3 of the Hottest New Senior Tech Innovations

When we think of people using smart home products, we usually think of a hip twenty-something on their phone. However, senior tech — or silver tech — is one of the fastest-growing industries in the market. So, should you know about the hottest new industry?

This year at CES, many new exciting devices were released with the senior community in mind.

Designing Items with Caregivers in Mind

Starting off with a little help for caregivers, Procter & Gamble showed up with their new Gillette Treo. This is a razor designed for grooming of senior individuals by a caregiver. It features a tube filled with shaving cream which is easy to squeeze. This dispenses the shaving cream directly under the razor with one-handed ease.

Improving Hearing Aids

Since the rollback of hearing aid related laws in the U.S., a lot of change has been happening in the industry. A person no longer has to obtain approval from an audiologist to purchase hearing aids and that is expected to bring the price down significantly.

The Nuheara IQbusd2 Max earbuds, starting at a price of $400, allowed people at CES to successfully listen to conversations in two separate rooms at the same time. This is to meet the challenge of environments like restaurants that often cause trouble for the hearing impaired.

In the Home

Samsung has also started home innovations that can help seniors with the development of Ballie, a small ball-shaped robot designed to help around the house. The ball features built-in fall detection. Additionally, it will approach and ask if 911 is needed.

What This Means for Senior Tech

As we’ve been saying for a while now, the world is changing for seniors as the Boomers start retiring. This advent in tech is evidence that industries are innovating like never before to assist the aging demographic.

Wondering what your future has to offer in your golden years? Learn about aging on your terms with your FREE eBook, What are My Senior Living Options

Teaching Old Dogs Better Tricks: Seniors and Technology

It is a commonly accepted fact that seniors don’t understand technology. However, contrary to popular opinion, many seniors over the age of 50 have embraced their tablets and smartphones just as much as the younger generation. So why, then, does this untrue and –frankly– agist mentality about seniors and technology persist?

There are many reasons older adults are embracing technology at record rates. Recent studies show that seniors are adapting to the digital space more than ever before. About 70% of seniors are connected to the internet and use their phones, tablets, or laptops to access it.

That is why it is so important to put an end to this stigma as it reinforces negative stereotypes about seniors. So, here are the facts about seniors and technology:

Seniors Are More Likely to Be Dependent on Technology

As many Boomers enter their senior years, there is a demographic shift regarding how the senior community understands and uses digital devices. This is particularly true when it comes to care. The number of seniors needing some form of assistance far exceeds the number of caregivers in the job market. In fact, by 2050, the ratio of caregivers to seniors in need of assistance in the 80+ age group is expected to drop to as low as three to one. This number reveals a surplus of seniors that will need to manage another option for aging well without a care provider. Many seniors are turning to digital options to mitigate their needs. Now, seniors are adopting wearable devices, “smart” home amenities, and digital medication dispensers.

Seniors Like Technological Advances

Of the 70% of Americans over fifty who use the internet, many tend to view technology in a positive light. In fact, 58% of adults over 65 say technology has a positive impact on society. And of them, 10% profess to be online constantly. This is creating a push for software developers to consider the user characteristics of older adults to promote better user experiences during the design process. This may include larger text and buttons for poor eyesight associated with aging. Color vision also commonly declines with age and some seniors may have trouble distinguishing certain colors and need higher levels of contrast.

The Seniors of the Future

Interestingly, Boomers make up a huge part of the population. According to the Census Bureau by 2030, all baby boomers will be over the age of 65. That’s over 21% of America’s population. The fact is, the aging population is simply too large to ignore or disregard as many previous generations.

Similarly, seniors of today recognize the major benefits of technological advances in maintaining health and independence. This creates more opportunities for businesses to create better aging options in the midst of a growing caregiver crisis.

Want to improve your own technological skills? Try converting your photos to digital copies.

If you want helpful tips to keep you energized as you age, check out our FREE e-book Living and Aging the Way You Want. Inside you will find helpful bits of advice on living your best life. Download your PDF by clicking the icon below.

