Gone are the days of blinking VCR clocks. Technology is on an upward throttle to improve our lives and it’s now easier than ever. Seniors of all ages can—and should—enjoy the life-simplifying and life-changing benefits of the modern age. Caretakers and children alike will find their lives equally simplified from some of these amazing products.
Surveys consistently show a substantial amount of seniors want to stay in their own homes as they age. The feeling of independence and self-sufficiency is ingrained in our culture and can make a significant positive impact on mental health. Technological advances have made this easier than ever.
Personal Emergency Response Systems, or PERS, are wearable devices that allow your senior to push a button for assistance. Everyone can have peace of mind knowing help is just a button push away in the event of an accident. While the big button on a necklace is notoriously associated with PERS, companies like Lively offer an alternative, and more stylish, solution
Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia patient safety is paramount. Under the care of your own roof, those prone to wandering can still be at risk of endangerment or becoming lost. A great tool is a GPS tracking device that can monitor location and send alerts to you or the caregiver. You can review some of the innovative trackers here.
BeClose utilizes discreet wireless sensors to monitor your senior’s daily routine. The information is available for viewing on a private, secure webpage. If there are any disruptions, remote caregivers are alerted by phone, email, or text. Setup is simple—just plug in the base sensor and set up the battery operated wireless sensors in the desired areas.
TabSafe is a unique medication management system that offers alerts, reminders, dispenses medications, and posts information on compliance. It can accommodate up to four individuals with separate medication needs, and a single unit can dispense up to 13 different medications. The pharmacy, caregiver, or the senior themselves can fill the cartridge and the patented design released the dosage as needed. A memory chip allows the pharmacist to enter each customer’s medication at the time the label is generated. The TabSafe website allows you to monitor your seniors pills, as well.
COMMUNICATION IS A BREEZE
Keep in touch, check in, research, whatever you need, technology can provide it. Aging seniors can use computers, tablets, and smartphones to communicate with their families, caretakers, friends, and doctors in a myriad of ways.
Many doctor’s offices are moving towards paperless everything, including communication. Your senior can easily keep track of appointments with built-in calendar software a la Google Calendars with Gmail; email doctors, caregivers, and family; and stay up-to-date on all facets of their lives.
Organizations, like Me & My Caregivers , provide easy-to-use, safe, and HIPAA compliant web services to connect family, friends, and health care providers to your senior. It serves as a communication hub for everyone involved in the caregiving. Features include daily health journals, personal health record storage, emergency information, calendars with email reminders, and print/share functionality for up to 20 members.
Apps like Skype on a tablet, smartphone, or computer will allow both voice and video chatting. It is simple to set up, particularly if you are setting it up for your senior, and easy to use.
If you’re worried the technology may be too advanced, worry not; several companies have come out with programs and devices aimed for senior usage.
Apple’s iPad comes equipped with FaceTime technology. Already integrated into the tablet, it relies on the Apple ID to set up, and is completed upon start up of the device. Contacts are easy to reach, but it will only work with other Apple users.
Telikin takes ease of communication to a whole new level. This computer, touted as a “simpler, easy to use computer”, comes with integrated video chat, email, photos, web browsing, calendar, weather, and many other functionalities. They offer three different computer options, all with a 22” touchscreen monitor. This may be exactly what your aging mother needs. Prices range from $1,079.00 to $1,179.00.
STAY HEALTHY AND ENGAGED!
Part of maintaining health is to stay active! Physical activity does wonders for the entire body, including the brain. Whether your senior needs to up their activity per doctor’s orders, or they are looking for a little diversity, technology is here to save the day.
Fitbit offers a variety of fitness trackers that range from simple step trackers all the way up to sleep monitors and weight scales. The Charge HR and the Surge make excellent heartrate monitors while also tracking steps, stairs, and exercise. Many of them can also be set up to alert the user of incoming phone calls or serve as an alarm clock. All of the information syncs to an app available on all digital platforms and is automatically updated via Bluetooth.
The internet also offers a large community for your senior to remain connected with old friends and make new ones. Website forums exist for everything from lovers of a certain decade to people training for marathons and recipe swaps. Particularly if your senior can’t drive, this allows them the meaningful connections they would otherwise miss being relegated to their homes.
Facebook isn’t just for college kids anymore and boasts hundreds of thousands of Groups specifically for like-minded people and fans of everything under the sun.
AMAC, the Association for Mature American Citizens, is a membership-fee based organization, similar in format to AARP. Members gain access to discounts on services and products, but they are also an organization that fights for the rights of the elderly—by the elderly. The website connects like-minded seniors to in-organization programs to fight for their causes.
Today, we are living longer and stronger, thanks, in part, to technological and medical advancements. Developers are now aiming significantly more attention to our seniors in the technological development community, as they make up a substantial portion of the population. Don’t be dissuaded by the teens playing Angry Birds—though, it can certainly be an entertaining game—there is enough out there to enrich everyone’s lives. Even mother’s.