Smartwatches come in nearly every shape, size, and colour imaginable. They have different functions, from tracking your heart rate to answering phone calls and responding to text messages. Infinitely customisable, these devices are popular with everyone from athletes to business people looking for a way to keep their phone out of their hands during the workday. A smartwatch can be a valuable tool for many different age groups, from teenagers to the elderly and everyone in between. What are the benefits of smartwatches for seniors?
Event and Calendar Alerts
Whether you’re living a busy life or just need a little help remembering your next appointment, event and calendar alerts on your smartphone can be a valuable tool. Smartwatches make the process even simpler, especially those made by Samsung or Apple with their own mobile data lines. Put the date and time in your calendar, set your reminders, and stop worrying about forgetting.
This can be a helpful tool for anyone, regardless of age or ability. Older people may find these reminders especially helpful if they’re having trouble remembering regular tasks.
According to the NHS, around a third of adults over 65 fall every year. Sadly, falls among elderly people lead to more than 9,000 deaths annually in the UK. Severe injuries and a lack of assistance can both prove fatal. Many smartwatches come equipped with fall sensors that can detect if the wearer takes a sudden spill. The exact reaction depends on the make and model of the watch, but most can be programmed to alert friends and family, or emergency responders. Alternatively, many personal alarm providers offer Fall Detector devices which may prove more affordable.
Loneliness is a growing problem among older adults. This isolation can be dangerous, causing damage to both physical and mental health. Smartphones and watches have given us the tools to alleviate some of this disconnect. They keep us connected even when we can’t visit friends or family members. Smartwatches give us the ability to respond to messages and even take phone calls without having our phones in hand physically.
There are several phishing scams that target older adults, including many that are playing on our fears of the pandemic, and you may worry that these wearable devices might be an open door for scammers to target valuable seniors. While there are always new scams, smartwatches are a secure way to communicate with friends and family without worrying about these scammers too much.
GPS tracking in smartwatches is a helpful tool for athletes looking to learn how far or fast they’ve run. For older adults, especially those with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, the GPS tracking in these watches can be a valuable tool to ensure their safety. GPS trackers for dementia patients are not a new concept, but incorporating them into a smartwatch with other valuable features limits the number of devices needed to do the same job.
It’s easy to let your golden years just drift by, but research shows that older adults should try to stay active. Regular exercise, such as three 10-minute exercise sessions daily, has been shown to improve cognitive function and motor skills, lowering the risk of both dementia and falls. This is one thing that smartwatches were designed for in the first place. Competing with friends to see who can get the most steps in a day can be a fun way to stay active and engaged with your social circle.
Smartwatches may have started as a way to check messages without pulling your phone out, but they’ve evolved into so much more. Today, your smartwatch can track everything from how much sleep you’re getting to your heart rate and even your blood pressure and oxygen levels in some models. The newer versions of the Apple watch even act like a single-lead EEG. It’s no replacement for a trip to the doctor, but a smartwatch can help fill in some of the gaps when it comes to understanding your health.
A Garmin or Apple Watch might seem like it’s just a tool for athletes or busy millennials. However, there are plenty of applications for this technology beyond what you might see on the surface. We’re just starting to realize the benefits of smartwatches for elderly people and other at-risk groups, and the technology can only get better from here.
For more information about technology for older people, read our useful guide here.