Twin Towers is a continuing care retirement community in Cincinnati, Ohio, offering patio homes, apartments, rehab services, and more. For more information, contact Twin Towers online or at 513-853-2000.

Redefining Life and the Impact of Technology

Through the eyes of the senior generation, it is easy to point out the “evils” of digital technology and the negative impact it is having on future generations. Everywhere the faces of children and young adults are lit up by screens and they seem to be detached from the rest of the world bustling around them. Talk to parents or teachers and they will talk about “distractions,” “sleep-deprivation,” and “gratification addiction.” Doubtless, the discourse around digital technology and the way it is shaping the future may be cause for genuine concern. But stepping back from children and young adults, how is technology changing the way we think of family, and does technology influence how we are able to connect in the new age? It begs the question; What is the impact of technology?

The Positive Impact of Technology 

Communication

As afraid as we may be regarding the dangers the digital age poses to the status norm, it’s not as dire as many articles and news segments would have you believe. The digital age doesn’t just include the younger generations anymore. In fact, roughly 85% of seniors have internet access with 67% using it regularly. Senior individuals regularly use technology to communicate with family, learn, play, and entertain themselves just like everyone else.   

Independence

As technology continues to evolve, so too do the lives of those who use it. And the senior community is undergoing serious change as Baby Boomers enter the ranks of the retired. In fact, defined by an emphasis on independence, Boomers are causing everyone to rethink how we age. This generation of seniors isn’t afraid of technology as many have been using computers and cellphones throughout their professional careers.

Navigation

GPS has been a game-changer in people getting around with ease and tracking shipments. So much so, the technology is largely responsible for putting taxis out of business with the advent of rideshare systems, like Uber and Lyft. 

Security

Home security is a booming industry and it is only getting more effective with new developments in technology. For instance, alarms can be set and automated to immediately notify you in the event of a break-in or fire. This ensures greater safety of your personal effects as well as your livelihood.

Despite the negative coverage of new technology is ruining today’s youth, technology has made life easier and safer.

If you want other helpful tips to keep you energized as you age, check out our FREE e-book Living and Aging the Way You Want. Inside you will find helpful bits of advice on living your best life. Download your PDF by clicking the icon below.

Options to Keep You Connected Through Technology

As we grow older, keeping up with the latest technology can be tedious. That’s why we’ve created a straight forward guide for you to consider your options to stay connected through technology. Whether your family is across the country, you are using your retirement to travel, or you simply don’t get to see each other as often as you would like; these are some easy and useful ways to keep in touch with the people most important to you.

Quick Glossary of Terms:

  • Keyword: specific words used to categorize your posts.
  • Hashtag: used to “tag” keywords to make posts on particular topics easier to find. Example – #Caterday.
  • Cloud Storage: data storage that can be accessed through a website. Google Drive and Dropbox are popular examples.
  • Stream: Similar to cloud storage, streaming happens when you log in or subscribe to a database (often for video or audio material) and retrieve that data over the shared network in a continuous, uninterrupted “stream.” Netflix and Spotify are popular streaming services.
  • Scrolling: swiping through text or electronic displays, often on phones and tablets, to view various 

Email

One way to stay connected through technology is by email. Email is great for people who love letter writing but want to join the digital era. You can create a free and stay in touch digitally. Most adults under 70 already have one, so we probably don’t need to cover this too thoroughly.

Social Media

According to the numbers, most people under 60 are already familiar with Facebook. However, there are always new platforms popping up. To better choose which one/s might be right for you to stay connected, here are the demographics for users by age. This will help you determine how best to stay in touch with friends, children, and grandchildren.

