The U.S. aging population in Washington DC is increasing, and most seniors prefer to age in their home. However, they need technology solutions such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Ambient/ Active Assisted Living (AAL), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Wellness technology solution that can support independent living. Unfortunately, low technology literacy, physical impairment, and lack of understanding of technology terms act as the main barrier to adopting this technology for seniors. Other concerns include sensitivity to the invasion of personal information such as internet search history, family health history, and bank account information. Technology solution for the elderly can be classified into different beneficial categories such as:
- Technologies are enhancing accessible communication for the elderly.
- Emergency assistance technologies such as alarm system
- Physical well-being technologies for aging in place
- Mental well-being devices such as biofeedback device, neurofeedback headband, and electroencephalogram (EEG).
- Home security.
- Telehealth and health care apps.
- Fraud protection.
Implications for Creating Age-Friendly Communities
Creating an aging-friendly community has always been an afterthought for most people. However, with the increasing aging population and dependency levels, incorporating technology solutions to monitor our seniors has been welcome by many. International bodies such as the World Health Organization are currently spearheading movements to promote age-friendly homes for senior citizens. However, essential inputs such as privacy and technology literacy remain pivotal in promoting the acceptability of this technology solution for those aging in place. Often most manufacturers innovate and develop smart devices without consulting the end-user. However, this top-down design must change if the manufacturer hopes to improve these products. The aim of having technology solution for the elder include but not limited to the following:
- To improve care.
- To increase the quality of life.
- Technology solutions substantially decrease the emotional and financial costs that come with caring for aging.
- To enable older people to stay in their homes, remain independent and maintain autonomy
- To give policymakers in aged care less expensive (and preferable) alternatives to institutional care
- To provide alternatives to fighting loneliness and its implications on mental health.
- Bridging the gap between seniors and essential medical service.
Ten Effective and Useful Technologies for Aging in Place
Although adopting new technology into seniors’ daily life may be challenging now that this is a significant transition in their lives. However, the advantages accruing from this technology is worth a try. Here are the top 13 useful technologies worth consideration:
1. Elderly security cameras
Monitoring the elderly is now a reality, thanks to the elderly security cameras. Regardless of your location, you can always glimpse what is happening at home on your computer or smartphone. Such a camera remains useful, especially if you do not live with your parents. With statics depicting that at least one elderly parent out of ten in the U.S.A. experiences adult abuse, it is time you watch your parents. Elderly monitoring systems have become increasingly popular for the following reasons:
- With an elderly monitoring camera, you can monitor senior with Alzheimer’s.
- You can listen to you parent if you choose to install a camera monitoring system that enables two-way audio.
- If your parent is in the nursing home or under the care of a caregiver, you can ensure that they are not abused by monitoring them through the nanny camera for the elderly.
Most modern smart surveillance cameras feature HD video recording, motion and sound sensors, voice-activated systems, night vision cameras, and the ability to communicate with connected devices. Remain assured that you will monitor every activity inside and outside your parents’ home.
2. Video Doorbell
This technology solution for the elderly is effective for seniors with mobility issues. As parents age, they may become paranoid, especially during the night. For this reason, they may remain reluctant to open the door when they do not know who is ringing the doorbell. Fortunately, the homeowner can see who is at the door through the app with a smart doorbell. Besides, you can also connect the camera to your smartphone and remotely monitor the people visiting your parents. Some versions also come with additional features such as night vision and motion sensors.
3. Smart Thermostat
Elderly people remain at high risk to suffer more during weather changes. Those with mobility changes are sensitive to cold now that their movement is limited. While a thermostat proves essential in regulating home temperature, senior parents often experience challenges adjusting traditional thermostats. Therefore, you can choose a smart thermostat operated remotely from a voice-activated system such as Apple Homekit to resolve this need.
