In the last few months, you may have come across at least a few touching videos that capture the happiness and excitement of older Canadians adapting to new technology. Delighted grandpas grinning ear-to-ear as they connect with loved ones across the world on a Zoom call, or charming nanas trying to have a full-fledged conversation with virtual assistants, such as Siri or Alexa. Amid the grim realities of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is remarkable to see how these Canadians are embracing technology for a variety of routine activities. Paying bills, ordering food or groceries, socializing through video conferencing platforms, and exploring telehealth services; elderly Canadians are experiencing value, comfort, and safety in numerous virtual activities.
New and innovative technology for older adults
Older people and technology often did not quite fit together in the pre-COVID-19 era. However, the present situation has created a compelling case for several technology driven conveniences. Recent surveys indicate that older age groups are making deep inroads into the digital world. For example:
- Certain banks saw a 250% increase among these Canadians signing up for their digital banking services.
- In the 45 and above age group, almost 53% of Canadians used some form of virtual health services and 91% said they were satisfied with the experience.
- Retirement housing and long-term care centres across the country accelerated their technology adoption plans. This is not just in the context of electronic health care records or virtual care rounds, but also for various recreational, social and educational activities that they now conduct virtually for the residents.
In the current coronavirus crisis, new and innovative technology has essentially transformed the lifestyles of older adults in Canada. Have you explored some of these modern conveniences yet? Read on to know more about assistive devices and gadgets that are ideal for older Canadians to live independently, stay healthy, and remain socially connected during the pandemic and beyond.
Benefits of embracing technology in the COVID-19 era
It has been proven that coronavirus affects the elderly population most severely. As an older adult who falls in the “high-risk for severe illness” category of COVID-19, it is imperative for you to physically distance and isolate yourself to remain safe and healthy. However, the lack of in-person interactions, restrictions on travel and movements, financial or health concerns, and other anxieties related to the present uncertainties can impact your emotional or physical wellbeing. This is where embracing technology comes in handy:
- Remain socially connected: The COVID-19 pandemic may have restricted your physical movements, but it need not dampen your social spirit. From social media platforms to video conferencing tools, embracing technology can help you remain connected with your loved ones from across the world at the click of a button. Plan virtual meetups, celebrate special occasions, or simply share screens while cooking, eating meals, or doing other chores.
- Maintain good health: Advancement in assistive technology for the elderly has made it possible to manage your health more efficiently. It also allows family members or caregivers to monitor your wellbeing remotely. From fall detection and location tracking, to health parameters or medicine management, smart gadgets promise a healthy and independent lifestyle.
- Stay physically active: There is no dearth of technology-driven assistive devices or gadgets for Canadians to stay active physically. Smart wearables can nudge you to move every few hours and report a number of parameters related to your hourly, daily, weekly or monthly activities. Mobile apps based workout programs can offer guided plans for your preferred form of exercises.
- Improve mental acuity: Keeping your brain sharp and improving your cognitive skills can help you persevere through this difficult time with high spirits and good health. For this purpose, you can count on various mobile app-based puzzles or games that challenge your memory, multi-tasking skills, numerical abilities and more.
- Reduce clutter, organize better: Whether you are planning your retirement, paying your bills, or filing financial or medical records, technology-led tools and online platforms can help you manage your records in a clean and efficient manner.
Must-have assistive devices for elderly Canadians
There are a variety of assistive devices that enhance mobility, speech, hearing, vision, memory, safety and quality of life. Based on your actual needs and health conditions, your healthcare providers may recommend specific life-enriching products that improve personal freedom and prolong independent living during your golden years.
Here is a list of some of the best technology for Canadians at any age, but especially those 55+.
- Smart wearables for fitness: Smart watches are excellent devices for keeping tabs on your daily activities and giving yourself that extra push to maintain an active lifestyle. From step counts, calories and distance covered, to heart rate, sleep patterns, and water intake, these wearable devices offer a host of functionalities while also serving as an attractive accessory. Lesser known brands are available for as little as $50, but expect to pay between $200 to $600 for brands, such as Apple, Samsung, Fitbit or Garmin.