  • Facebook – sharing photos and comments about daily life. About 84-88% of people between 18-49 use Facebook with 62% of people over 65. It is by far the most popular platform.
  • Instagram – sharing photos with captions and hashtags. This is most popular with younger generations, with 75% of people age 18-24 using the platform and only 8% of people over 65.
  • Twitter – sharing thoughts in text with 180 characters or fewer. This is popular among young professionals looking to create a public image as a thought leader. With 44% of people between 18-24, this platform is less popular due to the niche appeal. Only 7% of people over 65 are on the platform.
  • Pinterest – saving images to boards with a wide range of subjects. This platform has a somewhat even distribution across age groups with an average of 32% across people aged 18-64, with 15% of users over age 65.
  • Snapchat – allows users to share videos and pictures with minimal data usage. This platform trends to the young with 73% of people aged 18-24 and 3% of people over 65.
  • Tiktok – a video sharing platform that allows you to watch videos by simply scrolling and not tapping or clicking. This skews toward the young with 60% of all users between 16-24. If you have grandkids or great-grandkids, this is likely what they enjoy using most.

PhotoShare Friends and Family Smart Frame

PhotoShare Smart Frames are a great way to keep in touch with your friends and family by sharing photos and messages. Similar to an ordinary picture frame, this PhotoShare Frame uses digital images and can be linked to people in your contact list, allowing them to send images to the frame directly. There are three different ways to share (app, email, and Facebook) you can choose how you would like to connect. This way you can still see pictures of your family without having to keep up with social media every day.

Product Features:

  • 1-minute installation
  • Instant sharing and receiving
  • Album and slide show options
  • Free cloud storage
  • Messaging
  • Share with your list of contacts

Echo Show 8

Amazon is one of the leaders in being connected through technology. The newest addition to Amazon’s product line, the Echo Show 8 is similar to the PhotoShare Frame, just with some additional capabilities. You can download apps to stream your favorite entertainment or news channels. It also features video calling capabilities. With these more sophisticated features, there’s a bit of learning curve and more time is needed to get set up.

Product Features

  • Simple set up
  • Hands-free video calls
  • Voice-activated photo albums
  • Stream news and shows
  • Compatible with other Amazon smart devices

Looking for other ways to stay connected through technology with your grandchildren? Here are some technologies you can use to stay in touch with the younger generation.

Concord Reserve is a continuing care retirement community in Westlake, Ohio. We’re focused on supporting the vibrant and active lifestyles of our residents so they can age well. For more information, contact Concord Reserve online or at 440-871-0090. Concord Reserve is a continuing care retirement community in Cleveland, Ohio.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Virtual Tour

A Guide to Senior Living Community Changes

Whether your senior living plans are already well underway or you are just beginning your research, tours are a great way to get to know a community. However, with the growing use of digital resources, it is important to keep your touring options open. Here you will learn the benefits of taking a virtual tour, how to determine if it is a good one, and how most of them are usually conducted. With this guide to tour a senior community digitally you will be one step closer to peace of mind and new neighbors. So, get ready for your new digital adventure.

Decide Which Things are Important

It is important to decide which things you don’t want to give up before you tour. Is space the most important thing to you or is it getting out and going to events? You should make these decisions before touring so you know what you are looking for before scheduling.

How Virtual Tours Work

There are a few different ways a virtual tour can work and benefits to each. Below you will find the variety of tours as well as what each one offers. Most virtual tours will be offered through Zoom, Skype, or Facetime.

  • Pre-recorded tours. These tours are recorded ahead of time and are often on-demand for prospective residents. 
    • The benefit of these kinds of tours is that you can take it whenever you want. 
    • The downside is you can’t ask questions easily.
    • You can tell it’s a good tour if they show meals and have event planners.
  • Live Virtual tours. These tours are scheduled with a representative of the sales team. 
    • The benefit of this type of tour is that you can ask questions and get answers in real-time. You can also ask to see specific amenities and areas of the community that you might not see otherwise.
    • The downside is you must make an appointment.
    • You can tell if this is a good tour if they are responsive to your questions and have a good plan for the tour.

Questions to Ask During Your Virtual Tour

In-person or online, here are some great questions to ask during your tour to make sure this is the right community for you.

  • What is the number of staff members compared to residents?
  • What kind of training is required of the staff?
  • Are there health services available on campus?
  • What types of specific care is the staff experienced?
  • What services are included in the monthly fee?
  • Ask to have pictures sent so you can compare communities later.

