You Don’t Have to Be a Tech-Savvy Senior to Benefit from Technology
When our parents were younger, telephones were wired to walls, mail was delivered by postmen, and if grown children lived at a distance from their parents, checking in on them meant asking a neighbor to stop by to see how they were making out. If seniors were housebound as a result of illness or frailty, they could very easily start feeling isolated and cut off from the rest of the world. Social circles grew smaller, and distant family members often felt at a loss because they weren’t able to be there to help. But the world has changed dramatically over the past few decades and technology has changed how we communicate and function with our everyday tasks. Technology has also allowed for a revolution in home care for older adults and those who ordinarily might not have been able to manage living alone. With the proliferation of smart technology, social media and telecommunications platforms, senior in-home care means greater connection, comfort and engagement than ever before. And you don’t need to be a tech-savvy senior to benefit from it!
Many new technologies have infinite applications for senior home care, from traditional medical apps to socially-driven engagement platforms. Not only do these tools bring peace of mind to older adults, their caregivers and families, but, more importantly, they allow for more freedom, more independence and an enhanced quality of life. Nowadays, just because you’re home alone doesn’t mean you can’t connect, converse and feel like you’re a part of something beyond your immediate surroundings. And likewise, if a medical emergency should arise, it’s these technological enhancements that help keep loved ones safe and cared for. Here are a few favorites:
- Webcams: Installing webcams around the home allows family members and caregivers the ability to virtually check in with the senior at any time. Webcams also provide the opportunity for family members who live far way to video chat with and see their loved ones “in person.”
- Alarm Systems: Alarm systems can now be installed with cameras at the front door, allowing residents to confirm who is at the door before opening it. These can be hooked up to a computer or a smartphone.
- Sensor Monitors: In tandem with webcams, sensors can be used throughout the home to track movement. These are especially helpful for seniors with ambulation or wandering problems. Most sensor systems hook up to a TV or computer monitor and an Internet connection.
- Medical Alert Pendants: These devices have been around for years now, but continue to be updated to increase effectiveness. They are worn by the senior and the button is pressed in the event of a fall or other emergency, connecting the older adult to 911 or another emergency response service. Some systems even can tell if the person wearing it has fallen, without the need to even press a button.
- Automatic Pill Reminders/Dispensers: These may be good tools for people with Alzheimer’s disease who are still able to live independently. An alarm goes off, alerting the senior by a voice message to take his or her meds, and dispensing the correct dose. If the older person misses a dose, an alert is sent to the caregiver after a designated time.
- Games and Apps: Technology has also given us new options for entertainment, such as the Wii gaming system, which encourages movement and activity, as well as games that challenge our mind, such as memory puzzles. These can provide hours of fun, and may also help improve physical and mental health. Using the Internet, games can often be played with friends and family who live miles away.
To help put your mind at ease when you can’t be with your elderly parents, and to help them maintain as much independence as possible, Hired Hands Homecare, a provider of senior care in Napa, CA, can provide you with a free in-home consultation to determine what type of home care services your parents may need and what technology could best help them. And since technology is only one part of the care equation, our professional staff can also provide basic home care services, such as light housekeeping and meal preparation, as well as personal care, specialized disease management, and more.