Wednesday, August 17


Can technology enhance the mental health of elderly adults? 

Observing older individuals struggle with memory issues, low mood, anxiety, or a lack of ambition, especially during periods of physical separation, can be heartbreaking. You may be looking for alternatives to mental health consultations because you have to wait so long.

Reaching out to family members or religious leaders may be beneficial when discussing stressors. Alternatively, self-help books may empower older people who choose to keep their struggles private with new skills and perspectives. But with the rise of mental health mobile apps, telepsychiatry services, social media, and wearable technologies, what role does technology play in treatment?

Technology can improve the mental health and medication management of older adults.

Combating age-based stereotypes 

Upon observing a loved one struggle with their computer, you may question whether technology-based therapy should be pursued in the first place. Despite the fact that older people may be reluctant to use new technology because of stereotype threat (the fear of confirming negative preconceptions), a little assistance from loved ones can alleviate technology discomfort. The usage of technology among older people has increased significantly over the past decade, bringing with it potential benefits for mental health, everyday functioning, and quality of life.

Moving to the virtual realm 

A few years into the pandemic, a rising number of elderly people are seeing their doctors virtually. How effective is this for mental health? Several studies have thankfully demonstrated that virtual therapy is comparable to in-person treatment.
What about mobile applications that remove the human element? In this case, the findings indicate that mobile apps can be complementary but are insufficient as sole therapies for mental illnesses.


When browsing online treatments, you should confirm that the platform is HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) compliant, which means that your information is legally secured. Zoom and BlueJeans comply with HIPAA, although FaceTime and Skype do not. When using mobile apps for mental health, read the privacy policies. Red flags include disclosing or selling your information to a third party and using it for advertising purposes. 

Which apps might elderly people benefit from the most? 

Due to the rapid evolution of the market, it can be difficult to navigate the explosion of mental health apps for online treatment. Starting points for teletherapy services are Teladoc, K Health, and Doctor on Demand.
Wellness apps developed by the federal government (including Mindfulness Coach, COVID Coach, and CBT-i Coach) can assist in teaching skills, regulating sleep, and tracking symptoms to augment treatment of common mental diseases. For a reason, Medisafe is the most popular app for medication reminders: it provides superior privacy protection (and with the premium subscription, you can receive medication reminders in celebrity voices).

Movement and mental health 

We know that physical activity has various positive effects on brain health in old age, including the reduction of anxiety and stress, improvement of depressive symptoms, and enhancement of learning and memory. Wearable devices can assist older people in establishing physical activity objectives. Through the use of smartwatches (which utilise accelerometers to track movement), older people can track the number of steps they take, the number of calories they burn, and even the quality of their sleep.
Additionally, wearable technology offers advantages for carers. They can be used to monitor their loved ones for wandering and falls, as well as mood changes; a substantial rise or reduction in normal activity levels may indicate the onset of despair or anxiety.

Can smartphones be used to boost older persons' memory?

New research indicates that technology can truly enhance prospective memory and assist older people with minor cognitive impairment to continue with their everyday tasks. Through the use of a personal assistant programme on their smartphone (a digital voice recorder or reminder app), older people who got reminders about upcoming events and activities saw improvements in their memory and their ability to perform everyday tasks.

Tips for Using Technology for Older People 

While research is still being done on the pros and cons of using technology, you can try the following:

Encourage older folks to check out research-based applications, especially if they exhibit an interest. When using a mobile health application, be sure to read the privacy statement. Ensure that an online mental health platform is HIPAA-compliant before using it. Try to establish physical activity objectives, as physical activity improves symptoms of nearly every mental disorder. Wearable technology that tracks steps is an excellent starting point. Change the settings of the device to make it more comfortable. For example, you can change the volume and font size to make it easier to see or hear.

It is acceptable if your loved one does not benefit from mental health technology; technology is not always the solution. Treatments are more likely to work if patients believe they will help and can stick to them.

No content on this site, regardless of date, should be used to replace direct medical advice from your doctor or another trained practitioner.
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