Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? When it comes to seniors and technology, this age old saying is being proven wrong! According to data from Pew Research, 67% of seniors use the internet, which is an incredible 55% increase from two decades ago. More and more seniors are embracing new technology as fun pastimes, especially while sheltering at home during the COVID-19 crisis.
Activities once reserved for younger generations, such as video gaming, are now catering products towards seniors. And streaming services are more accessible than ever. Read on if you’re looking for entertainment streaming services, an engaging activity for your older loved ones, or both!
How Technology Helps Seniors Stay Engaged
Although there is a stereotype that older generations aren't interested in technology, studies show that is not the case. Seniors are embracing technology to stay entertained and engaged as they realize that online and mobile technology, such as Facebook and Skype, keep them connected to loved ones and faraway friends. Gaming and streaming technologies are also fun alternatives to keeping your aged loved ones busy and entertained with a variety of activities.
With more streaming services than ever, seniors now have easy access to an assortment of entertainment, whether it be watching a classic film or their favorite cooking and painting shows. Gaming systems can also provide physical activities for seniors. Options such as Ring Fit Adventure simultaneously get seniors moving and on their feet while puzzles and problem solving games keep their minds active. Whatever their interests, there’s likely a game that will suit their taste.
Technology Brands with Products for Seniors
Although gaming tends to be associated with younger generations, more and more gaming brands are creating video games for senior citizens.
Interactive games that allow players to be physically engaged with the activities taking place on screen are popular favorites among seniors.
The Nintendo Switch is one of the most popular gaming platforms that goes out of its way to cater to seniors. Much like its early 2000s predecessor, the Nintendo Wii, the Switch has become a staple multigenerational activity in many households due to its easy interface and interactive games.
For example, Just Dance allows players to get on their feet and follow the moves of the costumed dancers on screen. It’s a fun way to dance to chart-topping hits (or groove to some timeless classics) and get some exercise at the same time! Other games are focused on staying fit and maintaining a healthy weight. Ring Fit Adventure, the Switch’s version of the popular Wii Fit, features aerobic activities and games which improve stamina and strength, while at the same time encouraging an active lifestyle. Seniors aged 65 years and older are encouraged to get at least 2.5 hours of moderate exercise every week, which translates to roughly 20 minutes per day. Active games like Ring Fit Adventure can provide help for seniors trying to stay active and receive their recommended amount of exercise daily.
If your loved one is looking to sharpen their mind, there are games for that too! Not all video games for senior citizens are geared towards exercise. Brain Training: Nintendo Switch features a wide range of intellectually stimulating activities, such as Sudoku, and mini-games which test the player’s ability in categories such as math and logic. Games can also be played in multiplayer mode, which allows your loved ones to compete against and interact with the rest of the family!
If you think your senior loved one may be interested in video games, look for activities that coincide with their interests. There are numerous games out there and a variety of genres and difficulty levels.
Streaming Services and What to Watch
There are a variety of streaming services available today that carry so much more than just movies. Television shows, comedic performances, and concert recordings provide endless hours of entertainment. And if your loved one is interested in learning something new, they can explore a wide variety of documentaries and educational programs as well.
The top streaming services right now all feature a variety of shows and movies at different prices:
One of the most popular streaming services on the market, Netflix caters to a variety of audiences and features a large collection of critically acclaimed original shows, movies, documentaries, and TV series. The service can be accessed through almost any internet-connected device, allowing seniors to watch from anywhere in their home or even when they’re on the go.
This streaming service from Youtube offers multiple channels your aging loved ones know and love from their cable service (such as AMC, USA, FX, and Turner Classic movies) as well as a variety of original content. It also allows them to record their favorite shows so they can watch them on their own time, making it a good option for viewers who want to replicate cable TV.
Hulu is another popular streaming service and can stream both classic movies and shows, as well as live TV. This is a good option if your viewer would like to watch live TV as well as stream shows and films.
Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video features the newest movies and shows for streaming, which are bought individually. For the latest in entertainment, check out this streaming service.
If your loved one is a Disney fan, they would appreciate Disney+. This streaming service features all of Disney’s films and TV shows, including hard-to-find classics from the 1950s and 1960s!
If your loved one is interested in a streaming service, work together to pick one that matches their interests and price needs. There are plenty more streaming options out on the market if your senior is looking for specific content. If price is an issue, there are a number of streaming services that offer free streaming, such as Kanopy, Crackle, and Vudu. These platforms are supported by ads, so viewers will have to put up with commercials, but they still offer a lot of quality content. Consumer Reports has compiled a comprehensive guide to free streaming services.
Other Technology Companies Catering to Seniors
Technology companies have recognized that seniors are an increasingly lucrative market and are developing new products that cater specifically to their needs. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) reported in a 2019 Tech Trends report that the demographic featuring senior Americans is projected to spend $84 billion on tech products by the end of the next decade.
Technology pertaining to health monitoring has been a popular feature, especially among seniors, and many tech companies are catering to their needs. Apple products, such as iPhones and the Apple Watch, include features for detecting health problems such as atrial fibrillation and include a pedometer so wearers can track how many steps they take in a day. Starting with Series 4, Apple Watches even incorporate a fall detection feature that senses when the wearer has fallen down and automatically gives them the option to call for assistance.
LiveFreely, a digital health company, recently created a software-based system for wearables to help detect falls in seniors and notify caregivers or 911 of an emergency. The software comes in the form of an app that can be downloaded on a senior’s smart watch and can be a great technology for seniors living alone since it can give caregivers peace of mind while their loved ones live independently.
These are just a few of the examples of technology that is being catered to the needs of seniors, whether for their entertainment or physical well-being. However, if you are looking for expert opinions on digital services that can help you monitor your aging loved one’s health or other caregiving advice, then reach out to one of Homethrive’s Care Guides. Care Guides are trained experts who help families determine what’s the best fit for your loved one’s needs. Reach out to Homethrive today!