• Carrie Klaege

Seniors and Technology

Updated: Apr 21, 2019

Assistive technology can make a difference in seniors’ lives. One of the benefits of technology is that it can improve quality of life. Assistive technology for seniors is designed to enhance safety and well-being, as well and increase their chances of remaining independent and in their own home.

Assistive tech for seniors supports their health, safety, and quality of life. There are many types of tech designed for these purposes. Some of these technologies are digital and cutting-edge, others are more basic.

Here are five devices that can help you maintain your independence:

1. Medication Monitors: According to Andrew Carle, founding director of 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. They then repeat the alert if the medication isn’t taken within a specified time and will also call a caregiver if too much time passes.

2. GPS Insoles: The GPS SmartSole (www.gpssmartsole.com) is a newer product that inserts into shoes and can locate the person wearing them. Since it fits into the shoe like an insole, it is discreet and perfect for the person who doesn’t want to wear technology on their arm or person. Placing these insoles into the shoes of an individual who has Alzheimer’s or dementia will help track them if they happen to wander. Perimeters can be set, and notifications sent if the person leaves a specified area.

3. UPEASY Power Seat: Many people can benefit from a lift chair, especially those who struggle with stability, leg or back weakness. While lift chairs are very helpful in the home, this portable device can help you no matter where you are! The UPEASY Power Seat can easily transform any firm surface armchair into a lift chair and has a 10-foot power cord included. The device will not work on a padded or cushioned surface. It operates easily using the power lever located on the left-hand side of the cushion. When you're ready to sit, simply push down on the power lever, and lift the power lever when you're ready to get up again. When you are ready to stand this assistive device will help support but will not fully lift you into the standing position. Weighing only 12 pounds, this power cushion has a built-in carry handle, which makes it easy to take from place to place.

4. TV Ears: Many people with hearing loss find watching television frustrating but turning up the volume can be a problem for others in your home. Put on your TV Ears and turn them up as loud as you want while others listen to the television at a comfortable volume. You can even put the TV on mute and listen through the headset only. Others in the room won’t hear a thing. Imagine watching television with your family again without fighting over the TV volume or listening in private while a loved one sleeps or reads.

5. SmartLocks and Video Doorbells: There are many affordable smart locks on the market, so it is no longer necessary to worry about unlocked doors. When linked with a smart hub or online app, your or your caregivers can set the locks on a schedule (lock every night after

9 pm), check their status, or be notified when there is irregular access (someone unlocks the door between the hours of 9 pm and 5 am). When paired with an arrival sensor, smartphone, or location tracker, smart locks can be programmed to allow keyless entry for those with arthritic hands.

A smart lock is great for making sure the doors are locked at night, but by itself, you still have to get up and check the door to see who is there before they unlock it.

The combination of a smart lock and smart doorbell allows the user and/or the caregiver to get a notification when the doorbell rings, check the camera, and then unlock the smart lock… without ever getting up or leaving whatever task they are in the middle of.

How to Choose an Assistive Device: With all of the options out there for assistive devices, it can be a challenge to know how to choose the right one. Seniors can use these tips to choose the best assistive devices for their needs:

· How to Research: Online searches, customer reviews, and senior service agencies are great places to find out about the kinds of assistive tech out there. When it comes to comparing the devices themselves, it’s best to use verified sources like Consumer Reports.

· Where to Buy: Assistive tech can sometimes be purchased directly from the companies that manufacture them. Big box stores like Best Buy or Walmart sometimes carry devices. Online retailers, like Amazon.com, often sell assistive tech as well.

What to Consider Before Purchasing: there are several steps you should consider before purchasing assistive tech:

· Compare consumer produce reviews

· Verify the manufacturer’s reputation with the Better Business Bureau

· Look for coupons or discounts

· Check on return policies

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