Technology For Aging In Place — Supporting Seniors And Families
Technology for aging in place makes it possible for your aging parent or loved one to live a longer, healthier life. Not only that, but it helps them keep as much of their independence as possible. In turn, you provide less hands-on care.
Developments in AI, VR, robotics, and more have made many devices more accessible and affordable. Families can get better peace of mind with new tech such as VR headsets for elders with dementia or smartwatches equipped with fall detection.
As the number of older Americans doubles by 2050, the market for smart-living devices, remote care, technologies for safety and wellness, and more will soar. According to a 2019 report from the Consumer Technology Association, the active-aging industry is expected to triple to nearly $30 billion by 2022.
The rising cost of care at nursing homes or assisting living facilities are one reason behind the accelerated market growth, Dr. Eric Topol noted in an interview with The Scientific American.
Topol, the director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute and author of The Creative Destruction of Medicine: How the Digital Revolution Will Create Better Health Care, explained that this technology gives older adults more than a chance to gracefully age in place. It also provides seniors the confidence to connect with long-distance loved ones.
This “monitored independence,” as Topol calls it, is changing how the country’s elderly population ages for the better. Below are a few products to promote your loved one’s wellbeing while aging in place.
Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS)
How many times have you heard LifeAlert’s “Help, I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up” commercials? Those ads may be the butt of many pop culture jokes now, but falling is a serious concern for elders and their families.
For many years, LifeAlert was the only dependable device to help seniors after a fall. But now, many companies sell PERS and other assistive technology for aging in place. More often than not, these devices have more features than older PERS products, too. Here are a few of the latest devices:
- MyNotifi, a medical alert wristband that notifies a relative or friend in the event of a fall.
- SafelyYou, a privacy-focused camera system that detects falls and immediately sends an alert.
- UnaliWear Kanega Watch, a voice-controlled smartwatch that includes medication reminders and automatically contacts emergency operators after a fall.
- Philips Lifeline, a medical alert system similar to LifeAlert that sends an alert if your loved one falls.
- Connect America, a company that offers a range of PERS and other technology for aging in place. It sells medical alert systems, remote patient monitoring, and medication management devices to help your parent stay safe and healthy at home.
- GrandCare Systems is a user-friendly touch screen device with remote monitoring, home health care, and communication features. You can program various reminders, schedule tasks, and more remotely.
- Lively Mobile Plus is a mobile PERS that includes GPS tracking that alerts CPR-trained agents to your loved one’s location.
Data from a 2019 Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that nearly 89% of seniors older than 65 take prescription medication, while 54% take four or more.
It’s not uncommon for people to become more forgetful with age. However, forgetfulness can be a significant cause for concern, particularly for seniors who have multiple prescriptions.
Missed doses, taking too much, or taking medicine at the wrong time, can have dangerous consequences. This issue is especially worrying for elders with memory problems. Fortunately, many products can help your loved one remember to take their medications, such as:
- MedMinder, a digital pill dispenser that provides visual, audio, and phone alerts. It will also notify you about missed doses.
- Reminder Rosie, a multipurpose voice-activated digital clock that reminds seniors to take their medicine. You can also program it to schedule other reminders, such as feeding the dog, personal tasks, and more.
- Med-Q Digital Pill Box Dispenser, which doubles as an alarm clock. It features a loud alarm for those who are hard-of-hearing and a light-up pillbox that clearly shows your loved one which doses to take.
- Medisafe Pill Reminder and Medication Tracker, a mobile app that will send reminders for all prescriptions with notes like “take with food.” It will also send alerts to connected users, notify you when it’s time for a refill, and generate medication progress reports for your loved one’s doctor.
Technology for aging in place has made it easier for seniors to stay engaged with friends and family. But besides connecting online, these products can help older adults can find companionship in other ways:
- Joy For All sells robotic pets that interact with their owners and behave like real animals. These toys have been shown to soothe elders and be a meaningful substitute for seniors who cannot have a pet.
- ElliQ, a social robot designed specifically for older adults. While it’s not widely available yet, ElliQ has the potential to keep seniors engaged using situational context based on real-time sensory data. This device offers suggestions, greetings, asks questions, and more.
Of course, robotic pets and mobile apps can’t replace human touch and interaction. You should encourage your parent to familiarize themself with video calls and other forms of communication. This way, they don’t have to rely on you for help when they want to call someone.
As you explore technology for aging in place, you should make a point to teach your loved one how to recognize fraudulent activity. As these devices become more prevalent, so will the risk of older adults falling victim to scams.
When you care for an aging parent, you juggle many responsibilities. Technology for aging in place can go a long way to relieving some of your duties by protecting your loved one. New PERS products, medication reminders, and other devices can help your loved one maintain their independence and safely live at home.
Of course, every family is different. Your parent may not be keen on installing cameras or wearing a smartwatch. Not only that, but you may not feel knowledgeable enough to implement the latest technology effectively
It’s about you and your loved one’s preferences and comfort level when it comes down to it. If a LifeAlert system is enough to give you peace of mind, then that’s perfectly acceptable. The purpose of these devices is to simplify your life, not make it more difficult.
We can help your loved one age in place gracefully and comfortably. For more information, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-888-541-1136.
We will match you with a qualified caregiver who can assist with a variety of needs, from transportation to grocery shopping.
Keep your independence, but don’t be afraid to ask for a little help. We are here for you!
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- Abrahms, Sally. “Technology, Gadgets For Seniors Aging In Place.” AARP, 1 Mar. 2014, www.aarp.org/home-family/personal-technology/info-2014/is-this-the-end-of-the-nursing-home.html.
- “CES 2019: Our Favorite Tech for Aging in Place & In-Home Senior Care.” Comfort Keepers, 1 Apr. 2019, www.comfortkeepers.com/info-center/category/aging-in-place/article/ces-2019-our-favorite-tech-for-aging-in-place.
- Companions for Seniors. “Integrating Technology Into Your Senior Care Plan.” Companions For Seniors, 13 Mar. 2019, companionsforseniors.com/2019/03/integrating-technology-senior-care/.
- Halpert, Julie. “7 New Tech Devices for Elder Care That Help Seniors Live Happier, Healthier Lives.” CNBC, CNBC, 13 Sept. 2019, www.cnbc.com/2019/09/12/7-new-tech-devices-for-that-help-seniors-live-happier-healthier-lives.html.
- Redford, Gabi. “New Tech Options Are Helping Seniors Age in Place.” Scientific American, Scientific American, 12 Mar. 2018, www.scientificamerican.com/article/new-tech-options-are-helping-seniors-age-in-place/.
- Rodriguez, Jeremy. “Jeremy Rodriguez.” Griswold Home Care, 6 Dec. 2018, www.griswoldhomecare.com/blog/2018/december/medication-reminders-for-the-elderly/.