With innovations in health care, medicine, and nutrition, it’s no surprise that Americans are getting older. By 2030, nearly 20% of Americans will be over 65– and nearly 90% of them want to stay in their own homes as they age.
As aging in place continues to rise, seniors are increasingly looking towards technology to stay safe and connected. From personal alert systems to cell phones and tablets, seniors are embracing technology and all of its benefits. Whether aging seniors are tech-savvy, or prefer simple ways of communicating at home, these products and services can assist seniors with safety, entertainment, health/wellness, communication, and assistance.
Many of the most convenient technologies can be free, such as the Skype App for iPad (which allows users to make video or voice calls) or the Tek Partner Universal Remote Control (which is a large remote control with large buttons to help users read the buttons easily).
Other popular and useful technologies for a low price include the 5Star Medical Device Alert and Splash ($49.95), which allows users to connect with an agent who can provide help in dangerous situations, and the Jitterbug Cell Phone ($99 plus monthly calling plans), which is an easy-to-use cell phone for the visually impaired. For seniors and caregivers concerned about medication maintenance, the TabSafe dispenses and monitors use of medication, and it sends alerts to caregivers if the medication is refused or not taken. As an added bonus, the TabSafe is often covered by insurance and runs less than $100 a month for monitoring services.
One especially versatile piece of technology for seniors is the Apple iPad ($299 and up). With a larger screen than a cell phone and an easy-to-use touch screen interface, seniors and caregivers can download a wide variety of apps for entertainment, communication, and assistance.
For families who live far away from their senior or aren’t always able to communicate, there are many options for home safety systems for seniors aging at home. The BeClose (prices starting at $399) uses wireless sensors to detect activity and send alerts if there is a sudden lack of activity. Similarly, MobileHelp (prices starting at $443.50) is a dual-use emergency contact device, using a mobile, GPS-connected emergency button that can provide information on someone’s location even if they are unable to communicate.
Technology for seniors aging at home can also help improve communication and cooking safety. The Telikin (starting at $699) is a senior-friendly computer system with software for communication pre-installed. For seniors who enjoy home-cooked meals, the Safe-T-Element cooking system (starting at $240) is a temperature-sensing plate system that is installed over stove burners and will automatically shut off the stove if dangerous temperatures are reached.
As America continues to age, these technologies will continue to help seniors age in place comfortably. Whether you’re a senior who wants to be able to use the television remote easily or you’re a caregiver who wants peace of mind knowing that your loved one is safe in their home, there’s a piece of technology that can help seniors, family, and caregivers to stay safe, in touch, and happy in your home.
*Products and prices may vary. Price and source information was gathered in May 2014. Check manufacturer websites for up-to-date information.
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