An introduction to smart devices for people over 65.
Phone technology has significantly evolved, making something available for everyone. However, these devices have traditionally been targeted at a young, tech-savvy audience looking for the next trend. But an older generation of users would also benefit from the same technology, for both practical and entertainment uses.
And that perspective is shifting further, with technology companies realizing that seniors could benefit from smartphones. Understandably the needs of senior users differ from those of their younger counterparts. But there are many opportunities to make a difference for the group.
Recent research and studies confirm older people are embracing technology. For example, smartphone use among consumers over 75 years old has been rising steadily in recent years. Specifically, smartphone use has risen from 8% in 2015 and 15% in 2016 to 18% in 2017.
Confidence in using a smartphone is likely to encourage older people to try out a smartwatch or activity tracker. So, they’re no longer intended for athletes or the fashion-conscious.
The smartwatch is becoming increasingly popular and can offer the wearer multiple benefits and flexibility. But, for the older person, a smartwatch can seem daunting with its small screen, fiddly buttons, and a complicated setup process when pairing with a phone. We’ve put together this guide to help you navigate the smartwatch market.
What to look for in Smartwatches for seniors
It appears that smartwatches available in the market today for older people can be classified into one of two types:
- A smartwatch focusing on health monitoring and location tracking.
- A smartwatch using these features, plus built-in apps and cellular functionality.
How do you know which smartwatch features are the best ones for you?
There are a few key elements to consider when choosing a wearable:
- If you have a smartphone ensure the smartwatch is compatible with your handset’s operating system. For example, an Apple Watch will only work with an iPhone.
- If the health aspects excite you, ensure your model has ECG, a heart rate sensor and oxigen saturation monitoring.
- If you want to have Incident detection and SOS then look for that feature which could be important for the elderly.
- Battery life is important. With many devices that need charging it can be difficult easy to forget so a quality battery life is vital. This feature is important if the smartwatch is being used for safety when away from the home.
- Try out the band and clasp to check that you can use it. It’s worth looking for a watch where you can switch bands as you like.
- Explore what apps are available to use with the smartwatch
- Is the preference for a button or a touch screen interface?
When is it advisable for seniors to use a smartwatch?
A smartwatch for an older person is a good idea when a smartwatch affords peace of mind to the individual. Devices can double up as a panic button, and pendant alarms are available for the same purpose, but a Smartwatch is easier to remember to wear.
More recent smartwatches like the Apple Watch Series 6 have fall detection. This is a sensor that alerts the emergency contact if no movement in the wearer is detected over a minute after falling.
Health monitoring is a popular smartwatch feature. Also, it’s an area of continuous improvement so senior wearers can continually update their fitness data. Health monitoring options offer interactive, easy-to-use features to track progress and general health.
Like a smartphone, a smartwatch can be programmed with reminders for important events, like doctors’ appointments or medication reminders. For people with dementia, a smartwatch is a useful memory aid to stay on track, of simple data, like the day and year.
Smartwatches for seniors
Apple Watch series 6, 7 and SE
A popular smartwatch for any age is the Apple Watch. Although costly, Apple Series 7, Series 6, and SE have plenty of features to help the elderly. In terms of your budget, the SE costs less, the 6 costs more, and the Series 7 as the most expensive rings in around $500 USD.
Thanks to WatchOS, there is a wide range of health apps available for each Apple watch. These include high/low/irregular heart rate notifications, SOS emergency calling, and water resistance.
The later two Apple watches, the SE and 7, both also offer fall detection and emergency international calling.
All three Apple watches have both a touch and button interface — a digital crown and button on the side — plus two different screen sizes, and a comfortable band with a buckle clasp.
The Series 7 also boasts an “always-on display” feature, giving quick access to key information. Also, you can choose to have the GPS or GPS+cellular version. The latter negates the need to have an iPhone close by.
Samsung Galaxy Watch
If it’s the speed and style you’re looking for in a smartwatch, the Samsung Galaxy has it all. Like its Apply competitor, Samsung offers several versions: the Galaxy Watch4, the Watch Active 2, or the Galaxy Fit2. If you’re looking for the most features and a brighter display, then you’ll prefer the Watch 4 or Watch Active 2.