Now that you know what to look for, why not set up a tour with one of our associates and see all Life Enriching Communities has to offer to help you age well?

If you want to learn tips on moving to a community, check out our FREE ebook Moving to a Senior Living Community. Inside you will find helpful tips on how to plan a move. Download your PDF by clicking the icon below.

How to Convert Photos to Digital to Make Space

If you’re downsizing or decluttering, the task can seem insurmountable. From clutter catching countertops to overstuffed closets, knowing where to start is just as important as deciding to start. There are a lot of strategies to downsizing, but a simple way to cut your clutter is to start with something that could simply take up less space if properly stored. And converting photos to digital is a great project to tackle first. You aren’t actually getting rid of anything, just storing photos in a way that takes up less space. If you’re ready to start consolidating, here are your digital transformation pointers. 

Why Converting Photos to Digital is Better

Since converting photos takes some time and a little effort, it’s important to understand the benefit of having digital photos over your long-cherished hard copies. Some benefits of converting photos to digital:

  • Digital photos are harder to damage (no ripping, water damage, or discoloration).
  • Photo albums can take up a lot of space on shelves or in storage.
  • Digital photos are easier to share through email and social media.
  • It is easy to make copies and store in multiple places with minimal effort.
  • Converted photos can be easily corrected to eliminate redeye or blemishes.

3 Simple Methods to Convert Photos to Digital

1. Scanning

Though you can get a scanner at a relatively reasonable cost and can save them right to your desktop, scanning photos is a bit time-consuming.

Basically, all you have to do is get the scanner and set it up. You should scan one photo at a time, which is why this process can take so long. Once the images are scanned, you will have the option to save them to your computer. We suggest setting up a folder for these photos so you know exactly where they are. From there you can save them to a cloud or share them on social media.

If you don’t want to do this yourself, there are companies like Shutterfly that will do it for you. 

2. Apps

Just like there are services that will scan your photos for you, there are apps that can help you as well. It can save you the cost and space of a scanner, which if you are downsizing your home might be better to avoid. These apps work just like taking a picture of the photo, except they have the added luxury of photo editing options like color correction.

Google Photo Scan is a comprehensive app.

3. Take Digital Photo

This is perhaps the most straightforward method. Simply use the camera on your phone and take a picture of the picture. Though this is one of the easiest methods, it gives you very little control over the image quality. If there is a shadow across the image or a tear in the photo, you won’t be able to fix it later. If you are just looking for a way to get the job done quickly, this might be something worth considering.

Regardless of which method you choose to use to convert photos to digital copies, one thing is for certain; you will have more space and less clutter when you are done.

Looking for even more downsizing tips? Check out these 5 Universal Downsizing and Decluttering Tips and cut down on clutter like a pro!

Now that you know what you need to about converting photos to digital, you can start planning for your future with confidence. To learn everything you need to know about aging well in general, check out our free A to Z Guide.

Twin Towers is a continuing care retirement community in Cincinnati, Ohio, offering patio homes, apartments, rehab services, and more. We’re focused on supporting the vibrant and active lifestyles of our residents so they can age well. For more information, contact Twin Towers online or at 513-853-2000.

Connecting to the Next Generation: A Grandparent’s Guide to Emojis

Emojis have quickly become a common form of communication with millennials and the zennials (or generation Z). Even Oxford has recognized the significance of the communication images by making an emoji the Word of the Year in 2015. But what is so great about this type of communication and how can you use it to communicate with your grandkids? We’re glad you asked. Here is a grandparent’s quick guide to emojis!

It’s actually not all that tough to catch onto and can be a lot of fun. There are also some additional benefits to learning the lingo, so to speak. 

Why Are Emojis So Popular?

