When our parents were younger, telephones were affixed to walls, mail was only the paper variety, and if adult children lived far away from their parents, checking in on them was as simple as asking someone nearby to stop by to visit. If someone were unable to leave home as a result of sickness or frailty, isolation could rapidly set in. Social circles were smaller, and long-distance family members frequently felt powerless if they weren’t able to be there in person to help. But life has drastically changed since those times, and technology has evolved how we communicate and manage the everyday activities of living.
Technology for seniors has provided for advances in home care services and for people who otherwise may not have been able to handle living alone. With the increase in smart technology, social media, and interactive telecommunications programs, staying independent throughout aging is easier than ever before, allowing for better connection, comfort, and engagement.
So many new forms of technology are now obtainable, with unlimited applications for home care for seniors, from healthcare apps to advanced social engagement features. Not only can these kinds of tech tools bring peace of mind to seniors and their family members, but also, even more importantly, they provide a higher level of freedom, more independence, and an improved overall quality of life and well-being. Even if a senior is home alone, they can still connect, converse, and engage with those outside of their immediate surroundings. Additionally, should a health emergency arise, technology can provide a quick connection to emergency services. For maintaining independence, here are a few of our top picks for technology for seniors:
- Webcams: Placing webcams throughout the home allows family members and caregivers to check in on an older adult around the clock. Webcams also enable family members who live at a distance to video chat with and visit with their loved ones “in person.”
- Alarms: Alarms can now be installed with cameras placed at a senior’s front door, offering a means to confirm who is at the door before going to answer it. These can be connected to a computer or smartphone.
- Sensors: Just as with webcams, sensors can be positioned in and around the home to monitor a senior’s movement. These are specifically helpful for seniors with wandering problems. Most sensors can be linked to a television or computer with an internet connection.
- Medical Alerts: These devices have been around for some time now but continue to be updated to improve functionality and efficiency. They are worn by the older person, who can merely push a button in the event of a fall or other emergency. The senior is then connected to 911 or another emergency response provider. Some systems can even tell if the individual wearing it has experienced a fall, without the necessity to even press a button at all.
- Automatic Pill Reminders/Dispensers: These are wonderful tools for individuals with dementia or early stage Alzheimer’s disease who are still living on their own. An alarm sounds, notifying the older person to take their medications, and the correct dosage is dispensed. If the senior misses a dose, a message is sent to the caregiver after a set period of time.
- Games: Technology has also given us fun, creative forms of entertainment, such as those for the Wii game platform, which encourages physical activity, as well as memory enhancement games that aid in cognitive functioning, such as puzzles. Games provide hours of enjoyment, but can also help enhance physical and emotional health. And through an internet connection, games can be played with friends and family who live at a distance.
To help alleviate worry and stress when you aren’t able to physically be with your aging parents, and to help with maintaining independence in older adults, CareFor offers a free in-home assessment to identify the most appropriate home care solution, as well as to provide recommendations on technology that may be beneficial. Contact us any time at (512) 338-4533 to learn more about our senior care in San Marcos and the surrounding areas.