In 1998, Seiko introduced the world’s first smartwatch, called the Ruputer. Button-operated. The watch could play games, look at contact information and update a to-do list as well as tell time. Smartwatches have come a long way since then.
Besides telling time, today’s smartwatches have a vast number of functions that track a variety of things:
- Steps taken
- Stairs climbed
- Calories burned
- Location tracker
- Blood pressure
- Heart rhythms via an electrocardiogram (ECG) app
- Fall detection
Smartwatches can remind a wearer of important events like physician appointments, provide a 24-hr. connection to a live operator, enable a user to make phone calls and receive voice mail messages.
A major advantage of a smartwatch over a smartphone is that the user is wearing it and not walking away from it.
With all these functions, the answer to the question of whether or not it is a good gift for a senior, comes down to what does the senior need or want from a smartwatch?
Statistics show 70 percent of seniors are now online and using technology. However, according to Forbes: “While they may be purchasing laptops, smartphones and tablets and all of the possibilities they intend, many older adults say they still don’t feel confident about using them.”
If that is the case with your senior it might be wise to consider a smartwatch with a simple interface, good technical support, with easy-to-understand instructions. Too many options can confuse and frustrate a senior who just wants to know his or her heart rate or number of steps.
Find out what applications are available with the smartwatch and which ones your senior will actually use. Seniors might also be particularly interested in the health care options of some smartwatches, such as the ECG app and blood pressure monitoring capabilities that may assist them and their physician in monitoring their health.
Larger touchscreens are advisable to allow for older fingers and eyes to operate. Battery life is important as well, it’s easy to forget to charge our devices, make sure your choice of smartwatch can stay charged for a full day or two. Other considerations may include what fitness tracking capabilities are needed or wanted by the senior.
Ask your senior if fall detection, the ability to use the smartwatch as a phone, or the GPS capability would be something they would be willing to add for your own peace of mind.
Make sure the smartwatch is compatible with your handset’s operating system. For example: an Apple Watch will only work with an iPhone.
Pricing is also a consideration. Though you can buy a smartwatch for $50, most good smartwatches with several advanced features can be purchased between $200 and $350. The Apple Watch Series 6 is around $400 to $500.
What Are Some Smartwatch Options?
Here are a few of the top-rated smartwatches and some of the features they include:
Apple Watch Series 6
Among its many features, this smartwatch can provide the following capabilities:
- Measures blood oxygen levels
- ECG app available
- Sleep app tracks sleep trends
- Fall detection
- The ability to monitor several types of workout modes
Note: This smartwatch has a short battery life of 18 hours.
Samsung Galaxy Watch3
- Large display
- Comprehensive health tracking
- Includes heart, sleep, and fall detection
Garmin Instinct Solar
- Uses solar energy for extended battery life
- Tracks activity levels
You can find much more information about these watches and other models at techradar.
Superwatches provides advice when purchasing a smartwatch for a senior adult, as well as reviewing some additional models.
Find Out What Your Senior Wants
Your senior may find the amount of information and the technology a bit intimidating, so prepare yourself for questions about how smartwatches work, and the benefits of wearing one.
Listen to your senior talk about what features he or she would (and would not) be interested in. No wearable technology like a smartwatch is of any good if it is not used.
Find more senior-friendly technology recommendations and gift ideas on our blog.