Technology can be useful in helping seniors remain independent at home. More and more seniors are using devices to help them perform everyday tasks, set reminders and enjoy music or e-books.
Here are some to consider:
Tablets and e-readers
Many seniors use tablets instead of a personal computer. Handheld tablets are easier and lighter to hold. They have high resolution screens for reading, video calling, checking email, sharing photos and surfing the web. E-readers allow people to enlarge text so it’s easier to read. Tablets have lots of apps that can be helpful, like those for tracking vital signs, keeping notes and staying connected with friends and family. Caregivers can help download apps, music and books, set up type size, store contacts, and show seniors how to use the device so their learning curve is minimized.
Wearable fitness trackers make it easy for seniors to track their movement and sleep activity throughout the day and night. The devices are usually worn like a watch and allow people to see how many steps they’ve taken throughout the day as well as how many hours they are sleeping each night. Caregivers can help upload the information in the tracker to a smart phone or other device so the senior can track how they are progressing.
According to the Program in Senior Housing Administration at George Mason University, medication errors are the leading cause of hospitalizations in people over age 75. Medication monitors remind users when and how to take their medications. Some monitors are combined with medical alert systems that use cell phone technology and contact first the senior, then a friend, family member or caregiver who has been programmed into the device, and then emergency response. Caregivers can monitor the devices remotely and act if medication is being taken improperly.
Additional devices such as medical alert systems, fall detectors, remote vital sign monitoring, and GPS tracking for dementia patients can allow seniors to stay in their homes and live independently and safely. These devices and others can provide comfort and peace of mind for family members concerned about their loved ones.