The 5 Best Gifts for Older Adults
That senior in your life can sometimes be difficult to shop for, especially when a birthday or other special occasion is around the corner.
What do you get the senior who has it all? Or if they don’t necessarily have it all, what can you get them that you can feel assured they’ll love?
Today’s seniors are much more keyed into technology and consumer devices than many of us might give them credit for. And, there’s a lot of value that can be realized by giving a gift that is not only easy to use, but also provides some kind of enhancement to quality of life.
The following five gifts represent just a sample of some of the best gifts for seniors. Read on and see why!
Gift #1: A Shiatsu-Style Neck Massager
Ahh...to come home and relax with a nice massage. Wouldn’t it be great if that could happen every day, without having to pay for a masseuse? Now it can, with a handy, portable massager pillow that seniors will love.
This electronic pillow uses specially designed massage knobs located just below the surface of the pillow to gently knead and massage those sore neck muscles. It’s small enough to be taken virtually anywhere, and it conveniently plugs into any 120V outlet for easy operation.
The easy-to-locate on/off button is a cinch to operate, and the exterior fabric is composed of durable materials that should last for years.
Gift #2: A Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock
Gone are the days of having to wake up to the abrasive, jarring “ANG ANG ANG” sound of a traditional alarm clock. This wake-up light alarm clock from Phillips has been clinically proven to improve sleep, energy, and well-being, and it accomplishes this by slowly increasing the brightness of the light it shines at a set time of the day.
So, instead of being jilted out of bed with a loud racket, seniors can be gracefully lifted from their sleep with a gentle, natural glow.
This light-up alarm clock includes a snooze feature and 10 different brightness settings that can be adjusted for just the right amount of light.
Gift #3: A Voice Recognition Memo Machine
If there’s one thing seniors love, it’s something that makes home life easier. This product fits the bill, as it allows the user to create shopping lists and other memos using just their voice!
Just push the ‘record’ button, say the items that are needed from the grocery store, and the voice recognition memo machine prints out a handy list. There’s even a kitchen timer built into it, and up to two lists can be saved at any given time.
This gift is especially helpful for seniors who struggle with memory or cognitive issues, and the printed-out grocery list can easily be tucked into a purse or pocket before heading out to go to the store.
Gift #4: A Digital Photo Frame
The only thing better than wonderful pictures of friends and family is a single photo frame that can show them all in one place!
This digital photo frame isn’t like the rest, however. It features a built-in speaker, alarm function, and even storage capacity large enough to display thousands of high-resolution images! Add to this the fact that this digital photo frame automatically turns itself off when no motion is detected, and you’ve got a top contender for the best gift for the senior in your life.
The best part about getting your senior a digital photo frame is that they’ll think of you every time they look at it.
Gift #5: A Smart Thermostat
The Nest wifi-enabled smart thermostat is the single most useful device for those who want to be able to adjust their indoor temperature from the comfort of their smartphone. This amazing little device connects to in-home wifi so the user can easily access temperature controls using the Nest app on their phone.
Powered by Google, the entire system can be set up and running in minutes. With energy saving features like automatic heat and A/C operation, the Nest Smart Thermostat is both easy to use and a great money saver.
With a little creativity and some “smart” thinking, you can get a great gift for whichever senior has a celebratory event coming up. Whether it be Christmas, a birthday, or something else entirely, choosing one of the gifts on this list is a sure way to surprise and impress. Happy gift giving from your friends at Aging Resources of Douglas County!
The internet. Ipads. Flat-screen televisions. Electric vehicles.
Technology has improved so much that everywhere we look, there are signs that the world is a very, very different place than it was just 30 or 40 years ago. Advancements in the treatment of chronic illnesses have also made it so that life can be lived longer, and it also means that people can have more of the meaningful, fulfilling experiences they desire to have as they get older.
It’s clear that technology for aging populations will continue to be a part of all of our lives. We’re seeing it already with companies like Uber and Lyft using their ridesharing platforms to provide seniors with easier, more accessible transportation.
And, companies like Samsung and Google have released smartphones with large, easy-to-read screens seniors love. These devices are helping aging people stay connected with their loved ones, keeping their social lives vibrant and their involvement with family consistent and reliable.
But, did you know that there are even more ways that modern technology is empowering the aging population? Below are three amazing examples of how the ‘smart’ products of today are helping to make seniors’ lives better in many ways.
#1: Discrete, Real-Time Monitoring
What if a single system could monitor the activity of a retirement home resident, down to their location, the amount of time that has passed since their last trip to the bathroom, and many other metrics? Thanks to the Elsi Smart Floor, all of this is possible.
It works like this: a network of pressure-sensitive floor tiles are installed into the living area of the senior. These floor tiles sense the activity of the senior, and if there is ever a fall, the abrupt change in pressure on the floor tiles signals an alarm. This alarm can be sent directly to the medical staff on-hand so that prompt medical aid can be delivered quickly if needed.
Smart Floors are often integrated with other technologies to provide caregivers with a much clearer picture of exactly where their patients are and how they’re doing.
Even though these smart floors are mostly installed into places like hospices and retirement homes, they are available for individual residences.
