Smart Watch Features That May Help Improve Seniors Health

Jory Cross by Jory Cross | Licensed since 2012
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This article was updated on: 09/15/2018

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If you’re a senior considering buying a smart watch, you might be interested in the health and safety benefits it might provide. According to the NPD Group, a market research company, only about 5% of smart watch owners are 55+ but this doesn’t mean that smart watches can’t benefit seniors.

How much a smart watch helps improve your health probably has more to do with the apps you install on it and how you use them rather than the features of the smart health watch itself. Below are some smart watch app categories that could help keep you healthy into your later years.

Smart watch feature: emergency calls

Some smart watches may be able to place emergency calls to police, medical, or fire for you. The smart watch may even send your GPS coordinates and current location to emergency responders. An easy way to make an emergency call may be particularly useful in the case of a fall, which is common for seniors. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the number one cause of injuries and deaths from injury among older Americans. A smart watch may be a literal lifesaver for a senior who has fallen and can’t reach a telephone.

Smart watch feature: medication reminder

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) almost 50% of Americans take at least one prescription drug. If you take one or more prescription drugs, you may occasionally forget a scheduled dose. A smart watch medication reminder and pill tracker might help. The smart watch can remind you which prescription drug to take and when. The smart watch may also help you track refills and provide refill reminders.

Smart watch feature: calorie counter smart watch app

You may have to make an effort to avoid weight gain as you age. According to nutrition.gov, a person can lose weight by eating fewer calories and by burning more calories with physical activity. A person on a weight loss program might involve calories, portions, and nutrition. A smart health watch app might help you keep track of all these things.

According to health.gov, the total calories a person needs per day depends on a variety of factors including their age, sex, height, weight, and level of physical activity. Also according to health.gov, caloric needs peak at 19-20 and decrease with age. Adult women age 61 and up are estimated to need 1,600 calories per day and adult men age 61 and up estimated to need 2,000 calories per day. A calorie counter app on your smart watch may be able to help you consume a healthy number of calories, which is generally less than a healthy number for a younger person. The smart watch app may let you enter foods for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks and then calculate the caloric values for you. The calorie counter may also track your exercise and calories burned and let you know how many calories you have left to burn to meet your goals for the day.

Smart watch feature: meal planner smart watch app

A smart watch meal planner may help you consider the nutritional aspects of the food you eat. Nutrition may become harder as you age and may have less ability to cook. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a healthy eating plan may lower your risk for heart disease and other health conditions. NIH defines a healthy eating plan as one that emphasizes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products. A healthy eating plan can also include lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts but limits saturated and trans fats, salt, and added sugars. Lastly, a healthy eating plan controls portion sizes.

A smart watch meal planner app may create a personalized meal plan for you based on your preferences. It might include pictures of meals and instructions on how to cook them. It also might generate a weekly shopping list for you.

Smart watch feature: water drinking tracker smart watch app

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), water helps keep your temperature normal, lubricate and cushion your joints, protect your spinal cord and other sensitive tissues, and eliminate bodily wastes. Water can also prevent dehydration and help manage calorie intake. Daily fluid intake recommendations vary by age, sex, pregnancy, and breastfeeding status, according to the CDC.

If you forget to drink enough water, a smart watch app can remind you. It can also track how much water you’ve drunk throughout the day.

Smart watch feature: workout coach smart watch app

According to health.gov, adults who are physically active are healthier and less likely to develop many chronic diseases than adults who are inactive. Active adults also have a healthier body size and composition. The benefits of physical activity begin to be noticed when adults perform at least 2 and a half hours of moderate intensity aerobic physical activity each week. The benefits increase with even more physical activity, according to health.gov. The National Institute of Health says that exercise is good for everyone, including older adults. However, you should always check with your doctor before starting any exercise program.

A smart watch app can act as a personal workout coach, but it’s no substitute for a doctor. The app can specify an action, for example “mountain climbers” or lunges, and count down how long you do them for, say 60 seconds. The app can switch to the next move, timing you for sit-ups or leg raises. Some apps may even calculate how many calories you burned during your workout.

Smart watch feature: pedometer smart watch app

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), walking is easy and has a low risk of injury. It’s also a relatively low-cost activity that requires no special facilities or equipment and it’s a way to get active if you’ve been inactive. Walking at a brisk pace may also lower your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Walking can strengthen your bones and muscles and help you burn more calories, according to the NIH.

Many smart watches function as pedometers, or step counters. A pedometer on your smart watch may tell you how many steps or miles you’ve walked in a day or a week. You can set a goal for yourself and your smart watch can tell you how close you are to your daily goal. Some smart health watch apps even let you compete against family and friends for most steps, making walking a social activity even if you walk alone.

Again, it’s very important that you don’t try to substitute a smart watch for a doctor. You should always consult your doctor before starting an exercise or nutrition program, or managing your prescription drugs.

This list of smart watch health apps is not exhaustive. I’m happy to talk to you more about smart watches and your health or a Medicare plan that is right for you.

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