September 30, 2023

Engaged Older Adults Learning Technology's Capabilities

Fall has arrived - for some too early, some just in time. For others it signals the continuance of an adventure that began early in June.

Throughout June, and continuing over the summer, 16 of the 26 North Simcoe Muskoka long-term care homes agreed to participate in our older adult technology boost by accepting SGS’s offer of different types of social technology for their homes. Depending on technology available, homes would choose options that might work for their residents. In addition to receiving the equipment, some homes hosted information sessions for residents and staff, which were delivered by our two enthusiastic summer students, Nicholas and Jordan, along with NSM SGS Recreation Therapist Jenna. One of the primary objectives of the project was to observe how technology cannot only improve quality of life for older adults, but also improve the way we deliver our care. Apple and Samsung watches, wireless Bluetooth speakers, iPod shuffles, Meta Quest 2 (virtual reality headsets), Google Nests and Amazon Alexas were some of the products demonstrated.

It was an especially rewarding experience watching older adults interact with technologies such as virtual reality, which they can use for enjoyment and not just health benefits. Recreation teams that participated through our community and long-term care home presentations were encouraged by the many possibilities of how technology could be used to benefit older adults living not only in long-term care, but also in their own homes.

The results on how each home has adopted the technology will be part of a follow up survey that will take place in October. In the meantime, we can say based on our presentations and visits to the homes that, while the digital gap is still large, it is evident that many individuals are more than willing to learn about the different types of social technology and with training, will be able to benefit from them.

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