Six months ago, 82-year-old Jerry lost his wife after a bout with pneumonia, leaving him living home alone in his residence of nearly five decades. While Jerry is still able to live independently for the most part, he finds that dealing with the loss of his wife on quiet weekday afternoons brings him a great deal of sorrow and feelings of depression. During his last visit to the doctor, Jerry broke down about the emotional trough he had been in since his wife’s passing, leading him and his physician to explore options to help ward off overwhelming depression and loneliness while grieving the loss of his wife.
Jerry’s situation is not uncommon. With aging comes a number of life changes, such as losing a spouse or loved ones, declining vision and hearing, and medical conditions such as arthritis that can be painful and frustrating. All of this leaves room for depression to be a major issue for seniors who are often leery of medication based psychiatric treatments.
With that in mind, senior mental health specialists in the State of Texas are exploring non-medicinal options to help fight senior depression, many of which revolve around increased human contact, as isolation can also be a major trigger for senior depression. University of Texas professor Namkee Choi headed up an experiment that offered psychotherapy to seniors via Skype sessions with video chat. While early on many were intimidated by their new laptops and the idea of teleconferencing, at the end of the trial period, 94% of seniors said they actually enjoyed using the teleconferencing services.
While studies like that conducted by Professor Choi are just the beginning of linking seniors with technology, they show that technology can be a major positive player in the elder care arena. Beyond services like Skype that allow seniors to connect from their home, technology like a home care software or home care system can also be a driving force for elder care.
For example, home care software and a home care system, such as ClearCare Online, give in home care administrators the power to easily work with clients who need constant 24-hour care, or those who simply need occasional visits for companionship or light help around the house. With robust home care system scheduling tools, administrators can always find available caregivers and get clients scheduled for service in mere minutes.
Additionally, automated reminders from the home care software let caregivers know when they need to be at their shifts, and with secure family member log-ins to the home care system, loved ones near and far (as well as seniors using technology!) can review when shifts are scheduled for, who’s coming and know what tasks are planned for assistance.
While seniors and technology may not always seem to go together, a growing number of technologies, such as home care software are targeted to bring these two unlikely groups together to ensure seniors bright, enjoyable Golden Years.