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Aging Smartly with Technology

Meghana Giridhar - January 20, 2015 10:55 AM

A 2012 Pew Research study has highlighted how seniors are adopting new-age technology to be better equipped to age-in-place and exercise greater independence (see illustrative data below). Low-cost modern assistive devices are keeping seniors engaged, connected, active, safe and caregivers reassured.


 
Trends in technology use by older (65+) adults (Pew Internet Research report 2009-2012)


 
Mobile phone use by age groups (Pew Internet Research report 2012)

Here are some of many key devices that can help make the aging and caring process easier for seniors and caregivers.

Sensors – Keeping track of an aging loved one’s whereabouts is a major concern for most caregivers. Sensors are a way to monitor changes in a senior’s routine. These can be set up throughout the house. Some of them even provide notifications of anything out of the ordinary such as a running tap or short circuits in the electrical system, via phone calls. Wearable sensors are also now available allowing doctors to check a patient’s vital signs remotely.

Push-Button Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS) – Often times, seniors are victims of falls while they are out and about.  PERS can help track seniors. These devices come in the form of big-button cell phones which can be opened easily. They are fitted with loud speakers, bright screens and big numbers and one tab to push for emergencies. The device can be worn in the neck or around the wrist. During an emergency, the signal is sent to a call center and they can send out personnel to help and notify authorized family members.

Temperature-activated Flow Reducer – This is an attachment that can be screwed onto a faucet and has the capability to shut off the water from a sink or shower when it gets too hot.

House-Cleaning Machines – These automated robot devices do the cleaning for you! They get dirt out from hard to reach places and clean floors to prevent slipping. Some also clean gutters making it very convenient for seniors living alone.

Automatic Counter Tops – They look like any other counter top but what they do is open or lower to so seniors can easily reach for utensils and use the counter top.

Medication Reminders – These range from alarms to timers ensuring your loved ones never miss medications. Reminders are sent via phone or email. High-tech pillboxes are also available so medicines can be properly organized. Caregivers or seniors can refill medicines and have them at the right time via monitored dispensers.

There are other online options such as eCareDiary’s Care Diary Tool, a software tool that takes on the role of a one-stop private online calendar.  Family members can add medical information pertinent to the senior’s care, provide reminders, upload legal and medical important documents and keep everyone connected through a journal.

Doorbell-Telephone Flashing-Light Signaler – For seniors for whom hearing is an issue, doorbell and telephone signalers trigger a flashing light so they are aware of the phone ringing or someone being at the door. 

Medicaid reimburses for some of these senior devices but Medicare does not. However, with more and more seniors opting to age-in-place, the flow of new technological devices to help them achieve their goal will not stop.

References:

http://seniornet.org/blog/10-pieces-of-technology-seniors-should-embrace/

http://www.techandaging.org/ConnectedAgingFramework.pdf

http://www.aarp.org/home-family/personal-technology/info-2014/is-this-the-end-of-the-nursing-home.html

http://www.wsj.com/articles/new-technologies-to-help-seniors-age-in-place-1401749932

https://www.caring.com/checklists/useful-gadgets-for-elderly

http://www.agingcare.com/Articles/techology-for-elderly-living-at-home-147427.htm

http://bizmology.hoovers.com/aging-in-place-technology-in-elderly-care

Meghana Giridhar serves as Content Coordinator and is part of eCareDiary's founding team.  In her role, she oversees and edits content across all of eCareDiary's media platforms.

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