Tag Archives: Technology

Could a Virtual Assistant be the answer in Older Age?

Could a Virtual Assistant answer to your care needs in older ageIt is true that getting older can have its challenges when all we want to do is maintain our independence amidst those challenges.  At different stages of the process we often need some support to ensure our independence is maintained for as long as possible.  Our ability to deal with everyday tasks such as cleaning, gardening, transport and other areas can become impaired along the way.  Other times we just do not have the time and prefer to have someone else do it so that we can be free to pursue more enjoyable activities.

Older age and technology

The increasing need to deal with technology as part of our daily lives just to maintain our lives can be very challenging for some of us – tasks like paying bills, banking etc.  If managing your personal business affairs is difficult, then having the support of someone you can trust on a regular basis could be the answer.

The growth of technology has encouraged the birth of the  “Virtual Assistant” otherwise known as a VA. This new industry is growing and a VA offers a wide range of skills and experience having started life as an Administrative Assistant, Executive Assistant or a PA in the corporate world.

Such highly skilled people can bring these support services and skills to the domestic and home environment, working with individuals as well as Care organisations.

I am Stella Gooch of SMG Virtual PA and am a good example of a Virtual Assistant with a variety of experience in this arena.

A service to support older people

When my mother-in-law developed ill health in her later years, she relocated to be closer to us as it was clear she could not manage on her own.  Although we were able to support her living independently, we were constantly having a battle to get her to accept that support.  I am sure it is a familiar story in many families.  This gave me the idea that there is a need for a service to provide general admin support to older people who want to maintain their independence on their own terms.  Help like this can be purchased on an hourly basis with no long term commitment but longer term contracts can also be arranged.

It costs nothing to have a chat with Stella, and you never know but you might just find the help you are looking for by doing so.

Stella’s contact details are:  07788 645157  – Email: stella@smgvirtualpa.co.ukhttp://smgvirtualpa.co.uk/

Stella Gooch, Virtual Assistant

26th May 2017

Technology – Not just for kids

The use of smart phones and tablets amongst over 65s has seen a rise over the last few years. According to Ofcom, the proportion of people aged over 65 that are accessing the web reached 42% in 2013, up nine percentage points from 33% in 2012, which is a 27% increase over the year. They claim this is due in part to the ease and portability of accessing smartphones and tablets. Not only is it a quick and convenient way to get online, the use of apps also makes the potential for these devices great. There are apps for everything, from simple games right through to dating and social media sites, health, smart shopping and accessibility.

Smart phones and tablets could potentially have a massive impact on the lives of the elderly. And it’s important that we as family, friends and care-givers do what we can to encourage them to learn how to and feel comfortable using them. Deborah Stone, director of www.myageingparent.com suggests that:

“It needn’t be expensive. It needn’t be complicated. But it does need to be kept simple – and made enjoyable. Tablet use has helped connect hundreds of people – including many with disabilities and living in care homes. We know this can work. It’s in every family’s interests to encourage and enable their older relatives to make that step – and the advice we have published will give them the information and guidance they need.”

Below are a few examples to highlight what is out there. Here are just a very small selection of some great apps that we think will especially appeal to over 65s.

  • Communication Tool
    This is a great app for dementia sufferers and carers. It uses over 500 images to allow for easier communication. You can also very easily use your own pictures on the app, making it a much more personal experience.
  • Skype
    Skype is just one of many social apps that allow you to chat with and video call anyone in the world (as long as they also have a Skype account!). It’s a great way to help with the loneliness epidemic which is rife amongst the elderly.
  • BBC iplayer
    BBC iplayer is just one of many apps which allow you to watch ‘catch up’ TV for free. ITV and channel 4 also have similar apps. They’re usually free and they mean you can choose what to watch, when you want to watch it. Simple!
  • Kindle
    You can download this app onto your device with no need to buy a Kindle. It allows you to access thousands of books of varying prices; many of which are free.
  • Silver Surf
    Silver Surf can turn your iPad screen into the equivalent of what looks like a large-print book it also has many other features designed to make accessibility much easier for those with sight/dexterity issues and is completely customizable for your own personal preferences.
  • Pillboxie
    This app allows you to store a list of your medications and set timers to remind you when and which pills to take. It’s easy to set up and simple to use.
  • Lumosity
    Lumosity combines 25+ cognitive games into a daily training program that challenges your brain. Games adapt to your unique performances — helping you stay challenged in a wide variety of cognitive tasks. Great for exercising the grey matter and helping improve memory.
  • Pandora
    Pandora is an app which is designed to tailor music to your tastes. You start by putting in the genre, artist or songs you like and Pandora suggest similar tracks. You can then ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ the matches, fine-tuning it further. It’s like having your own, personal radio station!

So, if you are trying to find opportunities for your elderly loved ones to have new experiences, or to simply find ways to make life a little easier for them, it may be worth investing in a tablet or smart phone.

You may also find this guide useful, on mobile apps that help the elderly with technology, and especially the sometimes confusing interface on modern mobile devices, written by JoyOfAndroid.