Many people develop mobility issues as they get older. This can make it harder to lead an independent life – something as simple as going to the shop or meeting friends could become a struggle to do without assistance. Having to rely on others can be a big loss of freedom and can lead to many people feeling trapped and depressed. Fortunately, some of these issues can be solved by adopting modern technology.
If your parents are getting older and starting to encounter mobility problems, it could be worth introducing them to some of the gadgets and digital options that are out there. These technologies could allow your elder loved ones to maintain some independence even if they have developed a disability. Below are a few different ways in which you can help aging parents to stay independent using technology.
Going to a physical bank to cash a cheque, check one’s balance or transfer money can be an inconvenience for many of us. With mobility issues, it could be even more of an inconvenience.
Online banking is a way of doing all of this from home. If your parents don’t already use online banking, consider helping them to make the shift. This could include showing how to do it from their PC or using an app. Most banks are now pushing customers to do more online, so switching to online banking could be necessary.
Driving or walking to the grocery store could be a struggle for your parents if they have mobility issues. Instead of having to shop for groceries for your parents, consider teaching them how to do online shopping. If they’re already computer savvy they may be able to work this out themselves, but if your parents aren’t good with computers you may want to offer some help.
This could make them feel much more in control of their shopping. Many big chains and even some independent stores are now starting to open online stores (the pandemic has definitely helped encourage more stores to develop an online presence).
Smart technology allows people to control various items and aspects of their home remotely from their phone or tablet. This could include the TV, heating, lighting and even locks on doors. For someone with mobility issues, this technology could come in handy, preventing them from having to walk across the room to adjust the thermostat or turn on the lights.
Introducing smart technology into a home can be expensive, but may be covered by grants in certain cases where someone is disabled. To use this technology, your parent will need to have a smartphone or tablet and will need to know how to use the necessary apps – you may have to help when setting this up if they’re not digitally savvy.
Video calls are no substitute for face-to-face interaction, but they’re the next best thing. Aging parents may get more out of a video call than a phone call – especially if they’re also starting to encounter hearing loss.
Consider showing your parents how to use video call technology if they haven’t already used it (it’s likely you may have already had a few video calls throughout the pandemic. If not, it’s worth giving it a go now).
Social media is a great way to keep contact with friends and family. There’s also so much more that you can do through social media from following niche community groups to buying/selling items locally.
If your parents don’t already use social media, consider whether you can persuade them to sign up. Even if they use it rarely, a Facebook account could still be useful for reaching out to friends and family whose number they may not have.
Many of the technologies already mentioned can be great for empowering aging parents to do things from home. But what if your parent doesn’t want to spend all day trapped indoors? A mobility scooter could enable them to go shopping in a store more freely or simply go to the park
Some people can be stubborn about buying a mobility scooter and would rather get around slowly with a stick. However, if they’ve started to have falls more regularly, you may want to push for them to get a scooter – not just for the sake of their mobility but for their safety.