For more fitness tracking features, better music capabilities, and an overall better display for older eyes, those two from Samsung are still your best bet. While the Galaxy Fit 2 is a great fitness tracker, seniors might find it doesn’t exactly meet their needs.
|Galaxy Watch 4||Amazon||Check Price|
|Galaxy Watch 4||eBay||Check Price|
|Watch 4 Classic||eBay||Check Price|
|Galaxy Watch 4||Target||Check Price|
A smartwatch from a smartphone giant such as Samsung can mean that a lot is going on with this device. But that doesn’t mean it’s a poor option for older people, especially if the user knows the technology and is open to high-end wearable tech.
The only drawback at the moment is the lack of support for iPhones. If you’re an android user then the Samsung Watch 4 is a great choice.
The Garmin Lily is a great watch from Garmin that could be perfect for seniors and especially appealing for women. The main reasons for our choice as a top contender are its simplicity, cost and performance, and the incident detection/SOS features it offers. This combination makes it a great choice for seniors.
Tap your watch face three times and notify your emergency contacts that you need assistance. You must be within your phone’s range for it to work, but this feature could still be a lifesaver. The Lily will also detect if you’ve fallen and start the emergency notification process.
It’s a simple watch and doesn’t have complicated features to mess around with. For a price tag of less than $200, it’s a great smartwatch to have.
Fitbit has released its most holistic offering yet. The Fitbit Sense comes with robust health, fitness, and stress monitoring and management features that set it apart from other Fitbit models.
It features heart rate monitoring, sleep scores, ECG, and EDA. Additionally, there’s a built-in GPS, too. Fitbit is also studying blood pressure monitoring for the Sense.
Some say it rivals the likes of the smartwatch favorite, the Apple Watch.
Compare prices and choose your favorite supplier from this list:
|Fitbit Sense||Amazon||View offer|
|Fitbit Sense||eBay||View offer|
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|Fitbit Sense||Target||View offer|
Fitbit Versa 3
The Versa 3 offers many of the same health-tracking features as the Sense, but comes in at a lower price. However, at this price, you’ll get a slightly smaller case than on the Sense but the screen size is the same.
Both Fitbit models can monitor heart rate with the brand’s signature Pulse 2.0 sensor, read body temperature, and can track your steps or sleep. Fitbit is a reliable brand in smartwatches and fitness trackers, no matter the model you choose. Your Fitbit choice will usually come down to your budget, and how active of a senior you are.
Ndur Smart Watch
Ndur is a relative newcomer in the smartwatch industry, but its focus on health and fitness has brought it to a sweet spot in our review here. The main current advantage is tracking your blood pressure on top of all the other standard health tracking features. This isn’t to be mistaken for a medical device, but it can be a good addition to a list of other standard features and benefits in need for seniors.
It is a good-looking watch and could compete with much more expensive brands in terms of bang for the buck it offers. All in all, it’s well worth a look.
While it’s a bit of a stretch to call this a smartwatch, it’s still worth a mention. For one, there’s no output screen.
Rather, it connects directly to your smartphone to notify you of your daily step count and provides some valuable tips. However, its primary purpose is not to act like a smartwatch.
The Lively Wearable2 is a mobile medical alert that gives the wearer a faster way to connect with help. One press of the device, and you’re connected through the Lively App to an Urgent Response Agent. Furthermore, if worn with the Fall Detection Lanyard, it will also contact assistance if the wearer falls.
It also has four months of battery life before recharging is needed and is waterproof to be worn in the shower. Available on eBay or Amazon below.
HandsFree Health Smart Watch
The HandsFree Health Smart Watch has a standard smartwatch design. Still, it’s packed with features such as 2-way 4G SOS communication with 24/7 support, GPS tracking, voice commands to get weather updates, seek medical advice, and set medication reminders. Furthermore, it has a built-in heart rate monitor and step-tracker. The HandsFree Health Smartwatch is available on eBay or Amazon.
Final thoughts on smartwatches for seniors
It’s clear that the smartwatch market for the elderly is growing, with the primary focus being safety. However, there’s no reason why older people can’t make good use of smartwatches marketed to a younger age group.
Many older people now understand the benefits and importance of smartwatches in tracking their overall health, including blood pressure and body temperature. Read more on why this is important.
The cost will be a factor for many older people when choosing a smartwatch. There are many low-cost alternatives on the market today that work well.
In the end, one can’t really put a price tag on health, and if a smartwatch could actually help to improve your health — the benefit is priceless.
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Last Updated on January 24, 2022
Emma brings over a decade of freelance copy and content writing experience and is our Editor, Social Media Manager, and regular contributor. Specializing in long-form content such as blogs, articles, lead magnets, and white papers, Emma also provides businesses with email marketing, website copy, and landing pages.