Have you considered that aging in place may be easier when seniors have the right technology to support the endeavor? Technology can help lessen social isolation, ensure home safety, and support their health and wellness. Discuss whether certain apps or devices might help your loved one stay safe and healthy, and consult with his or her primary care practitioner to identify areas where technology may help now, and in the future.
Technology offers seniors opportunities to connect with friends and family, which can be necessary as many seniors suffer from isolation and depression. Look for easy-to-use computers and touch-screen capabilities, like the GrandPad or iPad. Also, remember the potential benefits of video conferencing technology like Zoom and FaceTime. Face-to-face conversations can be easier for seniors, and allow for inclusion even when there are social distancing restrictions.
A simple cell phone can also increase your loved one’s opportunity to connect. Look for phones with large buttons and clear screens. The Lively Flip phone was designed for seniors, with a special one-click button to connect with a member of the Lively Response Team, who can summon help or connect the caller with a board-certified doctor or nurse. If your loved one has a hearing loss, a captioning app like Clear Captions can allow them to read phone conversations in near real-time.
Technology can also assist your aging loved one with staying safe in his or her home. As bodies and minds age, there can be new mental and physical challenges. As the risk of falling or wandering off increases, there are technologies that can help seniors stay safe while living at home. Home monitoring systems, like Lively Home or Alarm.com Wellness, use strategically-placed sensors to allow you to monitor your loved one’s daily activities and will notify you when there is a disruption. The Care Hub by Amazon, partners with Alexa voice-activated technology and will let you check in on your loved ones remotely, even notifying you when they ask for help.
Personal emergency response systems (or PERS) are typically worn on a necklace or belt clip, and will send an alarm if it perceives a fall, wandering, or if the individual wearing it presses the button. Many will send help immediately. An example of this type of product is MobileHelp. If wandering is a concern, GPS tracking devices, like GPS SmartSole or Theora Connect Wearable, can alert the authorities and help locate a missing person quickly.
Another thing to consider may be the fact that medication management and mobility can be two major factors in aging at home. Telehealth is becoming more common, which can make it easier to manage illnesses and connect with health care professionals while at home. There may be many technologies that can also help seniors to stay healthy while aging in place.
Medication management systems can issue reminders, dispense medications, monitor medication usage, and notify caregivers when doses are missed. Products like TabSafe, epill, and MedMinder are some of the products available to consumers for purchase or for rent.
For more information about helping an aging loved one, please reach out to our office to schedule an appointment. We do telephone, computer, and face-to-face appointments. Our face-to-face appointments are held outside in the open air (frequently selected by clients for document signing) and inside our office conference room. We follow all CDC guidelines. Our office procedures and COVID-19 safety protocols are designed and enhanced by medical review and air quality engineering and design.