Most people think of smart devices and apps as luxury items strictly for entertainment purposes.
However, smart phones and devices can do a lot more than just stream cat videos.
In fact, lots of older adults can utilize this technological progress to maintain their independence and stay safe as they age.
The best part? None of it involves wearing a clunky emergency button around your neck.
Looking at how far technology has come in the past few decades
Remember the first car phones?
They were bulky, ugly, and somehow pretentious at the same time. Then came cell phones which were equally clunky and somewhat impractical.
Now, cell phones and smart technology has made life both easier and safer in several ways.
- Maps and tracking: It’s virtually impossible to get lost on the road when you have a global mapping system in the palm of your hand. (Just make sure to always pull over before using your phone.)
- Checking-in: “Call me when you get home” isn’t something we hear very often anymore. Now, you can always make sure loved ones get home safe through texts and social media.
- Missing persons: Amber alerts sent directly to our phones. Families can reach out to the public at large and better coordinate search efforts outside their immediate community.
- Video chats: Most people think that smart devices isolate us, but they actually bring people much closer together. Now you can see and chat with people anywhere in the world at any time.
Using new technology to help maintain your independence
Technological advancements can also keep older adults safe and help them maintain their independence.
Automated homes might seem like something straight out of The Jetsons, but adding certain features to your home could make the difference between assisted living and maintaining your independence.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to completely bug your entire house. Plenty of simple apps and programs can help make life easier, too.
Health tracking software
If you struggle with health conditions like diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure, you have tons of apps at your disposal to make life a thousand times easier.
Carbs Control is an excellent app for diabetics because it monitors daily carbohydrate intake. You can also browse a database of over 100,000 foods to help make healthy choices.
This is just one example of hundreds of nutrition apps. Find something that fits your personal needs.
Lots of apps are available to help tackle memory loss or forgetfulness without dealing with persistent phone calls from concerned family members.
Reminder Rosie is a customizable voice activated clock. You can set reminders for feeding the pet, taking out the trash, or keeping up with your medication schedule.
Transportation apps like Uber and Lyft aren’t just for millennials getting home from the bar.
Ride sharing has made it easier than ever for older adults and people with disabilities to get from one place to another while maintaining their independence.
Lift Hero is a San Francisco startup that aims to connect older adults with qualified drivers who have backgrounds in the medical industry.
Smart appliances might seem like a luxury item, but for those living with memory loss or Alzheimer’s they can save lives.
Smart stoves and ovens allow you to program times for the appliance to turn on and off which eliminates the risk of falling asleep with the stove on.
Elder care technology for caregivers
Technological advancements can also assist caregivers in a number of ways which inadvertently helps maintain the patient’s independence.
MedMinder is a weekly medication tray. A caregiver can program the tray to lock and unlock so the patient takes the correct medication at the right time. It can be programmed and monitored remotely, so the caregiver can tell when and if the patient has taken their medication.
GPS tracking systems can help loved ones and caregivers keep track of patients living with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Some apps offer special tracking services or you can find small devices to wear around your wrist.
GrandCare is a comprehensive system that monitors activity. It can track vital signs and provides medical monitoring tools. You can also use the system for phone calls, emails, and to stay in-touch with loved ones. But most importantly: it tracks physical activity and can identify falls, emergencies, or otherwise unusual behavior.
Maintaining your independence with tech
Don’t write off tech as a fad that will blow over in a few years. This stuff is here to stay. For many people, things like home monitoring or medication reminders can save lives.