Technology moves fast, and every day it seems like there’s a whole new flock of innovations that are presented to become a part of our daily lives. The technology available to seniors are no different, and there are a lot of great minds developing devices to make your life easier and safer. However, even though the technology keeps moving, its main goal is to let you age in place. The field, often referred to as telehealth, is an effort to take the efficiency and convenience of telecommunications and use it to provide health care. This can be applied to senior care and aging in place in a number of ways.
Of course, the chief concern of anyone developing or using this technology is to keep seniors safe, and to get them help in the event of an emergency. Things have come a long way since the “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” commercials. Today’s alert systems are more refined and advanced, and many use cell phone technology that is already in place. And there are even alert systems that can be downloaded to smartphones. These systems can be used not only to contact an ambulance, the fire department, or the police, but also to get in touch with friends, family members, and caregivers.
Also protecting seniors from danger or loneliness are virtual caregivers. Now, we know what you’re thinking and the answer is no – these don’t look anything like Rosie from “The Jetsons” … yet. Robotic technology to provide caregiving is projected to not be that far away, but for now, the main method of virtual caregiving is through the telecommunications previously discussed. With optimized efficiency, a caregiver would be able to assist numerous people each day, all from a remote location. And with the comfort and security of having these technologies in the home, seniors and caregivers can relax and live their lives with a little added peace of mind.
One of the simplest needs for seniors to age in place is one that is often overlooked. That need is the ability to stay in touch with family, and to be a part of their lives when they can’t physically be there. It can be easy for the younger generations to take for granted the knowledge of e-mails, picture sharing, social networking, and video chatting that older generations grew up without. Some companies are launching products that are intended to close that gap and keep the lines of communication open. Not unlike oversized tablets, these devices eliminate the keyboard and use a touch screen, in conjunction with simple software and large images and text, to make it as easy as possible for seniors to stay in touch.
Another way that technology can be used to help in the care of seniors is to monitor the care that’s coming from other sources. Some new services use messaging and tracking technologies to keep track of seniors’ doctor visits, remind them to take their medications, and even make sure that all their medical bills are taken care of. That way, everyone involved in the process is held accountable for every step in caregiving.
Other concerns that come along with these new technologies are the ease with which they can be used, and the proper places for them to be implemented. Fortunately, there are also technology consulting services that are helping seniors and businesses learn how to bring this telehealth technology to seniors in the best way possible. And as always, you should consult your doctor and caregiver before making any health care decisions.