Technology’s Role in Staying Connected

It’s no secret that technology is one of the most important tools in any job. But how far can that technology go to really serve us? Well as it turns out, pretty far, and especially as of late! Now obviously this includes the medical technology that we rely on to help keep our loved ones and clients safe, strong, and healthy, but it certainly doesn’t stop there. The emergence of new technology into the near one-year mark of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to provide ease and comfort as we work to accommodate the world that awaits on the other side, and this tech comes in all shapes and sizes!


Unfortunately, COVID-19 has left us in a world where the ability to connect is challenging. Social distancing, mandatory lockdowns, and highly strict rules when it comes to visiting seniors—especially our clients in care facilities—have forced a reconsideration of how to stay present in each other’s lives. Luckily, this comes at a time when rapid advances in technology have helped immensely in overcoming these challenges. Now right away, you probably think of things like Zoom, Alexa, Google Nest, Apple products, etc. and you’re right! But there have been many more innovative (and almost certainly) less expensive methods taken by some creative and thoughtful minds that are helping to bring families closer together in a time of worldwide isolation.

As many have done in their own homes with members of their extended family, the implementation and use of virtual meeting technology for those who require quality care has been a saving grace for many. It’s also given reason to some of our older clients and those of similar ages in other locations to learn and utilize technology they otherwise may not have. It is truly a wonderful feeling the first moment a client of ours makes a successful call to their loved ones and discovers the joy and ease that technology has brought them in a time when they could have gone months (or at this point more than a year) without seeing them! In addition, simple tasks like asking about the weather, hearing their schedule, or playing someone’s favorite music have become so much easier with this boost in the use of everyday technology, and again… it’s so wonderful to see and be a part of.

Another HUGE impact of technology has been in contact tracing. With number restrictions on visitations, it’s very important that we know how many people are at a care facility at a given time. As such, this tool has been quite successful in allowing families some more (safe) visitation time as vaccines are distributed more rapidly and the world begins working towards a return to some form of the old normalcy.

Some Simpler Technology

On the other side of the same coin, a large price tag (often associated with the aforementioned tools) has not necessarily been the only contributing factor of innovation in the technology used for quality care thus far. We have seen very creative endeavors! For example, there has been a wide array of small shelter construction near ground floor window units for families to visit safely in the winter months, keeping them protected from the elements while safely allowing outside visitations! In addition, there has also been the implementation of a simple and highly user-friendly software system that allows visitors to sign up in an orderly manner. This not only ensure safety to their loved ones, but anyone in the given bubble that might cross paths. This also goes hand-in-hand with the contract tracing tools mentioned above, as the one could simply not work without the other.

To put it lightly, it has helped us TREMENDOUSLY over the past year and continues to provide ease on our staff and caregivers alike to make sure they are working in the safest conditions possible.

A Tool in the Right Hands

The bottom line is that we could not have made this last year work without the wonderful technology available to us and all its many forms. I know it can be hard to take such a positive stance on some of it in this day and age (due to the many issues that we see every day with things like social media or mass production/online sales companies) but the right technology tool in the right hands can have a huge impact on a person’s quality of life. And after the year we’ve had, we are very comfortable hanging out hat on that fact!

Windows 7 “end of support” – what does it mean?

Big news this week in the land of Microsoft Windows. Microsoft has officially discontinued support for Windows 7 as of January 14th. Do you still have a computer running Windows 7? Here’s a few things that you need to know:

Can’t I just keep using what I have?

Continuing to use a computer that operates on Windows 7 can present a security risk. Up until January 14th, Windows 7 received ongoing “touch-ups” from Microsoft, including bug fixes, patches, regular updates, and other magic things. All of this ongoing maintenance meant that Windows 7 was kept safe from people trying to exploit any issues with Windows.

Now, Microsoft has officially discontinued support and ongoing maintenance, so “bad guys” can continue to use whatever bug or loophole they might find. That’s bad news for us, generally the “good guys,” or at least the “morally neutral” guys. Continuing to use Windows 7 will expose you to more threats over time, because loopholes and bugs will continue to be found and put to use by the bad guys.

So… do I have to buy a new computer?

NO. You don’t need to run out and buy a whole computer, and in fact, you may be eligible for a free upgrade to Windows 10. Before upgrading, you might want to do some or all of the following:

  1. check your hardware – you may be able to update some components on an older computer, such as adding RAM or upgrading the Hard Drive size, to improve performance and extend the useful life of what you’ve already got. You also will need to meet the minimum requirements for Windows 10 in order to update.
  2. back up your files – lots of people are using free backup sites, like Google Drive, box, dropbox, or OneDrive. Some paid subscriptions offer larger storage space, but most have a free option. You can also go with an external hard drive. Check out the options for yourself to choose the right backup method for you.
  3. If you’re using a laptop, make sure it’s plugged in, and when possible, plug the computer directly into a wired internet connection. Wi-Fi might take longer and sometimes fails to download, depending on your internet connection.

Even if you’re not eligible for the free upgrade, you can purchase a Windows 10 license and update only the operating system on your PC. There are a few different options, but Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro will work for pretty much everyone. Pro does offer some additional encryption options, so check out both options to see what’s right for you.

Price out all of the options, because at some point, it is a better idea to buy a new computer altogether. But if you can get through a couple more years on what you’ve already paid for, that’s money that stays in your wallet for just a bit longer!

I don’t wanna do this! You can’t make me! aaaaaaaaggggggghhhh!

OK, not everyone is comfortable doing an “Operating System Upgrade.” It sounds scary and complex. But I promise, it is important, and it is not as painful as it sounds.

There is another option. If you are struggling and feeling overwhelmed with this – there are a ton of shops that will help you manage this process for not a lot of money. Check around in your area. Some places will let you drop your computer off for a couple days, and BAM, pick it up refreshed and feeling better than ever. Feeling overwhelmed, or looking for a few referrals? Reach out to your HealthStar team – they know where to find me, and I am happy to help out with a few searches! Make sure to price out a few different places, and check the reviews before you trust anyone with your equipment!

And of course, if you’re running IT for a business – check out my BEST PALS IN THE UNIVERSE, Top Dog PC. They are basically computer superheroes, and they can help you with all kinds of things. Windows stuff is pretty much sleep walking for them. (It’s not bragging when I say it, because I don’t work there. I’m just a SUPER HAPPY CUSTOMER, telling you to check them out.) Top Dog is like a candy store of IT helpers. They do it all, from basic support to firewall maintenance, phone systems, and calming down frantic and overwhelmed IT staff. Not that I would know anything about that last bit.

I’ve never been frantic.

Have more questions?

More information about Windows 7 end of support:

Find out if you might qualify for a free upgrade to Windows 10: ( AFTER you back up your important files, choose “update now,” and then follow the prompts.)

Purchase Windows 10 if you don’t qualify for the free upgrade:

Man’s best friend in business IT:

More information about backing up your computer: