In 1987, long before GPS became mainstream and smartphones were invented, Life Alert® began running its famous “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” commercials for its wearable medical alarm alert. Today, the wide range of technological devices that can help people stay safe at home offer everything from wireless sensors that detect falls to talking clocks that remind people to take their medications. A variety of free and low-cost smartphone apps track medical appointments, create grocery lists, and provide caregiving advice.
Technology gives people choices they never had before. Is it the answer to many people’s desire to age in place?
The answer is a resounding “yes” for some, a more cautious “maybe” for others. It all depends on how willing and able the person is to learn how to use the technology effectively without feeling it is too intrusive or complicated, the cost, and the comfort level of family members involved. According to the “Aging in Place Technology Watch,”1 new devices arriving on the market include:
• Amazon Echo Show. Available at the end of June 2017, this device allows users to make hands-free video calls to friends and family who have an Echo Show or the Alexa App, and make voice calls to anyone who has an Echo or Echo Dot. Users can also watch YouTube, see music lyrics, security cameras, photos, weather forecasts, to-do and shopping lists, and more.
• BioSensics Frailty Meter. Available in July 2017, the Frailty Meter is a wearable, portable system that measures weakness, slowness, exhaustion, and range-of-motion based on a 20-second elbow flexion-extension test. It includes a wireless sensor and touchscreen computer, and has the ability to provide instant charting and analysis and assess changes.
• Essence CareAtHome Active. This technology allows seniors to move between their homes and outdoors while maintaining connectivity with their families and TeleCare Service Providers with just one wearable device.
While technology can supplement caregiving and offer some peace of mind for the user and the family alike, it has its limitations and its use must always be evaluated as the senior’s health status changes. If falls become more frequent, the senior does not answer the phone or video calls, or misses medication in spite of high-tech reminders, it’s time to review other options.
At arrangeCARE, we keep up to date with new technology and help families utilize options that make caregiving easier or give aging loved ones expanded options for care.
Contact us today at 512-814-3228 or info@arrangeCARE.com to get help. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.