Business Columns & Blogs

Investor’s column: Thanks to technology, aging isn’t what it used to be

With each passing year, the ability to grow older gracefully — and healthfully — is becoming easier.

Technology is trying to keep up with the Baby Boomers, now reaching 65, who are refusing to slow down. They continue working, traveling and living longer than ever before, making the golden years ever more golden.

They are also more likely to enjoy better health and have more education and higher income than their parents.

They expect to live well as they age. Their zest for life continues, even with some aches and pains.

Recent technological advances are abundant on their traveled road. Automobiles now have blind-spot and lane detections, the ability to see behind the car, and safety measures that activate themselves. We are even getting cars that drive themselves.

Ride-hailing services, such as Uber and Lyft, give transportation to anyone who does not have that option.

People can work remotely by taking their laptop with them to most anywhere on the globe — or by staying home. Conference calls, office reports and meetings can be handled through SKYPE and other types of technology.

Similarly, being confined to a brick-and-mortar school for continuing education is being replaced by online courses. The internet can be used for research, information and education.

Students can do their homework, send it in, make power-point presentations and give reports from home. They can even earn a degree. Being sick may not be an excuse anymore.

Jim Zientara.jpg
Jim Zientara is a financial planner with Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., in Lakewood Ranch.

Thanks to “smart” technology such as Bluetooth and GPS, many families have been able to delay or avoid the tough decision to move a loved one out of their home and into a retirement living facility.

As more seniors opt to age-in-place in their homes, there are many in-home trends that could help.

Home monitoring systems consist of bracelets, watches, necklaces and other devices that can track activity, heart beats, falls and other health-related problems. Sensors can send your information to your medical team immediately.

Automatic pill devices can signal when it is time to take medication, can dispense the correct dosage, and even send a message to your medical provider to assure your medication is being properly dosed.

Your home alarm system might have cameras, smoke and heat detectors, and two-way audio responses to aid you in avoiding a problem or getting help when there is a problem.

The new area of telemedicine makes healthcare more accessible now that a video conference with a doctor for non-emergency issues does not require an office visit.

The doctor can talk to you, order a prescription and have the pharmacy deliver it.

It may seem invasive to have a tracking device, camera or other technology watch you, but people say the benefits far outweigh any drawbacks.

Ironically, as people age, they may have a tendency to keep to themselves, especially if they have lost a friend or loved one, or are experiencing health problems.

Even living away from children and grandchildren does not mean a loss of contact. Programs such as SKYPE, email, texting and Facetime offer personal contact.

Thankfully, connectivity is all around us; we just have to choose what’s right for us.

For the future, technology will keep pushing the boundaries associated with aging.

Get your sunglasses ready. The future looks bright, indeed.

Jim Zientara is a financial planner with Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC. His website is jimzientara.com and he can be reached at 941-750-6818. His office is at 11009 Gatewood Drive, Suite 101, in Lakewood Ranch.

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