Unfortunately, it’s sometimes the case that the seniors we care about most, spend their days watching the latest news networks. Although senior living homes are a great way to keep your elderly parent safe and engaged with a community, there are ways you can help make sure your elderly parent stays happy and healthy.

The most common way that nursing homes families can engage with their parents is by physically visiting. Although this face to face is definitely the most effective way for communication and collaboration, sometimes it isn’t possible to take off work and visit your parent.

There are ways to get around this like having a friend who lives in the area visit them, or hiring an external nurse to come in, but these solutions don’t give you opportunities to spend time with the people you care most about.

With technology however, finding ways to connect with people has become infinitely easier. This opportunity for using technology to interact with your parents will only become more widespread as computers and tablets become easier to use. There are applications for pretty much everything imaginable.

We found 3 different types of applications that you can use to engage with your elderly parent to keep them happy.

Collaborative Games

One of the best ways to keep your parent engaged and healthy is by giving them opportunities to play games. Games have been proven to not only improve mood and decrease stress, but also to increase high performance.

An increase in mood and a trend towards being more aware are key aspects of creating a positive environment. Although this topic isn’t as researched in a senior setting, company culture has been extensively analyzed in recent years and games have been shown to set a more positive atmosphere.

In a more historic setting, board games, like chess, would be used much more frequently during visits with parents, however as games have transitioned towards being online, the senior community as a whole hasn’t.

What’s important is finding games that are both easy to learn and fun for everyone playing. Some great games that can get you started are Words with Friends and Draw that Thing. If you’re looking for more games to try, try out TechRadar’s 10 games to play with your family.

Photo of Words with Friends for fun with family
Source: Screengrab/zynga

Food Delivery Services

One of the biggest difficulties my parents faced when they joined a nursing home was they had to sacrifice making their own meals. Whenever you sacrifice a part of your autonomy, small things that define who you are, it can be a huge blow on your overall happiness.

Although many senior living spaces have great cafeterias and offer great selection, the idea to many elderly people that you have to stick to what’s on that single menu, is enough to dampen their mood.

I found a great way to help my parents feel like they had more choices was by downloading DoorDash. It’s a company that lets people buy things from local stores in their area, you can check out reviews for DoorDash here.

Now I can surprise my parents with a call and give them the opportunity to order a dish from a local restaurant they may have never tried before. Many of the local businesses that DoorDash partners with never delivered before, so they’re the only way you can get the food delivered to you.

On-Demand Healthcare

My mother is one who gets worried sick when I travel for work or anytime that there’s the smallest chance of me having an accident. When I say she gets worried sick, she literally ends up having to go to the hospital for a check up every time.

Although she’s definitely worried for my health, she once told me that it’s more because she gets worried about her own health, and that she won’t be able to see me again. She goes to the hospital to get confirmation from a professional doctor that she’s indeed fine, and that nothing is going wrong.

These trips to the hospital to visit a doctor would also make me worry while I was trying to be on vacation, while also frustrating the nursing home because they would have to organize the visit and bring her to the doctor’s office.

Luckily I found a solution. There’s thousands of doctors around the world who are actually online at all times, ready to give virtual consultations. There are a ton of different applications and sites out there, but the one I use is Akira.

Photo of an on-demand healthcare app

For a small monthly fee, they’ll let you have unlimited consultations with on-demand doctors who can instantly give give confirmation that everything is fine. It’s linked to a person’s medical records so the doctor already knows everything, and they can even get a live feed of what’s going on. One of the main reasons I use Akira is the doctors who work there love it, and are just really dedicated to helping people!

My mother has absolutely loved the app. I feel it’s because she now knows that if ever anything goes wrong, she can instantly get the help she needs.

Technology is changing how we live

Although many of us who are working have already been affected by how technology has integrated itself into our lives, it hasn’t really been integrated well for seniors. With these three technologies, I hope you can keep your senior parent happy. It worked for me!

Mike Gill is a marketing professional with years of experience in the care industry, where he’s focused on making access to care services available more broadly. He now acts as the CEO of Peersight, which allows job seekers to get to know their potential manager & colleagues before they accept an offer.”

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