Grandparents all over the country are becoming more self-sufficient through the use of smartphones and other types of technology. Now smartphone apps and Internet services are also designed to help improve the lives of seniors who live independent lifestyles. It’s projected that adults age 65 and older will make up nearly a quarter of the U.S. population by the year 2030. It’s also estimated that this generation will live longer and more autonomously than any other generation in history.
So it’s no surprise that senior care products are on the rise, including many new developments in the tech industry. While the challenge may be getting seniors to use devices that they’ve never used before, the fact that there are actual technologies in development that are user-friendly for both seniors and their family members is a huge first step.
New developments on the horizon
While it seems like many smartphone applications are designed specifically for entertainment purposes, there are actually real benefits for seniors – and entrepreneurs and developers are taking notice. Not only will these developments be a boon for technology companies, but they will also help caregivers and their elderly loved ones be less burdened with day-to-day tasks.
Home automation has been a huge trend in home security systems, with some security providers even including a feature that will notify a homeowner through email or text if there is a security issue at their home. Now take that concept and apply it to the caregiver-senior family member relationship. That’s exactly what some Silicon Valley companies have done, and now we’re seeing advances in medical alert systems and easy ways to monitor aging parents without having to be present 24 hours a day.
Senior-based technology sensors
A tracking system with sensors can help monitor a person’s movement and daily activities. For instance, these small wireless sensors can be attached to a pillbox or bathroom door and keep track of a person’s usual habits. Then if a pillbox doesn’t open when it’s supposed to, family members are notified through emails and text messages – much like the home security system feature with home automation.
Medical alert systems
Traditional medical alert systems, also called Personal Emergency Response System (PERS), usually involve a wireless transmitter that can be worn as a necklace or wristband. While this is an effective way to contact a monitoring service in the event of a fall or medical crisis, there are also urgent response mobile applications that can be downloaded on a smartphone. It works just like a panic button on a medical alert advice – you just open the app and are connected to the medical monitoring company. Another helpful feature is advanced GPS technology with online locator services.
Another way seniors can use technology to live healthier, safer and more independent lives is with devices that help with medication management and tracking daily movement and activity to achieve healthy exercise goals. There are a number of other technologies from the elder care industry that are becoming increasingly popular. They provide helpful tools to manage daily tasks, allowing people to live more independently and reduce the burden on caretakers and family members.
These products and services are offered through companies like Fitbit, which created a wireless activity tracker to record steps taken, calories burned and more, helping seniors to get up and move and keep track of their health goals and movement. TabSafe is a development that will monitor usage and inventory information about a person’s medications. A pharmacist or caregiver can simply load the medication into the device, and all of the information is accessible through a wireless interface.
Stacey Waxman is a freelance writer. She can be found typing away on her laptop in Cleveland, OH. Stacey welcomes your feedback via email.