Smart Technology for Senior Safety
Technology dominates the world we live in. And, it is increasing/changing all the time. For our elderly parents, an effort may be required to get “old dogs to learn new tricks”. Some seniors may not be interested…or able, to comprehend and utilize home tech devices. But for many, such technology will provide a real boost in home help, schedules, monitoring, and safety.
Re-posting from an industry source. Some good information to follow.
1. Your Home needs a Technology Hub
If you’re new to smart technology, then you may not yet realize that before you can start benefiting from most individual smart home products, you need to purchase a product that will get them all on the same system.
For seniors who are uncomfortable with the idea of figuring out a large number of different apps, getting a smart home assistant like Amazon Echo or Google Home will give you one product that can link all your smart tech together.
In addition, voice commands/controls are options for most of the products on the market. For many seniors, being able to turn a product on and off with voice commands will be more intuitive and useful than having to find their phone, identify the right app on it and make the change through the app every time they need to use the product.
2. Smart Medication Dispensers
I have seen this technology in action. What a huge benefit for someone trying to manage medication schedules for over a dozen pills per day.
It’s unfortunate that the time in life when you’re likely to need the most medication is also the time in life when your memory’s most likely to fail. Elders frequently have a number of meds they have to take at specific times throughout the day, and often mistakes happen. Forgetting to take a particular pill, or taking one at the wrong time when it could interact badly with another, can lead to serious health complications.
Smart medication dispensers like MedMinder and Reminder automate the process of getting the right pills to your elderly parents at the right time, every day. Some smart medication products will also alert you if your loved one fails to take a med at the right time – so you can step in and contact them directly.
3. Smart Home Sensors
Many families struggle with finding the right balance between giving an aging parents their independence and still making sure they get the level of care they need. Smart home sensors are a tool that can help stretch the length of time seniors can live on their own, while giving families a method to keep tabs, and make sure they stay safe.
Smart home sensors for seniors often have a component that makes it easy for the senior to call for help if there’s an emergency. They typically also provide a way to track ongoing activities like how often the senior moves through certain rooms or opens the refrigerator, in order to give loved ones a quick indication if their daily habits change. That way, if your loved one starts to experience depression or an illness that keeps them from being as active as usual or eating a healthy amount, you get an early notice that’s something’s awry.
4. Smart Lights
Falls are the number one cause of injury in seniors. One-third of seniors fall every year and 2.3 million of them end up in the emergency room because of a fall. It’s a serious issue.
One way you can reduce your parent or senior’s fall risk is to make sure good lighting is installed throughout their home and that they can always easily turn on a light from wherever they are. That means never having to walk across a dark room to get to the light switch.
Smart lights can be turned on with a smartphone app or, if connected to a smart home assistant, with a voice command. Having an easy way to turn on the light before getting up from the couch or getting out of bed at night — without having to stumble toward an inconveniently placed switch — can make a big difference to how safe a senior is when moving through their own home in the dark.
5. Smart Stove Shutoff
You don’t have to have an aging brain or dementia diagnosis to forget to turn off the oven from time to time. It’s easy to do and potentially really dangerous! That’s why one of the most useful smart tech items for seniors, especially any senior that likes to cook, is a smart stove shutoff device.
There are a number of smart stove shutoff products that will automatically turn the stove off if it’s been left on for too long. Some work by using a simple timer – after a certain amount of time, it goes off. Some provide more sophisticated features like an automatic shutoff that’s triggered when the smoke alarm goes off, a motion detector that senses when you’re in the room, and/or phone alerts letting you know when the stove’s been on for too long.
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John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions.
Phone: (781) 378-2164