Assisted Living: Technology and Quality of Life

Woman in assisted living on her computer.
Woman in assisted living on her computer.

Technology can boost quality of life for people in assisted living. As baby boomers age technology will take a much bigger stage, as suggested in some consumer trends.

A Few Real Life Examples

I once volunteered at Rowe Sanctuary, a nature center along the Platte River in Nebraska where thousands of Sand Hill Cranes gather on their way to points north.  People of all ages from around the world visit the sanctuary to witness this spectacle of nature.  I operated the Crane Cam, a remote camera placed on the river. The camera sent images to the National Geographic website.  While operated the camera, a couple approached, curious about what the process.  After I explained how it all worked, the woman told me about her mother who was in a nursing home in another state. Evidently her mother had been to the sanctuary several times in the past. She had been an avid bird watcher for many years. But since in long term care, she no longer participated in bird watching.  The daughter became so excited because she had recently set up a personal computer in her mother’s room at the facility.  It was possible for her mother to peek in on the Cranes via the internet and reconnect with her love of bird watching.

A gentleman in memory care used a PC to write poetry and letters to his family. In his career he’d been a successful business man, therefore the desk and computer in his room helped him retain an important part of his identity.

One young man with cerebral palsy resides in assisted living. He plays keyboard and records music on his PC. Sounds like a typical twenty year old, doesn’t it?  His keyboard was modified to compensate for poor coordination, so he managed independently. He proudly played his musical creations for guests.

We surely can expect more people in community care with their own computers. It might serve as one way to lessen the feelings of isolation and boredom that plague so many who must reside in assisted living.

What are your thoughts about the link between technology and quality of life?

2 thoughts on “Assisted Living: Technology and Quality of Life”

  1. Thanks for the advice about deciding when to move my family members into an assisted living facility. I remember seeing a lot of the signs you mentioned with my great-grandma, like forgetting to eat meals or take medications. I think it was about that time that my family decided to move her into assisted living. Now that I am starting to notice similar behavior in my grandma, I think I should talk to the rest of the family about choosing a facility for her.

  2. Current research efforts show that assistive information and communication technologies can successfully contribute to all dimensions of elderly’s quality of life. As example technologies can empower them to control their health problems, compensate functional disabilities and increase their safety. Otherwise, remote-communication could lead to reduced face-to-face communication and social exclusion.

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