Although seniors are becoming increasingly tech-savvy, many still are skeptical about the most recent devices that are available these days. However, technology for eldercare can be a true lifesaver when someone wants to get at home instead of going to a facility.

Whether you are a caregiver or the child of an elderly parent, you can help to decide whether or not technological gadgets can help keep seniors safe, and figure out which options are the best for them. Ask their primary care physicians for recommendations on the specific areas where you believe your elderly loved one might need assistance currently as well as in the future suggest the experts at Senior Care Center.

Laurie Orlov, who is a technology expert for aging in place, thinks that to successfully age in place, a senior needs to be able to engage with other people to stay safe and remain healthy. Orlove says if any of those are skipped, the elderly person could be at risk for poor health, isolation, and depression.

The following are some technology products and options that are recommended by Orlov for helping a senior citizen age in place successfully.

To Connect with Family and Friends

Technology provides seniors endless opportunities for connecting with family and friends, which is necessary since it is common for the elderly to suffer from depression and isolation. Costs will differ depending on data packages and contracts, but there is something available for everyone’s budget.

Simplified tablets/computers: SEarch for computers that have touch-screens and are easy to use. Try the iPad or GrandPad.

No-contract cell phones: If the only reason a senior needs a cell phone is in the event of an emergency, then the best option might be a no-contract one. Try TracFone or Jitterbug Plus.

Amplified cell phones: Those are very good for seniors who have hearing impairments or have difficulties with seeing a small screen. Try Hamilton CapTel (available as an app as well) or ClarityLife C900.

Video chats: For seniors who are more tech-savvy, programs that allow you to see and talk with others easily is recommended. Try FaceTime or Skype.

 To Maintain Wellness and Health

Mobility and medication management are two main components to preserving a senior’s physical health while living at home. Technology is an industry that is rapidly evolving that helps people with chronic illnesses to help manage their disease from their homes and to connect with their health care professionals. There are options that are available to everybody.

Medication reminders: There are medication management systems that are available that issue reminders, monitor medication usage, dispense meds, and notify caregivers if doses are not taken on time. Try: TabSafe is a good option.

Pill dispenser: You can check out automated pill dispenser instead of a complete system that remind a user when they are supposed to take their doses and the amount they are supposed to take. Try MedMinder, Philips Medication Dispensing Service, or e-pill.

Health management: Monitor heartbeat, pulse, and blood pressure, and check blood glucose levels, etc. There are some telehealth systems that allow you to do everything, so you usually do not need to make an appointment with a doctor to perform those routine checks. Try out: Philips Telehealth Solutions as a good option and can be a good help.

Nutrition guides: Senior citizens – especially ones who live by themselves – frequently have a hard time planning their meals and receiving the necessary nutrition. Technology can be used for keeping track of what a person should eat and when. Try out: FoodReminder (iOS) or Simple Meal Reminder (Android).

Fitness tools: Don’t be fooled. The Wii is not only for teens and kids. It is ideal for seniors who are 65 years and older. You can find them in senior living communities all over the country, and people participate in national competitions and tournaments. (Before starting a new fitness activity, consult with your doctor first.) Try: The Wii Fit Plus is a good option.

Brain games: Like others in the overall population, it is important for seniors to keep their brains active and healthy. Encourage them to participate in games like crosswords or Sudoku or make an investment in programs that are more advanced.

For Staying Safe at Home

As our minds and bodies age, people might experience new physical and mental challenges. It is more common for elderly people to wander off or fall. Look into technologies to help seniors keep safe whenever they are living at home.

Home monitoring systems: This type of system runs on sensors that are strategically placed, from flood or leak detectors to motion detectors to item-specific detectors on chairs, toilets, beds, doors, etc. Your loved one’s activities can be monitored, and most importantly, you will receive a notification whenever a disruption is sensed by the system. Some might even include communication and engagement features, such as phone alerts and reminders, email, text messages, etc. that let you check in with your loved one and communicate from where both of you are. Try Wellness or Lively Home.

Traditional PERS: These are Personal emergency response systems that send out an alarm to notify caregivers about a fire, home invasion, health emergency, fall, or leaving the house due to wandering. A majority of people will send help immediately as well, even if the person cannot communicate their need for help. There are one-button standard versions and also ones that have automatic fall detection abilities. Try MobileHelp or BioSensics Active PERS.

Mobile PERS: For your own peace of mind, choose the models that can be taken with you. Try GreatCall 5Star Responder Service or Nortek Libris.

GPS tracking systems: This type of system can help to find a missing individual quickly and alert the authorities. Most of those systems run on signal exchanges from nearby cell towers and satellites when the individual is wandering or traveling. Then the program measures the distance between the actual device and the satellite signals and cell towers, to pinpoint the location of the person and communicate the information to the system. Try Comfort Zone or LifePROTEKT.

Telehealth or Telemedicine

While seniors are less tech-savvy, their caregivers or family members can assist them in using digital technologies such as procedural telemedicine, to improve their quality of life. Because of the current coronavirus pandemic crisis, elderly patients are vulnerable and are best advised to stay at home. Telemedicine is one way to keep their health monitored by their doctor without needing to leave home.  

For instance, patients with Parkinson’s disease can be checked through the online channel via telemedicine using an internet-capable device, like a laptop, tablet, or smartphone and internet connection. My Parkinsons Team explained the different types of Parkinson’s disease, and a crucial part of caring for patients with this condition is regular monitoring. 

Here are the promising benefits of telehealth:

  • It bridges the gap between long-distance doctor’s clinics and patients’ locations.
  • It allows continuous monitoring of the patient’s condition through visual assessment and conducting question and answer. These procedures can be done via videoconferencing using telemedicine apps or communication apps, like Skype or Zoom.
  • Telemedicine enables physicians to prescribe medications digitally, such as a screenshot of prescriptions using a smartphone camera sent to patients. Family members or caregivers can then buy these medicines in physical pharmacies or online drug stores.

Wearable Technology

Seniors can also wear smartwatches and other wearable technologies to help monitor their heart condition through heart rate monitoring and sending alerts if an abnormal heartbeat is detected. These devices have sophisticated sensors that can also be integrated with apps to alert patients and their families remotely or even if they are not at home.

Here are the capabilities of smartwatches:

  • Help the elderly monitor their fitness by counting steps, pulse rate, and other health biometrics.
  • A smartwatch can provide calorie count and make diet recommendations via integrated apps.
  • A smartwatch sends alerts when abnormal results are detected, helping caregivers provide the appropriate medical care. 

Discuss these options with your loved one. However, don’t be surprised if the person is hesitant at first since any technology that is unfamiliar might feel invasive. Make sure you take the time to fully explain how each option can enable your loved one to remain safe and support their wish to stay at home ultimately as they are aging and provide aging seniors as well as their family members with relief.