According to a 2014 study conducted by AARP, 87 percent of seniors want to stay in their current home and community as they age. But, of course, safety becomes a major concern for aging adults. Trip hazards, memory issues, mobility and balance problems can all create significant health risks. However, thanks to many newer technologies, there are now several readily available tools to help older adults age in place. Today, seniors can select from a wide variety of personal emergency response systems (PERS), which will allow them to call for assistance in the event of an emergency with a simple push of a button. These devices can offer both seniors and their families peace of mind. From programs that help foster social connections to apps that ease the administration of medications, here is a look at some additional technologies that can help seniors remain at home safely.
GPS technology is good for more than just finding directions to a destination. The latest devices, including the PERS systems described above, include GPS location tracking. This type of technology can be particularly helpful for older adults who suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease and may be prone to wandering. GPS technology can also assist in locating a person as quickly as possible, in the event that an accident does occur.
From doorbell video monitoring to in-home camera systems, home monitoring devices have really evolved in recent years. With a doorbell video monitoring service, a homeowner can use a smartphone app or other wireless device to see who is at the door. This type of device is helpful as a safety measure and also can be used to eliminate unnecessary trips to the door to deal with solicitors or surveyors. As a bonus, activity can even be “recorded” by the device. Installing a video camera system within the home can provide remote or temporarily absent caregivers to check in on an older parent or grandparent through the use of a smartphone app. This type of service can provide peace of mind for times when a family member is unable to be with their loved one 24/7.
Medication Management Devices
Many older adults take multiple medications daily, and in fact people over the age of 65 comprise more than 33% of prescription medication use in the U.S. Whether prescription or over-the-counter, keeping track of the proper dosage to take and when to administer the medication can be a challenge. If your loved one suffers from dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease, medication management can be even more problematic. New technologies such as automated pill dispensers can be used by family and caregivers to organize medications to be dispensed to the user at pre-set times throughout the day. Mobile phone apps with alarms or text alerts can be useful for providing medication reminders too. Even Amazon’s Alexa has multiple “skills” that include medication reminders.
Social Interaction Technologies
Older adults who remain in their home can experience feelings of isolation and even depression if they become less mobile and are not able to get out frequently. Technologies that foster social interaction can be very beneficial for this segment of the population. Video-sharing technologies, whether on a mobile phone, tablet, laptop or through a stand-alone device such as Google Home or Amazon Echo Show, provide the opportunity for face-to-face interaction – even if it’s through a screen. There’s no replacement for live human contact, but a quick video chat check-in can brighten someone’s day and in some circumstances may even be useful as a safety measure.
Getting The Right Support These new technologies can be helpful for enhancing the quality of care for many older adults, but they are in no way a full replacement for quality in-home care. A combination of in-home care and technology can help seniors age in place. La Nurse Home Care Registry offers professional support and customized personal home care services for seniors who are aging in place. Contact us today to learn more.