Technology can offer many conveniences to seniors; however, it may also seem a little daunting. Smartwatches, in particular, may offer many benefits to seniors. But finding the right one can be a little tricky. In this post, we will explore what makes smartwatches a good gift for a senior and how to select the right one for an aging loved one.
A smartwatch is essentially a watch with technological advancements. It tells time and is worn around the wrist, but it can also perform more advanced tasks. Like smartphones, smartwatches often have touchscreens and apps that can be downloaded. Smartwatches can usually monitor heart rate and other vital medical signs in addition to running timers or alarms.
These watches often boast a myriad of features, including the following:
- Alerts of important events or activities
- Fall sensors with escalating notifications up to and including alarms to authorities
- Play music
- Answer voice messages
- Measure walks or workouts
- GPS for tracking and location-specific alerts
- Long battery life
Pros and Cons of Smartwatches
In a study by the NCBI.NLM.NIH, in 2019, the organization explored the pros and cons concerning the use of smartwatches for seniors. The study was looking for ways in which a smartwatch might improve patient-reported outcome (PRO) of mood, pain, and fatigue. The organization found the following information:
- There seems to be a lack of systematic evaluation of smartwatch technology among seniors.
- Seniors sometimes had lower self-confidence and higher anxiety when facing new technology. However, the degree of familiarity with the smartwatch increases because the smartwatch looks very much like a regular watch.
- Seniors desire a simple interface, technical support, and understandable instructions were needed to overcome the technical barriers.
- The touchscreen interface was sometimes challenging to use for seniors due to the small size of the watch face and the decreased motor resolution and coordination that can occur in the aging process.
- The seniors who took part in the research also had an interest in potential future features, including the capability to keep their health care provider "in the loop" through a health care provider portal or electronic health records integration.
Based on the findings of this study, smartwatches have proven that they can be useful to seniors. They offer many features that appeal to the elderly population although there may be some initial challenges in learning how to use them.
Another challenge of adapting smartwatches, however, is that doctors and healthcare providers do not have time to review smartwatch monitoring. While the watches may be able to track and monitor heart health and even trace the heart’s electrical signature (electrocardiogram or ECG), they track an enormous amount of information that can be impossible to sort through. Additionally, doctors may need more information than a smartwatch can provide to make proper diagnoses. While doctors may not be able to consume this information effectively, the end-user may find the information insightful and useful for everyday living.
Best Smartwatches for Seniors
With that being said, we think that smartwatches can be a great tool for seniors! They offer numerous benefits and can be a source of information and entertainment. But when looking for a smartwatch for a senior, remember that some designs may seem overwhelming to seniors. Here are just a few smartwatches that we think seniors will appreciate due to their wide versatility and ease of use.
The Apple Watch is generally known for being extremely easy to use. All models feature a touchscreen, and users can download apps through the App Store. Some of the Apple Watch models are completely waterproof, so seniors don’t have to worry about not taking it off when swimming or taking a shower. The Apple Watch Series 5 also has a larger screen, so it’s easier for seniors to see and navigate. The watch has extraordinary health monitoring features and robust emergency features, which can provide peace of mind to seniors and their family members.
Laxcido GPS Smartwatch
The Laxcido GPD Smartwatch is a cost-effective smartwatch, but it packs plenty of features that can assist seniors. This watch has a GPS tracker and offers geofencing features that send alerts whenever the wearer enters or leaves safety zones. Additionally, the watch has a blood pressure/heart rate monitor, an SOS emergency call, and a front-facing camera for video calls. The device is completely waterproof as well, making it a great choice for seniors.
Samsung Galaxy Smartwatch
The Samsung Galaxy Smartwatch has many of the same features as the watches previously mentioned, including a blood pressure monitor, heart rate monitor, and an SOS alert feature. This watch also acts as a sleep monitor to measure REM sleep, sleeping cycles, and more. The screen is large, crisp, and easy to read. The Samsung device is durable and has a screen made with Gorilla Glass. It can even withstand the swimming pool. Its GPS + LBS tracking means that updating occurs based on the wearer's whereabouts, which syncs to a smartphone.
It seems that in some cases, a smartwatch is just the thing to make both the senior and the senior's loved ones feel safer. But there is still such a long way to go when adopting technology for seniors. So many technologies are on the way and will reshape senior care as we know it. As far as smartwatches are concerned, you may want to consider these final guidelines:
- Make an effort to keep your senior up-to-date in the world of technology.
- Explain and keep explaining, if necessary, that technology can make a huge difference in a senior’s quality of life.
- Work diligently to inform and assist your senior to keep lines of communication open.
- Remember that technology is a way to keep seniors engaged, mentally active, and physically safe.
Caring Senior Service is helping seniors and their families take advantage of technology when it comes to home care. Learn more about our proprietary software and tablets.