Remember when the most high-tech health gadget on the market was a button you wore around your neck and pressed when you were having a medical emergency? “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” was such a part of our popular culture in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s that it came to represent our parents’ generation.
Since those days, technology has taken some pretty dramatic leaps. The new array of health alert devices is smarter, more convenient and thankfully more discreet (you don’t have to advertise your age by wearing a pendant around neck or a band around your wrist anymore). See what’s available now and what’s on the horizon.
Never get lost
For seniors with memory issues, who may get lost on a walk or simply wander out of the house, these GPS insoles allow loved ones to know their whereabouts from the convenience of a portal on their smartphone or computer. And there’s no need to carry a separate device—all the technology is right under their feet. For more information, http://www.gpssmartsole.com.
Get an early warning of heart failure
Edema, or fluid retention in the feet or legs, can be an early warning sign of heart failure. Socks designed by Danish company Ohmatex electronically measure the circumference of the wearer’s leg to monitor this buildup of fluid. For more information, http://www.edema.dk.
Monitor your vitals
The BodyGuardian® Heart Remote Monitoring System uses a lightweight, easy-to-wear sensor to collect cardiac ECG and rhythm data for your physician, allowing at-risk seniors to remain active and independent. For more information, http://www.preventicesolutions.com/technologies/preventice-technologies.html
Taking this technology one step further, sensors to monitor heart rate and respiration have also been built into shirts and sports bras. While this clothing is currently marketed to athletes, it should also be available for seniors in the not-so-distant future, according to Andrew Carle, executive-in-residence and founding director of the Program in Senior Housing Administration at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Keep an eye out this breakthrough apparel.
Identify diabetic hotspots
People living with diabetes can develop hotspots or high pressure points on their feet, but due to a loss of sensation in the patient’s feet, ulcers may form and become infected before they are even aware of it. Using fiber-optic sensors, Smart Sox will alert physicians to these temperature and pressure points and head off infection and the possible need for amputation. These socks are expected to be available in 2019.
Share technology that’s helped you monitor your health.