(BPT) - Technology can do so much, but perhaps one of its most exciting qualities for everyday living is its capacity for convenience - especially when it comes to healthcare. Patients can see a specialist who lives hundreds of miles away or attend an appointment without leaving home, and providers can monitor patients' health remotely.
Prior to the pandemic, though, many older individuals who might benefit from these technological advancements hadn't given them a try. During the pandemic, as providers adopted remote technologies to safely provide appointments, patients enjoyed new opportunities to try telehealth and other digital offerings.
Ultimately, many found that they liked the access and opportunities technology could provide. Telehealth visits increased 63-fold and older adults are now eager to incorporate technology into their lives, buying more smartphones, wearable technologies, home assistant technology and tablets. More importantly, they are in fact using them - 69% of those 70-plus said they use their tablets daily.
As older adults are diving into all that technology can offer, here are some digital benefits available to AARP members that make it easier to focus on health and well-being.
Check your hearing.
Has it been awhile since your last hearing test? You're not alone. Only 23% of older adults reported having a hearing test by a healthcare professional in the past two years. Taking this simple test now helps avoid issues down the road, including worsening cognition, reduced quality of life and loss of independence. Fortunately, the AARP® Hearing Care Program provided by HearUSA makes it easier than ever to get tested. The program offers a free online hearing test, and if results show that your hearing could use a boost, AARP members can access 20% off the retail price of hearing aids, a free fitting, a free demonstration of the latest hearing aid technology and more.
Schedule eye exams and access online discounts.
Vison problems and eye disease become more prevalent with age, but most eye conditions can be treated if found early, making it important to see an eye care professional regularly. AARP members have vision care options that make it easy to schedule a comprehensive eye exam online.
Additionally, with AARP® Vision Discounts provided by EyeMed, members and their families receive exclusive discounts at participating retailers and independent provider locations nationwide, as well as online. They can save 50% on prescription lenses with the purchase of a frame at LensCrafters, 30% on a complete pair of glasses (frames and lenses) at Glasses.com, and an additional $10 on a complete pair at Target Optical.
Screens are sometimes associated with more sedentary habits, but they can be great motivators. Online fitness offerings have surged during the pandemic, which is great news, since physical fitness can improve memory and brain function, prevent chronic disease, lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety and depression, and more. Classes can be taken live or accessed on-demand, and include everything from yoga, spinning and strength, to workouts on the go. Some classes are completely free, while others can be enjoyed for zero dollars out of pocket as a benefit in your health plan.
See your provider.
Even if you're feeling well, it's important to maintain regular visits with your primary care provider to ensure everything is in working order. Now, though, you can keep those appointments even while traveling, as many primary care providers continue to offer telehealth services.
Oak Street Health, a quality primary care provider for Medicare-eligible individuals with more than 130 centers across 20 states, offers phone and video visits, so you can get the care and support you need when and where you need it. This makes staying on top of your healthcare easy when it comes to travel, inclement weather or transportation challenges.
Manage your prescriptions.
With technology, what once took days can be accessed in mere seconds, such as a free prescription discount card from AARP® Prescription Discounts provided by OptumRx®. Anyone with an internet connection can download the card to save on FDA-approved medications in over 66,000 pharmacies nationwide, and AARP members can unlock deeper discounts and benefits such as home delivery, coverage for dependents and more. Setting up prescription delivery online is quick, easy and shortens your to-do list. The site also allows users to compare prescription prices across various pharmacy locations.
Socializing not only staves off feelings of loneliness, but it also helps sharpen memory and cognitive skills and may even help you live longer. With video chats, we can connect with friends and family whenever we'd like from anywhere in the world, and GrandPad Powered by Consumer Cellular makes it easier than ever. GrandPad's essential apps enable video chats, photo sharing, emails and access to the news, and AARP members save 5% on a monthly subscription, which includes unlimited service on a secure, private network.
While there are many factors to consider when it comes to staying healthy and maintaining good habits, especially as we age, technology can help make it a little easier and a lot more fun. To help guide you through any issues as you get comfortable tapping into technology, Norton Ultimate Help Desk offers everything from first-time setup to ongoing maintenance and as-needed troubleshooting for computers, laptops and mobile devices. AARP members save up to 15% on either one-time help or an ongoing subscription.
To learn more about accessing online benefits, visit https://www.aarp.org/benefits-discounts/.
AARP member benefits are provided by third parties, not by AARP or its affiliates. Providers pay a royalty fee to AARP for the use of its intellectual property. These fees are used for the general purposes of AARP. Some provider offers are subject to change and may have restrictions. Please contact the provider directly for details. AARP nor its affiliates is the insurer.