In the digital age, more older Americans are hopping on the technology bandwagon. Technology has reshaped the way we live and, in many cases, has made our lives easier. The same is true for retirement.
According to AARP Research, 92% and 70% of older Americans have a computer and smartphone, respectively, while only 13% and 7% have a wearable device and virtual home assistant, respectively. As technology continues to advance, more retirees will likely add a wearable device or virtual home assistant to their collection of gadgets.
Technology gives you the ability to check in with family and friends virtually, control your home’s appliances, manage your retirement fund, and monitor your health, all of which can be very useful in retirement. You can do all of these from either a computer, smartphone, or wearable device.
Virtually checking in
Most retirees include travel on their retirement bucket list. While traveling, you may spend extended periods of time away from your loved ones. Tech such as Facetime and Skype on smartphones and laptops are a great way to stay in touch from a long distance. If you don’t live very close to your kids and grandkids, virtual check-in calls are perfect for visiting with them too.
Telemedicine is another way technology has improved retirees’ lives. With virtual check-in apps, you can connect with your primary care physician remotely. Leaving the house is the last thing you want to do when you’re sick, but now you don’t have to thanks to telemedicine.
Controlling your home
With today’s technology, any home can become a smart home. Smart homes usually include smart thermostats, garages that connect to WiFi, cameras on doorbells, and voice-controlled lights. There are many benefits to having a smart home in retirement.
With a smart thermostat, you can create a schedule and have it adjust according to your settings automatically. Having a thermostat with this capability can potentially save on energy costs. Another energy-efficient smart home feature is voice-controlled lights. If you have an Alexa or Google Home, you can turn all of your lights on and off by speaking to your home assistant. These lights usually have a dimming option as well.
Unfortunately, retirees are a common target among thieves and scammers. Having a garage that connects to WiFi and a doorbell with a camera attached that you could control from your smartphone adds a level of security to your home like none other. If your garage comes with a smartphone app, you will likely be able to set up garage deliveries with companies like Amazon. Instead of leaving your shipments on your front doorstep, you can open your garage remotely so the delivery driver can drop them off inside your garage.
Managing your nest egg
There is what seems like an endless number of ways to manage your retirement fund via technology. From smartphone apps to online services and calculators, there will be a way that’s right for you. Apps such as Mint, Acorns, Vanguard Retirement Nest Egg Calculator, and Personal Capital are all top apps for planning and managing your retirement finances. With a smartphone app geared towards retirement finances, you will be able to better track your spending, so you don’t drain your savings.
Monitoring your health
In addition to telemedicine, wearable medical devices and apps are two more health-related ways technology can be useful in retirement. Apps that allow you to track your health and set medication reminders are like having your own at-home caregiver. For example, with the MediSafe app, you can add your medications along with each dosage and set a reminder for when to take your next dose.
Wearable devices such as arm cuffs and smartwatches are both useful to you and your care team. These devices can track essential numbers, such as blood pressure, heart rate, and more. Also, if you live at home alone in retirement, a wearable device could automatically contact 911 in case of a fall or injury.
Many retirees have said that they fill their freed-up time with learning something new. Retirement is the perfect part of life to learn all those things that you never got around to learning when you had a 9-5 job. Technology brings the education right to your home. You can learn how to do nearly anything straight from your home computer.
Attend a webinar on investing or take online classes to learn a new language. Continuous learning has also been proven to help with memory retention and improving other cognitive functions.
If technology isn’t your thing, it can seem intimidating at first. Try out several apps, websites, and devices before committing to one. Once you have chosen your favorites, you’ll see how useful they can be in retirement.