United States including Hurricane Alex (category 1), Tropical Storm Bonnie, Topical Storm Colin, and Hurricane Hermine (category 1).

As residents of Florida whether it’s all year or just part-time, we understand the risks of living here. Florida is one of the lowest-lying states! Just Like Family and many of our nurses and patients are located in Collier, Lee, and Charlotte Counties, with many people located just minutes from the Gulf of Mexico.

We see many retirees living here that don’t have a well-planned out strategy for what to do when the next storm hits. If you have a loved one in “Hurricane Alley” as many like to call this southeastern part of the US, be sure to write down some of these tips in order to help prepare them for any upcoming storms.

Supplies you need

The last thing you want to have to do is run out to Publix or Home Depot to pick up supplies right when a storm is announced. Everyone else in the town is doing the same and it is likely that popular items like bottled water, batteries, and ply wood could get sold out.

Stock up on these non-perishable items and have them on hand for emergencies.

These include items like:

  • Batteries
  • Radio
  • Flashlight
  • Bottled water (1 gallon per person per day)
  • First aid kit
  • Peanut butter & jelly
  • Canned food (ready to eat)
  • Energy bars, trail mix
  • Vitamins
  • Prescription drugs
  • Rain gear

The US Coast Guard has an in-depth list of items you can have on-hand in case of a storm.

Other ways to Prepare

Rather than worry about having to buy plywood and drill it onto the outside of your windows, invest in some storm shutters. These are especially helpful for the elderly as they are much easier to deploy when needed.

Have an emergency contact that lives nearby. If your loved one lives in Florida and you live in another state, you’ll want to have a contact you can trust that is willing to help your loved one during a storm. You’ll want to make sure that they have your phone number and all other contact information, and vice versa.

Create a plan in the case of a true emergency. If the time comes to evacuate, you will want to know exactly where they should be going. Do they need to go to a nearby shelter? Can someone pick them up and drive with them to a safe city outside of the path of the storm? These are all things you should discuss before the time comes. The last thing you need is to have to make last-minute decisions during an emergency.

Get your loved one a cell phone. If they don’t have one already, and prefer to use a landline, you should purchase a cheap elderly-friendly phone like the Jitterbug. They should have one just in case of anything.


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In-Home Care vs. Nursing Home: When do you need these services?

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The elder care industry is growing rapidly, especially as the Baby Boomer generation starts to get into their older years. With the care of older parents and relatives falling to young people and those in their middle ages, it can be tough to decide how best to care for them.

Some parents have been able to stock away money to provide for their own care. Others have beneficial care policies which may cover their elderly care needs. But it seems that the majority are relying on their relatives and children to provide care as they age.

The US has seen a surge in elderly care and memory care facilities. Memory care refers to helping those with dementia or Alzheimers who live within the facility.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, in 2012, there were 1.4 million people in nursing homes nationally.

If you’re considering all of your options in terms of the care of your aging relative or parent, you’re likely thinking about the pros and cons of nursing homes. We’re going to go over some of the benefits and disadvantages of utilizing one of these services.

When You Need A Nursing Home

Round the Clock Assistance
If your loved one is finding it hard to do basic tasks, and seems to constantly need some assistance, 24 hour help may be necessary. Nursing homes can aid with bathing, eating, dressing, administering medicine, and more.

Specialized Care
If your loved one suffers from a specialized disease such as dementia, Alzheimers or something else that needs extra care, then a nursing home may help in this case. Your loved on may need additional care to help with the symptoms and issues that occur with these diseases.

Socialization
Nursing homes involve your loved one living among those their age. A nursing home can allow for socialization, outings, and other events to keep them involved in their community.

When You Can Utilize Home Care

Round the Clock Assistance
That’s right! Many home care agencies (including Just Like Family) provide round the clock assistance to your loved one. Care provided by an agency is more specialized and tailored, and the nurse or caregiver will be focusing only on your loved one.

Relieving your Family
If you plan to take over the care for your loved one, you may need some assistance from time to time. Let’s say you plan a vacation or need to take a business trip. A home care agency can provide a caregiver to visit your loved one each day or stay with them 24/7. This allows you to continue with your life and know that your loved one is well taken care for.

House Keeping, Food Prep, Errands
If your loved one is under your care, but lives on their own, they may need some assistance with daily chores. Caregivers from home care agencies can help with housekeeping, food preparation, running errands, or taking your loved one to appointments.

If you’d like to hear about the benefits of in-home care for your loved one, give Just Like Family Home Care a call at 239.431.6661,