#2: Smart Locks
One of the most common frustrations for many seniors is remembering where they put their keys. And, for those with arthritis or other inflammatory diseases, actually operating a deadbolt or other door lock can be a trying process. That’s why smart locks are becoming so popular for seniors.
These modern feats of engineering work just like traditional door locks, but they use a Bluetooth connection to a smartphone in order to operate. So, instead of needing a physical key to open a door, a tap on a phone screen is all that is required to lock or unlock any door.
Igloo Home, one of the up-and-coming manufacturers of smart locks, is poised to be a go-to resource for seniors as they explore the idea of nixing their keys and using their smartphones as a way to get in and out of their homes, instead.
#3: Voice Activation and Artificial Intelligence
Have you heard someone use the phrase “Hey, Siri”, recently? If so, you already know the basics of how voice activation and artificial intelligence work.
Voice-activated computers aren’t necessarily new. The earliest example of voice recognition technology dates back to at least the 1950’s. But, today, using your voice to control your environment is becoming more and more plausible for seniors in specific.
Why? Well, anything that reduces the amount of physical activity required to get something done is going to benefit the life of someone living in a retirement home or in hospice. So, if the temperature of a room could be changed by simply saying, “Turn on the heat”, instead of requiring a trip to the thermostat to make an adjustment, the benefit is huge for the senior.
Voice recognition and artificial intelligence can also be used to operate household appliances and even to order groceries when supplies are low.
When you add up the many benefits that are afforded to seniors by the above-listed technologies, the future looks pretty good! As we all age, it will be interesting to see what other technological developments will make our lives easier.
Although technological advancements will continue to help the aging population, we believe there is no substitute for an actual human helping hand. Our volunteer programs help connect seniors with the assistance they need.
What technologies would you like to see come to fruition? Comment and let us know!
The Future of Longer Living
It’s probably not surprising to hear that, on average, humans are living longer now than they ever have throughout recorded history. This continuing trend of increased life expectancy has been a part of modern life for at least the past 75 years, which leads many to ask the question, “What does the future of longer living look like?
In this week’s blog post, Aging Resources of Douglas County is offering up some things to consider when thinking about life expectancy in the future. While no one has a crystal ball they can use to see into the future, there are some exciting technological developments that very well may contribute to an ever-increasing human life expectancy.
Survival vs. Living Healthier
Before we dive into what science is doing today to help us live longer tomorrow, let’s look at the many reasons why we’re doing so well as it is.
If we look back to where humanity was just 200 years ago, we find a very different picture of human mortality rates compared to where we are today. For example, if you were five years old in 1841, you were only expected to live to be about 55 years old. Why?
The most explanatory answers are vaccination, improved civil hygiene, and more ready access to medicine and medical services.
Vaccination can be said to be the single most important reason why diseases like measles, Rubella, and polio haven’t been killing millions of young children every year for the past hundred or so years. Because vaccinations actually prevent the onset of devastating illnesses, young children stand a much higher chance of achieving their longest life expectancy.
Remember that lifespan and life expectancy are two totally different data points. When children get vaccinated, their lifespan averages only increase when they continue to live longer lives. Life expectancy, however, for all of them improves immediately upon vaccination.
We take for granted things like running water, industrial air filters, and antiseptic cleaners like Purell. They’re all around us, and they’re just part of our everyday lives. 200 years ago, however, this was not the case. The proliferation of disease-causing germs significantly contributed to the spread of fatal illnesses, especially in areas of dense human population.
Today, because we understand so much about Germ Theory, we’re able to avoid an early end to our lives at the hands of devastating infections and viruses.
Access to Medicine
Our infrastructure dedicated to rapidly responding to medical emergencies has meant that those who need critical medical attention can actually get it. Especially in the United States, most people know that if something happens that seriously harms or disables them, they can call an ambulance using 911, and within a few minutes, a medical team will arrive to assist them.
What’s more, the tools, techniques, medicines, and healing modalities have improved across the board, resulting in better diagnoses for whatever ailments humans present at the emergency room.
What Does the Future Hold for Aging?
For all of us, there is a genetically encoded length of our lives. The ways that our bodies break down over time are most would agree, unavoidable if given enough time. Things like cancer and heart disease will, at least for the foreseeable future, continue to cause ‘natural’ deaths for human beings based on their nature and what we know about how these diseases manifest.
With as many impressive technologies that exist today—things like the internet, Maglev trains, and Artificial Intelligence—one might think that science has a lot in store for us in the aging department. So, are scientists ready to start giving us super pills that make us live to 500 years old? Not quite.
Instead, what modern scientists and healthcare professionals are suggesting for a longer life is a lot of what we’ve already been hearing for the past 50 or so years. As it turns out, these three categories continue to be most important when determining how long we’ll live:
So, it’s best not to hold out for some marvel of medicine that is going to make us live forever. Instead, you have a better shot at living longer by saying no to the pizza, taking walks regularly, and watching your weight.
Although these lifestyle choices can add years to your life, there will eventually come a time where you'll need the assistance of others. When that time comes, contact Aging Resources of Douglas County to help get you started.
Blogs are written by ARDC staff members