Technology has exploded in past three decades, and we’ve all seen the changes and improvements. Aside from things like social media, virtual reality, and smartphones, new technologies has evolved to help solve specific problems. For older adults, technology improvements have helped make the difference between choosing to age in place and having to move to assisted living. Products like medical alerts and in-home assistants can make everyday activities easier for seniors as well as their caregivers.
Why is New Technology Important for Seniors?
For older people and seniors, independent living is usually the ultimate goal. Being able to live freely and make your own decisions in the comfort of your home has been linked to increase happiness and overall well being. Furthermore, new technologies that aid this independence can give peace of mind to family members and caregivers, especially when seniors live alone.
As seniors go about their daily activities, it’s common for medications to go missed, or for some doses to be mistaken for others. Unfortunately, this can be a dangerous error. In assisted living facilities, a nurse is there to correctly dose out the right amount of medication and monitor seniors. At home, the job is all in the hands of a live-in caregiver, family member, or the senior themselves.
Medication reminders can be in the form of physical devices or apps that you can download on a smartphone. If you’re looking for device, you can purchase a special medication pill box that you’re able to program with the correct days and times that you’re supposed to take medication. When the alarm goes off, it’ll unlock the box associated with the medication you need to take. You’ll be alerted to take your medication, and you’re only able to take the exact dose for that day.
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If you’re interested in medical alert device, which we’ll mention below, these systems usually come with the option to schedule medication alarms. Whenever the alarm goes off, you may be given information about which dose to take, though it will still be up to you to make sure you’re taking the correct dose.
For seniors who are savvy online, you also have the option to download a medication alert app on your phone. These will usually work just like a regular alarm, which you’ll set yourself after installing the app. However, you’ll also be able to add in the medication information tied to each alarm, so you know exactly what to take when an alarm goes off, and you can continue referring to the app to double check.
Wearable devices are some of the best ways for family members and caregivers to ensure the safety of a senior living alone. These devices work by using a wrist pendant or necklace pendant that has a button and connects wirelessly to a personal emergency response system. Sometimes the wearable devices are programmed to alert the base system whenever it detects a fall, but others will only go off if the button is pressed.
With any medical alert system, caregivers and family members can stay connected either through an app or a direct phone call. Depending on the system, these additional users will be on a pre-programmed list of phone numbers to call when there’s an emergency. They may also be able to log-in to an app to view real-time activity, such as past alerts and fall detection. Medical alerts and wearable devices are truly a revolution in senior care, helping seniors connect with caregivers and emergency responders as quickly as possible.
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These devices are great for any senior living alone, or even older adults who maintain a high level of physical activity. The wearable devices are designed to be non-intrusive and to work with your lifestyle, whether the device is needed in the home, on-the-go, or throughout the day.
In-home assistants have become some of the most popular in-home new technologies in recent years. An in-home assistant like Amazon Echo or Google Home allows you to connect easily to the internet as well as any smart devices you have around the home. Through voice, you can easily request information and ask questions just like you would online, you can listen to podcasts and music, and you can even perform actions like turning on and off lights, locking your doors, and arming your security system.
For seniors, these devices can help them stay connected and active throughout their home, even if they’re dealing with disabilities or limited mobility. Some in-home assistants are only speakers, while others come with a video display, like the Google Nest. An assistant like the Google Nest would be especially beneficial for seniors who would like to easily video chat with family members who aren’t close by.
In-home voice assistants tap into the Internet of Things to easily control smart devices. These include things like lightbulbs, TVs, doorbells, security systems, and more, which are Wi-Fi enabled and allow remote control via voice assistants or mobile apps.
For seniors, smart devices are especially beneficial since they allow hands-free control throughout the home. Seniors with arthritis or joint inflammation can simply ask their voice assistant to turn the lights on and off instead of fussing with hard-to-grip knobs.
Smart devices can also add extra security for caregivers and family members. Smart security systems allow access through remote mobile apps. If a senior is living alone, their family members can always have access to security cameras and alarms so that they’re notified immediately if there’s a problem.
New technologies for seniors exist to enable freedom and longevity. These days, it is becomin easier and easier for seniors to age at home rather than needing to move to a senior center or assisted living facility. Products like medication reminders, medical alerts, and smart devices all help to have a senior stay active and safe in the home. Beyond the senior’s safety, the devices also give friends and family peace of mind to know that their loved ones are aging gracefully and remaining protected from emergencies.