Aging in Place: Can Modern Technology Help Seniors?

By on August 7, 2018

By Caitlin Evans—

Aging includes a lot of changes that impact everything from appearance to mental and physical abilities. It is no wonder why we sometimes try so hard to hold on to the things we consider familiar. One of the biggest changes often imposed on seniors is living in a nursing home. While nursing homes today are places where they can live happily and be treated well by professionals, these establishments are often viewed negatively by the older adults, because they mean going into the unknown. On the other hand, honoring the desire of the older adults to stay at home could compromise their safety. Fortunately, the technology advancements are considering this huge issue, and some of them are designed to help seniors live a happy, safe, and fulfilled life while remaining as independent as possible.

A home is a place of comfort and familiarity, and technology can help seniors stay in that place without compromising their safety. However, it is crucial to understand that, while tech can be helpful, it will not take care of your loved ones and show them appreciation, love, and respect. It should be used as a helping hand for the caregiver, and they must be trained in using it.

The types of technology that can help

Of course, not all the modern-day technology makes sense when it comes to elderly care and lifestyle, and you shouldn’t expect for your parent or grandparent to accept revolutionary inventions you are using every day. Instead, you should keep things simple, and present them with apps and gadgets they need and that are easy to use. 

Furthermore, you need to know that not all older adults need the same tech, and the things you choose should be intended specifically for your parent. Think about your parent’s struggles, habits, and need? How can they be simplified or improved with technology? 

Only then you can find the specific technologies for them. It is always useful to have a medication reminder, regardless whether your loved one has trouble with memory or not.

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One of the biggest problems with aging in place is that older adults are frequently at home alone and some of them even go grocery shopping or do other things away from home all by themselves. Even when they don’t have some serious medical condition, accidents, injuries, and health incidents can happen at any time. Finding an appropriate medical alert system for their habits is of paramount importance. Some of these gadgets have precise built-in GPS programs, pill reminder features, and wellness checks.

There are even some home monitoring systems with activity-based sensors that can make your life easier and help you worry less by sending alerts or text messages when the elderly person hasn’t left the bedroom in the usual time and similar.

Besides dozens of useful apps and gadgets for safety and home assistance, there are games and devices intended to entertain and boost the brain function of older adults, which can be of tremendous help for preventing dementia and fighting with loneliness, boredom, and depression.

The challenges of bringing technology to seniors’ homes

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Learning new things can be overwhelming once you reach a certain age, and you need to show understanding for your parent or elderly family member. Minimize the trauma by explaining how technology can help them remain independent and encourage them to ask as many questions as they want.

If you find that you don’t have enough patience to calmly explain every little thing, ask your children or someone else to step in, and encourage them to visit seminars and centers that offer computer classes for older citizens.

Once they are used to the idea, equip their home with an internet connection, smartphone, and other necessary gadgets, but make sure you go with the simplest versions of the devices. While they are more used to buttons, touch screens could actually be easier for them to use. Other things to think about are large screens, big button menus, and most important functions displayed on the screen all the time.

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Providing our senior citizens with the possibility to grow old in the comfort of their home without extreme lifestyle changes should be our obligation. Smart technologies can help with that. The products currently available on the market are already changing the landscape and if this trend continues, we can expect many more fantastic advancements that can make everyone’s lives easier. 

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Aging in Place: Can Modern Technology Help Seniors?