Connections are vital for every human being. These connections may be even more important for older adults, who may struggle with feelings of isolation and loneliness. In addition, many of these older adults may also experience negative effects on their physical, mental, and emotional health when these connections crumble. However, the Covid-19 pandemic and the importance of social distancing has made maintaining these connections much more challenging. One way to maintain connections is via online tools, and caregivers can play a vital role in maintaining and fostering these connections. 

The Importance of Connections 

Connections with family and friends can have myriad positive impacts on seniors. Some of these benefits are relatively obvious, but other pluses do not always get the same degree of attention.  What are some of the most important benefits: 

  1. Connected seniors often live longer, and their quality of life may be dramatically better, from both physical and mental health perspectives
  2. Connections can increase a person’s sense of belonging in a community, leading to a positive spike in their self-esteem. This can generate a wide range of spillover benefits. 
  3. Connections can also dramatically reduce the risk that an older adult will be abused. Seniors that are alone or those that have a small social network are at the greatest risk of being abused because they are less likely to report it.  

Connecting Seniors in the Covid-19 Era

As noted above, connections are vital to maintaining an older adult’s physical and mental health. But, these connections are even more complicated during the Covid-19 global pandemic. Older adults are uniquely vulnerable to poor outcomes with a Covid-19 infection. Upwards of 90 percent of individuals who have died from Covid-19 have been over the age of 55, and most of these older adults have lived in congregate facilities, such as nursing homes.  

These harsh medical realities mean that it is simply not advisable, at present, for connections to be made through in-person activities. So, if in-person activities and meetings cannot happen, then what is the best approach? The best approach is using the Internet to foster connections. 

Using Technology to Collaborate

There are many different ways that older adults can connect to family and friends with technology. For example, they can up their connections by regularly e-mailing and texting with friends and family members. Also, instead of merely calling loved ones, older adults can arrange Zoom phone calls that can include a large circle of people, or they can even FaceTime, with an Apple product, so that they get video images. These tools can help people feel more connected to their loved ones. 

However, these are not the only technological options available. Increasingly, churches and other organizations have set up online options, often via Zoom, where people can feel connected without attending an event in person. 

However, even though all of the approaches outlined above are great and extremely beneficial to people who participate, there is a hiccup with this approach. 

What is the Hiccup? 

In this case, the hiccup is relatively straightforward. Many older adults are not technologically savvy. New technology may intimidate them, and they may also have physical or cognitive challenges that make some tools very complicated or frustrating. Plus, this frustration may mean that the older adult withdraws and does not adopt these new approaches. 

How Can Caregivers Help Seniors Connect Online? 

Without assistance, many older adults quickly become frustrated with new technology and ultimately give up. This is where caregivers can and should step into the process and help navigate the natural hiccups that may occur. 

The amount of navigation needed by the caregiver may vary depending on factors, such as: how technologically savvy the person is, what types of technology the person had previously used, and any medical issues that the person may have?  

#1 One-time Tutorials

For a relatively technologically savvy older adult, the caregiver may only have to give a one-time tutorial to get the older adult started on something like Zoom. It may also be beneficial to leave a clearly spelled out instruction sheet that the person can refer back to later if they have questions! 

#2 Ongoing Tutorials

Suppose the older adult is less technologically savvy or is struggling with a range of health issues. In that case, it may be necessary for the caregiver to take a more active role in connecting the person online. The caregiver may need to set up an online email account, as well as establishing passwords that both they and the person that they are caring for will know. Sometimes, simply setting up the account will be enough. In other cases, the caregiver may need to sit next to the older adult while they are Zooming, stepping in to correct any technological glitches that may occur. 

#3 Determining Technological Needs

Another critical issue to remember is that successfully connecting a senior online is not merely about teaching a person how to use a new technology or application. It may also be necessary to purchase the essential tools for the senior. For example, Zoom can be used via a smartphone. But, many people find it easier to use on a laptop computer. The caregiver can play an integral role in determining what technology needs to be purchased and communicating these needs with other family members. 

It is also crucial for the caregiver to navigate this entire process with compassion. Remember, it can be scary and intimidating for an older adult to feel like they need to learn a wide range of new skills.  To minimize these feelings, the caregiver may want to involve the older adult in the purchasing process, asking them about their preferences from a limited range of options. It may also be beneficial at times for the caregiver to step back and allow the person that they are caring for the opportunity to succeed via trial and error.

Finding the correct balance between independence and help can be challenging. It may depend to a large degree on both people’s personality types. Some people may embrace receiving help, whereas others could potentially find the help frustrating or even insulting. 

Get Connected With A Caregiver

Connections are integral in helping older adults maintain a high quality of life, from both a physical and emotional perspective. In years past, connections were relatively easy to establish. But, Covid-19 and its self-isolation requirements have thrown a wrench into this. So, creative solutions need to be carved out. One solution is to use new technology, such as Zoom, to connect individuals via the Internet remotely. 

