Aging is something that happens to everyone. That said, it is not always kind, or easy to watch happen to someone you love. The process robs them of their former abilities. They go from athletic to knee replacements before you know it. At some point, getting up from a chair becomes the most athletic thing they do.
You watch them transition from goers to shut-ins. They go from being the life of the party to loners. They start spending more time with old friends like Andy Griffith than they do interacting with real people in the real world.
Their hearing starts to diminish. But they are the last to admit it. The print gets smaller. So they do less reading. And technology starts leaving them behind. They have no interest in the “snapbooks” and “face-chats” of the world. Their clock no longer flashes 12:00. But some blue-shirt sold them a cheap Android phone they can’t begin to understand.
This is what aging does. Fortunately, there is tech that can help and not just confound. There is tech in almost every price-range that can address almost every problem. Here is the tech you can recommend to your aging parents today:
For all too many people, getting older means more difficulty getting around, especially in the home. No one buys a multi-story home with the idea of getting older in mind. They are focused on all that space and that exquisite staircase. They think about how nice it will be around the holidays when it is all decorated and hung with lights and stockings.
What they never consider is what it will be like when it becomes a challenge to climb those stairs after the second hip replacement. That is where shaftless residential elevator options can save the day.
It is a lot less expensive than selling the family home for which they worked so hard to purchase and maintain. For homes that can not accommodate a residential elevator for whatever reason, there is always the stairlift that can be added to most stairs. The gift of greater mobility about the home is one of the greatest gifts of all.
One of the most meaningful gifts you can give to an aging parent is the gift of social interaction. Technology is healing social isolation for seniors. And social isolation can be just as big a killer as the lack of mobility. An iPad and a Facebook account could do almost as much good as a cabinet full of pharmaceuticals.
Reconnecting with old friends is a big deal. One of the hardest things about growing older is losing touch with old friends. Since it is harder to get out, keeping up online is the next best thing. Not only can communication continue, it is easier to share photos, videos, and other digital media that can make a person feel more connected
It is not just social connection. It is also connection with the broader community. It is local, national, and world news without the TV or newspaper subscriptions. A socially connected person tends to be happier and more fulfilled.
Right now, Audible is the biggest purveyor of audiobooks in the world. They are owned by Amazon, and therefore have one of the best and broadest distribution channels known to humankind. There is an excellent chance your aging parent already owns a device that can download and playback audiobooks
We all know that the print gets smaller as we get older. Listening as opposed to reading makes that problem go away. If you do not want to pay for an ongoing subscription, you can teach them how to purchase books from the Kindle or iBooks stores and enlarge the font for easier reading. You can even have their iDevices read the ebooks aloud with no additional software or expense.
Aging parents can benefit from tech whether it is for in-home mobility, staying connected, or making it easier to continue reading. This year, don’t just get them another sweater. Get them something that can actually improve their lives.