If you’ve got a senior in need of care, the development of technology in this field is great so you might want to check it out. From cameras installed inside their home, to phone apps to keep them occupied and especially emergency rescue services if something bad happens, the possibilities are endless.
How important is this?
According to the Census Bureau, seniors make up more than 13 percent of the United States population or, in numbers, roughly 43 million people. What’s more, as a result of the baby boomer generation that number is growing every year, especially since more than half of the baby boomers around the country – some 76 million of them – are not yet classified as ‘seniors’.
Watching those numbers, we can see that it is crucial for those people to become aware of the many facets of senior care, sooner rather than later. For centuries, this has been taken care of somewhat routinely and with an obvious lack of interest in discovering new things.
A senior will usually have a doctor who will diagnose and maintain medication needs as well as a caregiver, usually a family member or a group of nurses, who will satisfy his or her daily needs. Other than that, they may sometimes require assistance due to a number of occurring issues like lack of mobility, memory loss, loss in vision or hearing, or even loneliness.
Thankfully for the so-called ‘baby boomers’, they seem to have found the perfect time for aging since technology has never been better when it comes to senior care. Over the last 10 to 15 years, due to the amazing development of smartphones and advances GPS, this domain has also known some formidable progress thanks to the technology associated with it.
Since things have gotten to the point where sometimes seniors can be taken care of even without a human being present, let’s take a look at how technology has helped the dissemination of medical information and improved senior care overall.
The GPS or, in plain English, the Global Positioning System, has already been around for decades but two key features have greatly improved in the last 10 years: location accuracy and the detail that the system of satellites from Space is able to convey.
When it comes to senior care, a GPS system can be great in helping a senior who may be lost due to memory problems. Elders with such issues stemming from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease often happen to be found wandering and sometimes disoriented, even if they usually know their location well.
Since research shows that if a person who is missing is not found within 24 hours, up to half of those individuals will suffer serious injury or death, you can, therefore, understand the pressing need of locating seniors.
Having updated GPS services and technology can be a tremendous help with that since there are companies that produce GPS trackers small enough to be ironed into clothing, put in handbags, or even placed in the soles of shoes.
You can simply get one of these, place them in your senior’s routine clothing accessories and never worry about where they might be again.
Unfortunately, not all the caretakers we hire for them can be trusted with being patient and understanding with older people. Elder abuse seems to be a real issue these days, especially since the National Council of Aging warns that about one in 10 adults over the age of 60 faces some sort of regular abuse, be it physical, emotional, sexual, or any other form.
With about 5 million elders estimated to be abused each year and only one in every 14 cases going through to the authorities, it never hurts to prepare yourself and cameras can go a long way toward helping you with that.
A concerned family can install a few cameras around the house to make sure the seniors are being treated properly, especially since there’s quite the history of nurses being caught on camera taking some sort of advantage of elders.
Another bonus is that cameras can also help health professionals track the movements of seniors with health and mental issues and notice their habits and tendencies in a natural, home environment.
However, seniors are bound to be fixated on some things and concepts so some of them might not like the thought of an invasive camera watching them throughout the day. If this is the case, sensors are an alternative worth mentioning because they are small, wireless pieces of technology that can help you keep track of how active a person is.
For instance, if they pick up any odd behavior or change in activity, they can send an automatic notification via things like text, phone, or email that something may be wrong. In other words, if your senior is not getting out of bed at the regular time or is not entering the bathroom to get the medication when he/she is supposed to, you’ll know.
Let’s face it, phone apps are one of the biggest advancements in modern technology and something that is an advantage for all of us, not just for seniors. They can, however, help both elders and caregivers in a number of ways since any basic smartphone can download apps that help monitor things like medication, heart rate, and even location.
Apps can also be a great help for families since the information they collect can be safely and instantly sent to doctors to help them keep tabs on the senior and even as research material to study things like their mobility and the effects of medication.
In the simplest forms, apps are also a great way to keep elders occupied and think about something fun and exciting. Remember that these did not exist when they were growing up, so assure them that a slow, unenthusiastic life is not the only thing in the cards these days just because they got older and stopped working.
A study found that most retired people like to occupy their time with reading and the pursuit of religious activities. There’s probably no need to tell you that there are endless apps that have been developed to help a person stay informed with the news while things like the British Library app will make your elder gape in wonder at the tons of books available to be read.
In case you didn’t know, you can get devices that allow seniors to get help and also receive a better understanding of their medical duties for a regular day. You’ll find that it’s quite nice to rest assured that they have taken their medicine and even tried to do some exercise without you having to personally remind them to do it.
Since seniors love touchscreen tablets, there are dozens of apps that come with automated voices and allow them to feel as if someone is right there, helping them. This is an extremely important feeling to induce your elder, especially if they are aging alone.
If you really want to go all techy-techy and if your senior agrees with it, there are even robots that are specifically designed to roam around their house and vocally remind them to take their medication, listen to music, and a ton of other fun activities.
Emergency response services
About two decades ago, Life Alert revolutionized senior care by developing emergency response services (ERS) for seniors who suffered an injury when they’re alone with nobody to help around them.
Over the next twenty years, tons of companies around the world have improved these systems vastly with the help of new technology and things have advanced so much nowadays that your elder can press a button from a pendant around his/her neck and have help coming in the spur of a moment.
Things like lack of mobility, sight, and hearing can be a severe danger for older people, especially when they are alone. Technology has managed to combine ERSs with a GPS system and quickly and efficiently locate lost seniors while sending help at the same time.
Furthermore, the industry has worked on developing unique gadgets that can be a great help in the action of falling, such as a safety belt that deploys airbags around the hips when it notices a senior is falling toward the ground.