Regina is hosting a national conference on technology and aging, shattering the stereotype that technology is only for young people.
Age-Well is a conference that brings together researchers, nonprofits, care providers, the public and more to focus on solutions and innovations that support an aging population.
Jennifer Campos, Age-Well’s deputy scientific director, said technological advances are often geared towards younger generations, but new technologies may also benefit older people.
“We sometimes harm older people without realizing that they are very open to technology,” she said. “Older adults have a lot of tech literacy, and they want to know more.”
The session is an opportunity for developers to showcase their innovations and potential users to present ideas and provide feedback on usability or possible uses.
Some attendees said they could never have imagined the progress they were seeing.
“If you’re lucky, there’s a phone with a dial on the wall,” says Shirley Baker. “we do not know.”
“Things escalated too quickly,” Oliver Brighton said. “It’s amazing.”
“Technology has evolved so quickly that it’s almost too difficult,” Philip Davis said. “If they do it right, it’s easier to use.”
Virtual reality, simulators or social robots like “Mindy” are shown at the conference. When they don’t know what to say, they can play games or listen to music, or help grandchildren have conversations with grandparents.
“She really helps attract older people because it’s not just the tablet itself,” said Lee St. James, president and founder of Social Robots. “It’s almost a physical form factor like visiting grandchildren.”
Noelannah Neubauer is a researcher at the University of Waterloo. She created a website that enables people with dementia to live more flexible, independent lives while keeping them safe.
“It really promotes the use of prevention strategies,” she said. “Is it a GPS device or just an identification tag? But what’s the difference [you] It can now be implemented before you get lost so you can continue to get out there in the community and do what you love. But if you do get lost, you will be found. “
Neubauer’s interactive website assesses an individual’s risk level and provides them with strategies to ensure safe wandering.
“Technology is the way we can stay at home in the community,” she said. “It’s not high tech. Safe roaming is about putting these tools in a tool belt so they can get on with their lives.”
For Brighton, the possibilities for the future are endless.
“Everything you want can happen. It’s a good thing,” she said. “A lot of people say, ‘It came too soon,’ but that happens when you get older.”
Baker believes that older adults are hesitant to learn new things.
“They were afraid they were going to break it,” she said. “When they’re scared, they don’t touch it. It’s a big problem.”
Davis offers some advice for seniors who are afraid of embracing new technology, noting that older age groups often don’t want to spend time on gadgets and instead want to accomplish what technology can do for them.
“It’s like a ‘T’ Ford mechanic looking at a brand new car. Everyone should accept that you need help to go often. There may only be one or two simple things that stop you from using it effectively,” he said. .
“We didn’t know what we needed until we understood it,” Brighton said.
The conference will be held Tuesday through Thursday at the Delta Hotel.