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4 healthy ways to use technology to your benefit

September 11, 2014

If you fire off texts to your loved ones and update your Facebook profile regularly, you may have an advantage over your peers. According to research from Wichita State University, older adults who use technology to stay connected typically feel less isolated and lonely than those who don't. In addition to social benefits, technology can provide many other perks that make for a healthy lifestyle for seniors.

"Social media, the computer and the Internet allow people to interact more and acquire information that they need, which they might not have access to if they do not grasp the knowledge," said Rui Ni, assistant professor of psychology.

Take some of these tips for increasing your knowledge of technology and using it to benefit your health:

1. Sign up for helpful alerts

By now, many understand the importance of a well-balanced diet. But it can be difficult to remember exactly how many servings of each food group should be included in your daily meals. Research published in the journal Health Promotion Practice studied 246 participants' knowledge of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's dietary recommendations. Those who received a daily text message with a healthy tip performed better on the test at the end of the study. For those who wish to have healthy updates in the palm of their hands, there are plenty of helpful mobile applications available. Try downloading apps from AARP and Arthritis Today for senior health news and updates that could help you stay in the know.

2. Research health concerns

The Internet is full of information regarding your health - some site that are credible and others that aren't worth your time. If you have a general question about your health and it's not a high priority concern, try researching home remedies for your symptoms on trusted sites devoted to health information, such as the Mayo Clinic or the American Heart Association. You may be able to discover helpful treatments you would have otherwise never known. Business Insider noted that there's a trend among people visiting sites to help gain more information about health concerns or certain medications. While urgent health concerns should be addressed with a physician, seeking information elsewhere could be empowering and more convenient for symptoms of lesser severity.

3. Invest in an activity tracker

Pedometers can help encourage people to stay active, as they track steps, distance and other key measurements of physical activity, and there are many mobile applications equipped with the same functionality. Apps that record steps and calories can be useful for anyone looking to make their health more of a priority, but it can be even more beneficial for older adults who find it difficult to get an accurate read of their activity. Those who may typically rely on assistance from nurses at their memory care community can enjoy the feeling of independence that is associated with having an app rather than an individual track their progress. According to, the Mayo Clinic is partnering with Apple to create even more health-related technology services, so there's sure to be an app that you find works well with your lifestyle.

4. Connect with others

Staying connected to your friends and family can prevent feelings of isolation and help improve your mental and physical health. If you're not networking online already, it may be a good idea to look into creating profiles on social media sites to keep in touch with your loved ones. Additionally, Business Insider noted that many healthcare professionals are starting to use technology to reach their patients. Hospitals especially are beginning to implement social media into their methods of communication to generate awareness of their campaigns, and some even have the capability to allow patients to interact with medical professionals.