By Christopher Wise
Nine out of 10 aging Americans want to stay in their homes as they age, an AARP survey discovered. Furthermore, people who reach age 65 have an average life expectancy of an additional 19 years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Fortunately, advances in technology are available to help these aging Americans remain in their homes for a longer period of time. Let’s take a look at the top tools helping Americans to remain at home while they age:
Remote Pacemaker Monitoring Device
Individuals with pacemakers usually visit their doctors several times each year to have it checked. Some of these individuals can now send data remotely using a standard phone line and a device called a Carelink Home Monitor.
This cellular medication dispenser lets your loved one know when it is time to take medication. The dispenser has an internal cellular connection with Medical Alert and can alert any number of caregivers if there is a problem. To learn more, visit medminder.com.
Remote Video Monitoring Systems
AlarmShield and other home security systems enable family members to visually contact and monitor their elderly loved ones using their mobile device. Besides providing home security, they can be used to make sure your seniors are eating, taking their meds and remaining active. Of course there are also the medical alert systems, also called PERS or Personal Emergency Response Systems. You’ve heard them advertised — “Help, I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up.”
Devices for Those with Poor Eyesight
Most seniors will experience some form of eyesight deterioration. When the glasses aren’t enough, consider the following:
- Use talking devices. This includes talking clocks, indoor and outdoor thermometers, timers, scales, calculators, blood pressure and heart monitors and glucometers.
- Go extra large. Use large-button remote controls for TV, DVD and VCRs, keyboards with oversized letters and lighted, battery-operated magnifiers.
- Get special software. It’s available for magnification, speech and voice recognition purposes, as are magnifying screens for televisions and computers.
Devices to Help the Hard of Hearing
- Telephones. There are telephones that have both audio and visual cues, voice-activated dialers and amplifiers that allow you to adjust the pitch, tone and volume. Uniden offers oversized keys on both corded and cordless telephones. Some phones have answering machines that blink and beep whenever there is a message and once activated, the message automatically plays on the unit’s speaker. Smartphones can do much more than make voice calls. They also make video calls that allows deaf people to sign, include accelerometers and PERS-like apps, can vibrate to signal incoming calls, and much more. Seniors may avoid them initially, but if you set it up for them with the right apps, they’ll quickly warm to the idea.
- Smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and doorbells. Models are available with both audio and visual cues such as flashing lights.
- Alarm clocks. There are vibrating alarm clocks to place under the pillow.
Devices for Those with Memory Loss
Many electric appliances are now available with automatic shut-off. Likewise, you can also install timed faucets that will turn water off automatically if your loved one forgets.
GPS shoes and watches are designed to track a lost or missing individual. These devices are perfect for those suffering with Alzheimer’s. To learn more about the shoes, visit gpsshoe.com; to learn more about the watches, visit keruve.com.
About the Author:
Chris Wise retired last year from a 30-year career as a health care administrator to get busy in the grandparenting business. He writes about health and health care when he’s not coaching Little League or shuttling little girls to dance class.