Smart watches, like this Samsung Galaxy Watch3, have valuable safety features that can help you as you age. (Jennifer Bardsley)

Smart watches, like this Samsung Galaxy Watch3, have valuable safety features that can help you as you age. (Jennifer Bardsley)

Embracing new technology that gives security and independence

It’s important to adapt to wearing a smart watch, for example, while your brain is healthy enough to figure it out.

It’s been a while since I shared how my recovery has been after my episode of transient global amnesia on April 2, which sent me to the hospital and temporarily made me lose three months of memories for 24 hours.

April and the first half of May were rough. I recovered nearly all of my memories but I couldn’t multitask, I missed important emails and, worst of all, I developed a stutter. I felt like I was a balloon bopping along the sidewalk in the wind. But now I’m 100% better. My stutter is gone, and I’m back to my normal turbo-mode.

There is still a small risk that I could experience TGA again, so I purchased a smart watch that will call my husband if I take a hard fall. It also has an SOS feature that will send for help if I’m in trouble. Looking down at my wrist and seeing the date and time in gigantic font has been grounding. It was especially helpful in April when I was struggling.

I’m Generation X, but I know that lots of Baby Boomers read my column, and I’d like to encourage you to look into getting a smart watch yourself. They vary in features, but Apple and Samsung both make models that do important things, specifically the fall-detection alert and the SOS function.

If you are running and fall, it will call your spouse. If you are out for an early morning bike ride without your phone and feel chest pains, you can message for help. But unlike the dorky “I’ve fallen and can’t get up,” devices from decades past, these watches look cool.

Adapting to new technology like wearing a smart watch is important to do while your brain is healthy enough to figure out how to use it. I speak from experience on that one.

Right now in June, my watch is easy for me to use. But in April when my brain was recovering, it was tricky to understand. So don’t wait until it’s too late to embrace a new technology that could help you remain independent. Download it into your mental hard drive now, and familiarize yourself with every feature.

Still, I must confess that smart watches do have their downside. The other day I was at my exercise class, laying on my yoga mat during the last three minutes when everyone was meditating, and my watch showed an incoming text from my daughter: “When are you coming home?”

I panicked. She had never texted me in the middle of class before and I knew she was home alone. I rolled up my yoga mat, grabbed my things and flew to the car. “I’ll be right there,” I replied.

It wasn’t until I pulled into the driveway that I saw her next text. “Can we go thrift store shopping?” she asked.

Yup. My smart watch had turned me into a dummy. Deep breaths, Jenny, deep breaths.

Jennifer Bardsley publishes books under her own name and the pseudonym Louise Cypress. Find her online on Instagram @jenniferbardsleyauthor, on Twitter @jennbardsley or on Facebook as Jennifer Bardsley Author. Email her at teachingmybabytoread@gmail.com.

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