If you’re looking for a caregiver to help your loved one navigate technological solutions so they can stay connected, contact Community Home Health Care at 845-425-6555. You can also visit our website at

7 Smartphone Apps That Will Help Monitor Your Health

There’s no doubt about it – we live in technological times. Fortunately, much of our modern technology is dedicated to making our lives better. From meal planning apps to activity trackers, today’s technology is great for staying healthy and active. If you’re interested in turning your smartphone into a pocked-sized health center, download the following apps:

1. Amwell App

Have a question you’d love to ask a doctor but can’t get in for an appointment? No problem – Amwell allows users to consult a medical provider any time he or she needs a medical consultation. Simply open the app, tap through a few choices, pick a specialty and a provider within that specialty and get an immediate video conference with a doctor.

Although this service doesn’t replace the care of an in-person doctor, it can be a great way to address minor medical concerns from anywhere you may be right now. This app is available as a free download for both iPhone and Android users.

2. Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock App

You know how it feels – you wake up after 8 hours of sleep and you’re still drowsy. Waking up drowsy makes the entire day difficult and can impair everything from memory to overall cognitive function. If you’re waking up drowsy and you’re not sure why, it’s possible that you’re waking up during the wrong stage of your sleep cycle – most likely while you’re in a deep sleep.

This makes you feel drowsy upon awakening and contributes to low-functioning days. To ensure that you wake up rested and refreshed, try the Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock app, which monitors movements during sleep and wakes you up during a period of light sleep when you’re likely to bound out of bed feeling refreshed.

The app eliminates the risk of oversleeping by featuring a customizable window of 90 minutes. This means that users can input an “earliest possible” and “latest possible” wake time and the app will wake you up during the lightest sleep phase during the time window, so you’ll never have to worry about being late. Additionally, the app offers sleep graphs and charts, so users can track weekly and nightly sleep patterns and cycles. Available to download on iPhone for $4.99 and Android for $1.99.

3. App

The app is a great place for people who need dependable information about medications. All users need to do is click into the app and locate the medication they’re curious about. The app searches the extensive database and gives users the generic and brand name forms of the medication, the drug’s information, potential interaction dangers and much more.

Users can also create a personalized drug list to check for possible interactions and to identify potential generic forms that may be less expensive. Additionally, this app allows users to look up unknown pills by inputting the pill’s shape, color or imprint. As the leading online drug database, the app is a great way for people to take charge of their medication. The app is available for free to iPhone and Android users.

4. Whole Foods Market App

If you’re like most people, it’s likely that you’ve found yourself eating junk food for dinner simply because you couldn’t figure out what to cook. With the Whole Foods Market app, this problem is a thing of the past. This app allows users to access more than 3,500 online recipes and search recipes according to special dietary needs, course, ingredients and type of cuisine.

The app also allows users to compile a healthy shopping list directly from the recipes. Finally, users can use the app to find recipes that use the ingredients they already have lying around the kitchen. Ideal for users who want to eat healthy without breaking the budget, the Whole Foods Market app is a free download for both iPhone and Android users.

5. My Diet Coach App

Trying to lose weight? Don’t go it alone. The My Diet Coach app is exactly what it sounds like – a diet coach that fits into your pocket and offers motivation, reminders and goals right in your pocket. Use the app to track your meals, keep notes about which foods to eat and which to avoid, keep exercise and food logs, take photos of your progress and set fitness goals.

To make this app even better, it gives users virtual prizes when pre-set goals are met. Losing weight is hard enough on its own and My Diet Coach offers just the right level of motivation and encouragement to keep you going strong. This app is available for free to both iPhone and Android users.

6. Moves App

Currently, the average American sits for at least eight hours a day. This sedentary lifestyle is rife with health problems, including poor mental health, increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and depression and an increased risk of suffering from physical disabilities. With all of that in mind, it’s obvious that moving more is an important part of maintaining optimal health at all life stages.

Moves is an app that helps encourage users to move more on a daily basis. The app tracks all types of movement – including walking, running, biking or yoga – and displays the activity as a virtual storyline that allows users to track their progress. The app also tracks caloric intake and displays walking and jogging routes as paths on a map.

Users can use the app to compare daily progress and to track how much they move each week. Ideal for people who want to set activity goals and be more active each day, Moves is a great app for getting healthy and staying that way. Moves is available for free to both iPhone and Android users.

7. Lumosity Mobile App

Lumosity is a popular web-based service that offers brain games that function on the idea of neuroplasticity – the concept that our brains can be improved throughout life by building new neural pathways that affect emotions, behavior, and memory. The Lumosity app is a pocket-sized training program that is designed to help users stay sharp and increase their cognitive abilities at all life stages.

The app works by creating a series of fun, personalized games that exercise different aspects of the brain – such as memory, attention span, and multi-tasking. The app also allows users to track performance and set goals in order to gauge progress and improvement. The Lumosity App is available for free to both iPhone and Android users.

While you could play Angry Birds or Candy Crush on your smartphone all day, that these apps are a better use of your screen time. Whether you’re looking to lose weight, sleep better, move more or give your brain a workout, these great health apps can help you meet your goals and be healthier every day.