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How caregivers can help seniors adopt health technology

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Health technology, like emergency response-enabled wearables or smart home devices that help monitor activity levels, have the potential to fully transform the way seniors manage their health to support a positive aging experience.

Whether seniors are living independently or in a care facility, family and professional caregivers are a large part of this process.

For seniors to truly benefit from these increasingly helpful technologies, they must be fully engaged on a personal level — and this looks very different from seniors simply using technology because a caregiver wants them to. As senior-specific health technology becomes more beneficial to seniors directly, there are a few ways caregivers can help accelerate adoption.

Show everyday value
As individuals age, they’re likely going to have to take on a number of regimens or additional check-in appointments in order to maintain their health and independence. So, why would they add another item to their list if it doesn’t provide consistent value in their everyday life? The answer is: they likely won’t—and shouldn’t, for that matter.

As you introduce health tech into the aging experience, it’s imperative that it’s truly going to make an impact on how each senior user will live their everyday life. But this means something different for everyone—from people that appreciate reminders about their activity levels and when to take medications, to one that has 9-1-1 alert capabilities to keep them feeling safe and secure while at home, shopping or enjoying travel and hobbies.

Make it easy to use
Accessibility is key for technology adoption in every age and application, but especially for seniors. These individuals aren’t going to work too hard to learn how to use a solution that may or may not provide value. On that other hand, if a solution is made accessible—for example, through a local healthcare provider or senior care facility—it removes their barriers to trying it out. After they try it, the previously referenced everyday value will speak for itself.

Caregivers can further increase this accessibility by aligning their efforts with technology made specifically for seniors, rather than trying to adopt general consumer technology to aging applications. After that targeted technology moves to the hands of the senior, caregivers have the ability to ease difficulties with adoption by taking time to show how simple it is to adopt with the individual experiencing a first look at the solution, then following up to identify any further training needs.

Keep them engaged
After a senior begins using health technology, the next step is making sure it doesn’t end up in a drawer only a few months later. There’s one thing that’s for sure: if caregivers aren’t engaged with the technology, the senior won’t be either.

While health technology should bring everyday value to seniors’ lives, it should also enable caregivers with information they can use to improve each individual's aging experience. One way this can be done is through analytics insights generated through the tech’s health data. Connecting health tech, like wearable devices, with an analytics platform can deepen the insights available through the technology to open a range of applications, such as simple things like making sure they stay active, to more sophisticated ones like predicting impending health conditions and optimizing post-acute care.

Health technology has the potential to improve the way individuals experience aging by supporting their health, and therefore their independence, as long as possible—but many miss out on the benefits simply due to lack of understanding. Caregivers can make the technology adoption process more inviting and ease any struggles previously related with seniors’ use of healthcare tech by focusing on everyday value, ease of use and engagement.

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