How Smart Home Gadgets Could Improve Seniors’ Health
Though your Mother, Father, Grandma, and Grandpa refuse to admit it, they’re getting older. Their whole generation is! The boomer generation, one of the largest demographics in the Western world, is slowly easing its way towards retirement, putting a strain on relatives, at-home care professionals, hospitals, and government coffers.
The self-serve, smart home technological boom couldn’t have come at a better time. Though cold, emotionless gadgets are a poor substitute for a son or daughter’s helping hand, technology has certainly come a long way.
The tech market is booming with a whole host of devices that can make the lives of seniors easier, healthier, and safer. Smart devices can help keep your aging relatives independent, too! Today, we explore the ways in which the golden age of at-home tech can air your aging loved ones well in to their golden age. Let’s go!
Voice-Activated Personal Assistants
AI controlled personal assistants used to be a sci-fi pipe dream. Not anymore. These days, a quick trip to Best Buy and 50-bucks can buy you a personal assistant that’s far superior to that lady that works the front desk of your office building. Alexa won’t clip her fingernails above her keyboard either.
That’s right! Whether you opt for Amazon Echo, Google Home, Microsoft’s Cortana, or Apple’s Siri doesn’t really matter. The important thing is that, all of the devices above allow seniors to offload the daily heavy lifting to a computer.
Using a series of simple and intuitive voice commands, seniors can set reminders, order food to their door, listen to audio books and music, and even make phone calls!
Loneliness is about much more than depression. Social isolation kills. It’s a fact. Researchers at Brigham Young U in Utah have determined that social isolation negatively affects the health seniors just as much as alcoholism or smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
Thankfully, catching up with the little ones is infinitely easier with video conferencing apps and services like Skype and FaceTime. Though it’s tough to replace the tender touch of your grandkids, video conferencing is certainly an adequate plan B. The apps are easy to use too! Just teach Grandma to open the app and, of course, call her!
Health Trackers are great at maximizing workout efficiency and tracking progress. They’re also great at monitoring the vitals of seniors. There’s an app that effectively transforms the Apple Watch into a panic button for medical emergencies, the app RightMinder can (among other things) help detect falls, and that’s before we even get in to the wide variety of senior-specific, wearable tech.
Also worth noting is the GlucoMe diabetes care platform. Using a mobile app and a smart glucose monitor, the GlucoMe service helps patients, caregivers, and medical professionals track diabetes easily and effectively.
Every single day, the medical community is developing new ways to track and manage life-threatening illnesses. If your aging loved one is having a hard time managing theirs, then technology may offer up an answer.
You read that right. Mankind hasn’t quite reached The Jetsons’ level of at-home, personal assistant robots, but even still, the robotics industry has come a long way.
ElliQ, for instance, is billed as a proactive AI driven social robot built with the elderly in mind. The ElliQ smart robot is like a Google Home on steroids. Armed with a swiveling head, tablet, and a series of cameras, speakers, and microphones, ElliQ can suggest personalized activities to get you up and moving, it can connect you to your loved ones via Wi-Fi, it can keep you up to date on your appointments, and it can even tell you jokes.
It may be a bit on the expensive side, but ElliQ could quite possibly protect the independence of your elderly loved ones, and can you really put a price on that?
Smart appliances have been around for a while, but their impact on the lives of seniors has yet to diminish. Wi-Fi enabled appliances can help offload some of the tedious, day-to-day tasks that make living at home a headache for millions of seniors around the world.
Smart thermostats make temperature adjustments easier and even automated. Smart kitchen gadgets can make at-home meals easier and safer to prepare. Smart fridges can prepare grocery lists and even order food to be delivered right to your door. What a world!
Senior Friendly Devices
If my Grandma has taught me anything, it’s that the elderly love technology too! Assuming that the devices are easy to use. Thankfully the tech world is filling the senior citizen demographic with gadgets that are easy to use.
SnapFon couples affordable cellular plans with devices designed with larger buttons and a simple operating system in an effort to keep seniors connected.
GrandPad takes aim at the ever-growing number of tech-savvy seniors with their popular and powerful tablet.
Smart lighting has been around since The Clapper, though it’s gotten a heck of a lot smarter over the years.
These days, smart lights can be programmed to flood a room with light using motion sensors, timers, and even cell phone apps. Which is incredibly important for the seniors (and their loved ones) looking to lower the risk of slips and falls.
For just a few hundred dollars and a couple of minutes of programming time, you can instantaneously reduce the risk of dangerous accidents. It’s worth the time and the money, without a doubt.
Medicine Smart Boxes
Often times aging gracefully requires a plethora of medications. The thing is, a cocktail of daily, weekly and, monthly medications can be complicated to keep track of and, more importantly, dangerous if improperly managed. Don’t worry Great Aunt Lucy, technology has got you covered on that front, too.
There are a lot of smart pill boxes available on the market. Take the GMS Med-e-lert Automatic Pill Dispenser for example. This crafty little pill box has 28 trays, six programmable schedules, and can easily be loaded and locked by a caregiver.
Looking for something a little smarter? Then perhaps the VV-Box is more your style. The VV-Box uses the Internet, a companion app, and your pills to send reminders that can be recorded using the voice of a loved one. I mean, it’s pretty difficult to deny your pills when your grandson yells “Pill Time!”
Medical alert bracelets have been around for quite a while, but they’ve come a significantly long way.
Take the Sonamba Wellbeing Monitor for example. This handy little device allows loved ones and care givers to keep an eye on their aging friends with motion sensors, text message alerts, and more. The interactive Sonamba Hub sits on a counter top and is about the size of a digital picture frame that will light up with important reminders and can be used to alert first responders in the event of an emergency.
Peace of mind may cost you a few extra dollars, but the options certainly are out there.
You don’t need to be a senior to enjoy the many benefits of house-cleaning robots, but a Roomba can certainly help lighten the chore load for Grandma and Grandpa.
These intuitive devises use motion sensors and a daily timer to vacuum up the dirt and dust so that you don’t have to. What’s more, they are widely available and, for the most part, fairly cost effective.
The gift of a robot vacuum is one that keeps giving and may help maintain your loved one’s independence for a little while longer.