Well, you could say that it’s just because everyone is doing it. But that’s too simple an answer. The real reason is that many young people see it as an easier, less judgemental form of communication. They don’t have to worry about embarrassing themselves by misspelling words, worry if their bilingual friend will know what they are talking about, or wasting time typing lengthy texts. The fact is, we process picture meanings a lot faster than we do words and there are fewer possibilities for misunderstandings when sending quick messages. Just think of how an “Ok” message is fine, but an “Ok” message with a period at the end is considered aggressive or angry. Emojis eliminate that sort of nuance.

Why Should You Give Emojis a Try?

Apart from being a bit of fun to have with your grandkids, this is also a great way to show interest in the things your grandkids are doing. If you haven’t read our article on bridging the generation gap, then you might not know that connecting with the younger generation goes both ways. One of the most effective ways to interact with your younger grandchildren or great-grandchildren is to show an interest in things that are important to them. Let them explain and teach you how to use emojis.

Basic Guide to Emojis

Here is a quick guide to the most common emojis. These were copy and pasted from Facebook, however, if you are using your phone or tablet they might look slightly different.

😂 Tears of Joy

Remember how we mentioned that Oxford’s 2015 word of the year was an emoji? This is it. Often, this emoji is used instead of “LOL” to indicate you are laughing out loud to the point of crying.

😀Grinning Face 

This is one of several Smiley Face options and this group of emojis are among the most commonly used. It is used to show excitement or happiness or just to ensure a message sent has a friendly tone.

😅 Grinning with Sweat

This emoji has been around for a very long time in Japanese pop culture and was often depicted in animated cartoons. It can be used for good-natured embarrassment or relief. Think of it as an awkward laugh in a tense or slightly uncomfortable situation. It can also mean you are simply sweating, from exercise or otherwise.

😍Smiley Face with Heart Eyes

The Smiley Face with Heart Eyes is pretty straight forward and infers love or admiration. Either to say you love a person or thing. This can be used for anything like good news, a nice outfit, or a person.

😘Kiss Face

This is the Kiss Face and it depicts a kiss being blown. It’s not necessarily romantic, though it could be depending on the context. However, it is more commonly used as a sign-off or at the end of a message.

😎 Smiley Face with Sunglasses

This is the cool emoji, used to convey that something or someone is easy-going or “chill.” It can be used genuinely, sarcastically, and often to playfully self deprecate. As in someone talking about doing something nerdy and making fun of how cool it makes them. The cool emoji can also be used to indicate approval.

🙃Upside-Down Smiley Face

This emoji is one of the smiley faces flipped upside-down and has a wide range of interpretations, its meaning usually based on context. It can mean something is sarcastic or that you are feeling goofy. It is also sometimes used to replace a shrug. 

Now that you know the basics, have fun mixing things up.

Life Enriching Communities, Inc. (LEC), is an integrated family of lifestyle communities and senior living services in greater Cincinnati. Best known for our Twin Towers and Twin Lakes senior living communities, we have made aging well a top priority for nearly 120 years.

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What Can You Do With A Tablet

Interest and demand for mobile devices–from a tablet to an e-reader or smartphone–has soared in recent years.  And the trend is no different for older adults.

What Older Adults Are Using Mobile Devices For

Many people get a tablet as a gift from a family member because they want them to stay in touch through email or social platforms. Yet what they are using it for goes far beyond email. Here’s just some of what we hear.

Getting Started 

  1. Don’t be afraid of it. Fear is often the first thing people talk about when they get a new tablet. Many think of today’s technology as being fast-paced but often don’t realize how user-friendly it can actually be.
  2. You don’t need formal computer training. You don’t need to have extensive computer background or take a university course. Many libraries and community centers offer free classes to help people understand how to use their tablets. Also, ask family and friends for tips and advice.
  3. Play around with it. Be adventurous and play around with the device and apps. The best way to learn is to explore the app store, see what you find, and learn as you go. 

Once people get over the initial fear, they usually find out how useful, powerful and fun a tablet can be.

Twin Lakes is a continuing care retirement community in Cincinnati, Ohio, offering villa homes, apartments, rehab services and more. We’re focused on supporting the vibrant and active lifestyles of our residents so they can age well. For more information, contact Twin Lakes online or at 513-247-1300.