4. Smart Medication Dispenser
Elderly people have a high prevalence of infections due to weakened immunity. Therefore, it highly likely that they take various medication regularly. While it is essential to take care of them or hire a caregiver to do it on your behalf, you can install a smart medication dispenser to minimize risks such as accidental overdose. Companies such as Med Minder manufacture remotely activated and monitored smart pill dispensers. Besides allowing you to check if medication has been taken, you can also include a pre-recorded message to remind your elderly parent when to take their medicine.
5. Personalized Reminder Device
In addition to a smart medication reminder, you can also purchase a personalized reminder device for aging parents. This device will remain essential for parents who have dementia. You can enhance their ability to live independently by having a device that reminds them to perform their daily tasks such as walking the dog and taking medication. Besides, most personalized reminder devices remain voice-activated systems that incorporate personalized alert message. Hearing a message from a familiar voice can be reassuring to most parents.
6. Remote Fitness Monitor
As parents age, likely, they will not prioritize their physical well-being. Therefore, it is your responsibility to ensure that you stay fit to minimize the risk and prevalence of lifestyle conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, strokes, and hypertension. Smart devices such as wearable devices will help you monitor vitals such as heart rate, sleep levels, and activity levels.
7. Activity Monitor
You can make an elderly parent’s home safer by installing activity sensors such as motion sensors at strategic points to confirm they are safe and well. You can always be at peace by having a monitoring system that tracks your parent’s movement and sends you real-time activity report.
8. GPS Locator Watch
This device gives you the flexibility to be elsewhere while keeping an eye on seniors. You can always be at ease knowing your parent’s GPS location. This device is essential if your parent exhibits symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Such devices send you your loved one’s zip and address location instantly. Besides, you also get alerts if they forget to wear the device.
9. Voice-Activated Smart Home
As parents age, their manual dexterity deteriorates and impacts their independence. Their finger movement worsens, and the force to control tasks reduces significantly. When aging affects their lives to this point, it is crucial to consider automating their home. Upgrade your home to a modern voice-activated smart environment. You can choose smart devices that accept a wide range of voice commands. Besides, you can also consider synchronizing home devices that can synchronize smart appliances to aid the less mentally and physically able to live independently.
10. Cabinet Sensors and Automated Doors
If your parent lives in a place likely to attract criminal activities, it will help if you can install smart home systems capable of detecting suspicious activities. Link your parent’s door and cabinets to your smart home system, and you will receive when there is a possible break-in, motion in the house or opening of doors.
11. Smart Lights
A motion detecting system that boosts lighting in the area where it is needed most can deliver peace of mind pertaining security of your parents. Insufficient light in the house often contribute to falls, and installing smart light in bedrooms, walkways, and stairs is an effective fall prevention strategy.
12. Smart Beds
The bedroom is among the best places where your parents can get comfort. You can enhance this by including smart lights and adjustable beds for convenience. Besides, the beds can also reduce pain symptoms, improve blood circulation. Some beds also include memory form, which is effective for those who have arthritis. The parent’s physiological makeup dictates that their bodies require more rest, and having an adjustable bed could impact their comfort at home.
13. Simple Communication Interface
Staying in touch with your parents is essential, especially if they are living on their own. Unfortunately, modern smartphones can be challenging juggling around for the elderly. Having a simple interface that provides immediate access to essential communication tools such as messages, the internet, and emails can enhance communication with your parents. Manufacturers can personalize such devices by programming them to provide alerts. They can also be used in smart calling in an automated home.
On the Bottom Line:
The main aim of aging in place is to guarantee that senior citizens live an independent life in their homes as they grow older each day. While some parents age without needing much assurance, others require supportive services, assistive demotic, and constant caregiver by the side. A smart home with personalized reminder devices, cameras for seniors, wireless sensors, and other innovative technologies is essential for those who wish to remain independent, safe, and comfortable in their own homes as they grow old. At AIVI global, we will help you automate your home to ensure that your parent continues living safely and independently. Contact us for a free estimate today!