When our parents were younger, phones were attached 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 a neighbor to stop by to visit. If someone was unable to leave home because of sickness or infirmity, isolation could quickly set in. Social circles were smaller, and long-distance family members often felt helpless if they couldn’t be there in person to help. But life has dramatically changed since then, and technology has evolved how we communicate and manage the daily activities of living. Understanding how technology can help seniors opens up a whole new world of safer and more independent living throughout aging.
Advancements in technology have helped create more advancements in home care, and it has made a way for some people to age at home when they might not have been able to otherwise. With the increase in smart technology, social media and interactive telecommunications programs, maintaining independence in the elderly is easier, allowing for improved connection, comfort and engagement.
Not only can technology tools bring peace of mind to older adults and their families, but, even more importantly, they offer a higher level of freedom, additional independence, and improved overall quality of life and wellbeing. Even if somebody is home alone, he or she can still connect, converse and engage with those outside of their immediate atmosphere. Additionally, technology can also be a literal life saver should a medical emergency occur. Here are a few of our favorites for maintaining independence in seniors:
- Alarms: Alarms can now be installed with a digital camera positioned at an older person’s front door, providing a means to confirm who is at the door before going to answer it. These can be linked to a computer or smart phone.
- Webcams: Using webcams strategically around the home can help loved ones check in on aging adults any time. Webcams also allow loved ones who live far away to video chat with and visit with their loved ones “in person.”
- Medical Alerts: While medical alerts aren’t a new advancement, they have been evolving and making more efficient, effective models. They are worn by the senior, who can simply press a button in the event of a fall or other emergency. The older person is then connected to 911 or another emergency response service. Some systems can even determine if the person wearing it has experienced a fall, without needing to even press a button at all.
- Sensors: Just like with webcams, sensors can be positioned in and around the home to monitor a senior’s movement. These are particularly helpful for older adults with wandering problems. Most sensors can be attached to a TV or computer with an internet connection.
- Games: Technology has also given us enjoyable, innovative forms of entertainment, such as those for the Wii game platform, which encourages physical activity, as well as memory enhancement games that boost cognitive ability, like puzzles. Games provide hours of fun, but can also help enhance physical and emotional health. And with an internet connection, games can be played with friends and relatives who live at a distance.
- Automatic Pill Reminders/Dispensers: These are excellent tools for people with dementia or early stage Alzheimer’s who are still living alone. An alarm sounds, notifying the older person to take his or her meds, and the correct dose is dispensed. If the senior skips a dose, a message is sent to the caregiver after a predeterminedperiod of time.
To help relieve the anxiety and stress when you aren’t able to be physically present with your aging loved ones, and to help with maintaining independence in seniors, Endeavor offers a free in-home assessment to determine the most appropriate home care solution, as well as to provide more tips on how technology can help seniors at home. Contact us any time online or at 480-498-2324 to learn more about our senior home care in Chandler, AZ and the nearby areas.