In order to age in place successfully, it may be essential for a senior to be able to engage with others and remain healthy and safe in his or her independent living situation. Have you considered that the right technology can support his or her ability to do that? Discuss whether certain apps or devices might help your loved one stay safe and healthy. In addition, consult with his or her primary care practitioner to identify areas where technology may help now and in the future.
Technology can offer seniors opportunities to connect with friends and family, which may 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. Additionally, 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. Also, remember what a valuable resource video conferencing technology like Zoom and FaceTime can be. Face-to-face conversations can be easier for seniors and allow for inclusion, even when there are social distancing restrictions.
Technology can also assist in promoting health and wellness for your aging loved one. Medication management and mobility may be two major factors in aging at home. Telehealth is becoming more common, making it easier to manage illnesses and connect with health care professionals while at home. There may also 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 exercise, there are many products on the market that can support movement for seniors. While products like the FitBit and AppleWatch are popular, senior living communities across the country have the Wii Fit Plus which include, tournaments and competitions.
Technology can also help make a home safer for a loved one aging in place. As bodies and minds age, there may be new mental and physical challenges. As the risk of falling or wandering off increases, there may be technologies that can help seniors stay safe while living at home. For instance, 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. Personal emergency response systems (or PERS) can typically be 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.
To learn more about how you can help an aging loved one, our office is available to provide you with trusted legal counsel, as well as direct you to valuable resources. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.