Aging in place is an attractive option for many older adults. Living in place at home for older adults has become easier with the numerous options for technology. Devices to assist your daily tasks, mobile apps and medical alert systems help to keep you independent in your home.
New technology can be intimidating but educating yourself will help to lessen your anxiety and frustration. Let’s have a look at the technology options available to make your life safer, better and more fulfilling.
Smartphones are quite beneficial for seniors. Mobile applications, or mobile apps are designed to run on smartphones and some are even preloaded when you purchase one. Here are some benefits to having a smartphone:
Smart Security Systems
A smart security system can monitor doors, windows and trigger an alarm that can notify authorities (with 24/7 monitoring) and/or caregivers if there’s a problem. You can choose to be notified by text messages and other means of communication. It can also be connected to smoke alarms, flood, freeze/temperature sensors, glass-break sensors, doorbell alarms, panic buttons and many others. Sensors can also alert you to environmental threats like carbon monoxide, smoke, water leaks, and freezing water pipes.
You can even share access with a family member who can check in through their own smartphone app. Many companies offer easy to use systems for seniors that can be installed in large homes, condos and living senior spaces using peel and stick adhesive strips.
You can use voice commands or a smartphone app via Alexa, Google Home, or Siri. The systems will allow arm and disarm from the comfort of your couch, bed or while on a outdoor walk. If you aren’t tech savvy you can arm and disarm using the system’s keypad or a remote-control button that attaches to a key ring.
Voice-Activated Virtual Assistants
A virtual assistant understands voice commands and completes those requested tasks for you. They are available on most smartphones, tablets, traditional computers and standalone devices like the Amazon Echo and Siri. They listen for specific commands from you and can answer back in a voice you select.
They can do many things like answer questions, tell jokes and play music. Your voice can request and control devices in your home such as lights, thermostats, door locks, and smart home devices. They can send text messages, make phone calls, and set up reminders.
Your virtual assistant will get to know your habits and preferences, understand natural language, recognize faces, identify objects, and communicate with other smart devices.
You can also use your iPhones to type questions or commands to your virtual assistant instead of speaking to them. Your assistant can respond by voice or text if you prefer that over voice.
Medical Alert Systems
Medical alert systems are a great way to ensure you can age in place by monitoring your safety and getting help quickly in an emergency. They are small devices like bracelets, watches, beltclips or necklaces that can alert a monitoring center and/or loved ones. They are especially useful if you walk with an unsteady gait, have dizziness or vertigo because of medications or have a history of seizures or disorientation. They can also be very useful in situations such as:
Using technology allows you to stay independent longer and keep control of your life. Explore the various technologies available and I’m sure you will find one that suits your personality.