- Medical alert devices: Lightweight compact devices that can clip on to your bag or collar, or fit in your pocket, medical alert devices ensure your health and safety without compromising on your independence. They usually feature a one-touch urgent response button that can alert your family, healthcare provider or caregiver when you need medical attention. They also offer a fall-detection feature which self-activates, without pressing the button. Products, such as Smartgo911, Help Dialer, or SMPL Motion Alert kit come in many variants, with prices ranging from $70 to $275. Purchase them on Amazon.ca or at shops, such as Walmart, Best Buy, or Shoppers Drug Mart.
- Recordable alarm clocks: The Reminder Rosie talking alarm clock is a unique, voice-controlled device for those struggling with memory loss or dementia. It is free from any fussy buttons or complicated programming. Instead, you can personalize the device in the voice of a loved one and get timely reminders for specific appointments or daily chores.
- Digital/ voice assistants: These cool, compact devices offer a voice-assisted feature that can control your phone, television, music system, lighting, air conditioning and other equipment connected to the home Wi-Fi. You can ask the voice assistant just about anything under the sun, and a friendly voice will offer an intelligent response. Check weather forecasts, do price comparisons, learn the history of a music album, listen to an entertaining joke and do a variety of other activities with the help of a digital assistant. Both Amazon’s Echo Dot range and Google’s Google Home range cost between $40 and $120. Order these devices directly from their respective brand websites, or through Best Buy, Walmart, Staples or many other local stores.
- Sound amplifiers: Devices, such TV Ears or Bonein are worn like a wireless headset for improved dialogue clarity, while keeping the volume low for the others in the room. Enjoy your favourite TV shows with amplified sound, without disturbing the rest of your family. Priced around $120 on Amazon.ca
- Assistive seating devices: These are portable lifting seats that you can use on most sofas or armchairs for standing aids or uplift assistance. If you are struggling with joint pain or arthritis, this amazing device can greatly improve your independence, safety, and comfort. Find a range of brands on Amazon.ca or here, starting from $160.
- Companion pets: When caring for a real pet may not always be possible, you can add fun, joy and companionship with the help of lifelike robotic pets from companies, such as Joy for All. Choose from a range of cats, pups or kittens with built-in sensors that respond to touch and motion, and recreate delightful moments of a real pet. Prices on Amazon.ca range from $125 to $185.
- Digital pill dispenser: Electronic medication organizers are a great way to ensure that you never miss a dose or take the wrong pill. Most digital pill dispensers feature audible and visual alerts, multiple programmable templates, and safety latches to prevent accidental spillage. Find a wide variety of options on Amazon.ca. Purchase the most basic version for as little as $15, or pay around $100 to $125 for advanced, feature-rich variants.
- Bluetooth Trackers: Avoid losing everyday items, such as your wallet, keys, remotes or other easily misplaced household items. Simply attach a Bluetooth enabled sticker-sized tracker to the relevant item and find your items using the related phone based app. Tile Sticker offers a 2-pack for $50 and 4-pack for around $60.
- Smart tablets: Tablets designed specifically for older Canadians are one of the smartest, simplest and safest ways to connect with your loved ones. While Grandpad will be available in Canada in the coming months, Claris Companion ships from the US for approximately $400 plus a subscription plan related monthly fee. Featuring built-in wireless data, these tablets allow you to play games, listen to music, video chat with your family and friends, and even upload photos to your private family network. Communicate and stay connected even if you are not tech-savvy.
Use the CHIP Reverse Mortgage® to support your retirement needs and finances
Embracing technology is a smart choice but may not always be a cheap one. While the cost of certain assistive devices for older Canadians may be covered by the provincial healthcare plans, lifestyle-focused devices may not qualify under these lists. Why not add convenience and comfort to your golden years with the help of the CHIP Reverse Mortgage from HomeEquity Bank. Invest in the best assistive technology for Canadians 55+, or use the tax-free cash for a host of other purposes that help you lead a worry-free and fulfilling retirement in Canada.
As a Canadian homeowner, you can cash in on up to 55% of your home’s value (accessed in one lump sum or in deposits over time), while retaining full ownership of the home. There are no monthly mortgage payments as the loan becomes payable only when you decide to move or sell. CHIP does not impact your eligibility for Old Age Security (OAS), Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), or income from Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSPs). Essentially, CHIP allows you to spend your money your way and live your golden years on your terms.
Think about embracing technology during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic and use the CHIP Reverse Mortgage to keep up with the cost of smart, assistive devices. Call 1-866-758-2447 to learn more or find out how much money you can access through our reverse mortgage calculator.