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Try something new this year

Try something new this year

by Sharon Simpson


As we enter the New Year, people all around us are setting goals and aspiring to do new things. What should an elderly senior do in this time of reflection and renewal? How about set some goals to try something new or do something different? I’ll never forget when my 94-year-old friend told me that she was going to fly to California in the New Year to meet her first great-great-grandchild. She laughed when she told me that the insurance alone was going to be almost $1000 per day. She was going to stay for three days and her daughter was flying with her.

What was new for her? Her new little great-great-grandson, for one! Spending money in a way that felt reckless for two! The third was getting on an airplane again after a long hiatus from traveling due to her declining health. She was giddy with excitement as she talked about her upcoming plans. It was likely that she was going to need to address all sorts of “new” problems on her trip. With her declining health, walking through the airport was out of the question. She would have to try a new way – asking the airport shuttle to drive her from A to B or be pushed in a wheelchair. She told me that she worried about finding the bathrooms, so she decided to try those new incontinence underwear. She didn’t like it, but it was going to bring her some peace of mind. She paid for her daughter to travel along. This was the best decision for both of them as they enjoyed each other’s company. All in all, each new decision brought her closer to the excitement of traveling again and seeing the next generation of people in her family.

Travel may be out of the question for you, but what is possible in this next year for you? Can you think of one new thing that you would like to do to bring some anticipation, peace, excitement and even challenge into your life this year?

Here are a five technology ideas for you to consider as you think about doing something new in this New Year.


What about reading through the whole Bible?
(Bible in a Year app, Alpha) Yes, this is a challenging endeavour. I have struggled for most of my life to stay on a reading plan, to not get bored and to find the inspiration that connects to my daily life. Last year was the first time I even got close to making it through the whole Bible. How did I do it? I let someone else read the Bible to me! Each day, I opened the Bible in a Year app on my phone (or tablet) and had Nicky Gumble from Alpha read a section of the Psalms or Proverbs; the Old Testament and the New Testament. With each section, he had some thoughts that I found were good reminders about how God intersects with my life. Each day, his wife, Pippa had a short and often humorous final thought. It was well worth listening to the very end!


How about keeping your brain active?
(Lumosity app) Exercising your brain is an important part of keeping yourself sharp and keeping your brain working at capacity. The Lumosity app is one you play on your tablet. It remembers you from session to session and personalizes the games for you to play in order to grow stronger in memory, math and flexibility of thinking. For $60/year, it’s a great new way to stay brain-active!


What about putting a video camera into your home? (Wyse wi-fi camera) On Amazon, you can purchase a Wyse 1080p video camera for only $30. It mounts to your wall and provides high-definition video, even in the dark. On top of that, it has a 2-way audio, so if you fall, you can call out and alert your family through an app on their phone. This camera needs a wi-fi network and comes with an app. This is a game-changer for your peace of mind and connection with your loved ones. There’s more. This little camera can be mounted magnetically, has a motion detector and can detect carbon monoxide and smoke! At this price, you can put a few in your home!


Feel like a new person – go for walks again.
(Telus GPS tracker) Have you been afraid to go walking in case you fall? Falling once can knock the wind out of you and shake your confidence. Walking with a Telus Living Well Companion Go is another story – this little gadget is a GPS tracker with 2-way audio. If you need additional support, use a walker and head out on your walks once again! You’ll feel like a new person!

It’s a new year – will you write your story?
(MemLife app) The MemLife app is a special app that you can use on your phone or tablet. It allows you to dictate your story rather than type your story. It’s a collection of short stories that you can divide into sections, share privately or make public. You can add photos and have a book printed when you are finished, all or part of, the memory making.


What will the New Year bring for you? None of us know the future. All of us have fears and hopes, no matter our age. Some are more discouraged by life, health and circumstances. Others are determined to make this year another memorable and important year in their life. What will you do this year to try something new? Perhaps this is the year that you decide to spend some money to do something that will make your heart as full as you ever dreamed – it could be taking a trip, but it might be just as significant to buy yourself a tablet and open up your world without even leaving your home!

Sharon Simpson is the Director of communications and Stakeholder Engagement at Menno Home in Abbotsford, BC.