The population of seniors over 65 in the US will be over 83 million by 2050. Since health care costs only go in one direction, UP, technologies related to elder care and well-being will only increase and may provide cost-effective solutions to some of the everyday challenges the elderly face. An encouraging side of this is that today’s seniors and those over the next few decades are or will be more familiar with technology so a move to devices and apps designed to assist seniors will be easier for them to embrace than earlier generations.
Seniorcare.com outlined some of the challenges the senior industry faces:
- To allow seniors to age in place, and provide them with a supportive community
- To provide seniors with opportunities to invest in others, so they feel valued as community assets
- To prevent injuries, illness, and crises in older adults through early intervention, and streamline the services and interaction between service providers to reduce the costs associated with an intervention.
- To connect seniors to the available resources that impact their quality of life within the community
- To help seniors and their caregivers navigate existing programs and resources
Every senior I’ve ever known has clung to the idea of being independent and aging in their own homes on their own terms and I tip my hat to them. But the reality is that seniors need assistance. Technology is making a big difference in the lives of our senior citizens, not only in the future but right now. Services are also a critical part of the answer. Services that help to empower and assist seniors to remain independent. As noted by seniorcare.com seniors need a supportive community, especially when it comes to navigating and learning about the technology that will improve their lives. We will attempt to identify a number of devices and apps intended to make senior’s lives easier, healthier, safer and more fulfilling.
A great place to start is choosing the platform that will deliver app or connected device solutions. There are numerous solutions for both iOS and Android users and a number of products that are independent of either. Here are twelve to get you started.
PocketFinder receives GPS location data from multiple satellites. Data is updated every two minutes through the cellular network and is encrypted. End-user logs into their account using smartphone, tablet, or computer where they can manage everything for PocketFinder. Set up geo-fences and receive alerts via text, email, & push notification when the PocketFinder crosses a geo-boundary. The speed that the PocketFinder is traveling is also reported. Anyone suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s can be located quickly with PocketFinder. There are two monthly plans offered. $12.95 has your loved one covered in North America (U.S., Canada & Mexico) and an International plan. Read more here.
Ween is known as a life responsive thermostat that is based on the user’s physical location. A very smart thermostat that requires no intervention once it is set up. Paired with a smartphone, it reacts to your comings and goings which means your not wasting energy when you’re not at home and when you return your home is set to a comfortable temperature. Read more about Ween.
Elevate won Apple’s 2014 iPhone app of the year award. This is a personalized “brain trainer” that will improve cognitive skills. It is designed to strengthen your analytical and communication skills through games that concentrate on focus, processing speed, memory, math, writing and reading. Check it out in the App Store.
AARP For iPad
AARP For iPad is a lifestyle app that is free and provides the best content from the AARP website and magazines. A simple user interface designed for the iPad. You can personalize the app adding the content that is important to you. There are volunteer opportunities, job listings, discounts, and more. The app uses location services to make instant connections to other members in your area through the app’s advocacy and volunteer features.
Another Free app from AARP that helps if you are caring for an elderly parent or spouse. This app will help you organize important information and privately coordinate with family and caregivers so everyone in your caregiving network knows about appointments, medications, and tasks.
Siri or Amazon Echo
Giving your elderly parent the ability to simply speak a command that produces the desired information or results is a powerful tool that will empower and entertain. These devices are always on and all one needs to do is use the wake word before asking your question. The wake word is “Hey Siri” on iOS or Apple TV or “Alexa” on Amazon Echo. Read more about Hey Siri or Amazon Echo.
iRobot is the developer of robot servant technology. Their current products, Rumba, Braava, and Scooba are designed to take the drudgery of routine housework, specifically floor cleaning which becomes so much more difficult as we get older. Learn more.
Relax Melodies is an app that provides you with the ability to mix and match relaxing sounds and melodies. You can adjust the volume of each sound. Relax Melodies is classified as a “sleep aid”. It has timers and alarms that can be used as needed. Learn more.
The MOCAheart Heart Health Monitor is a small, medical gadget that takes a new approach to monitor heart health. It measures not only the heart rate but also the blood oxygen level, and blood flow velocity. It serves as an alternative to more mainstream methods of measuring blood pressure. Read more about MOCAheart and watch the video.
GATSS (GA Telephone Support)
This app will check-in on anyone who lives alone. You set the time and frequency of the check-ins. Then respond to the check-in when they occur from an iPhone or iPad. If you don’t respond, alerts are sent to those you designate so they can check on you. Your location is sent along with the notification so your loved ones know where you were the last time you opened the app. Learn more.
Senior Care Manager From The Institute on Aging
This free app manages medication schedules and includes a journal, to-dos, notes, photos and files, and private sharing. Connect with the Institute on Aging’s team of Gerontologists and other experts in the San Francisco Bay area.
TV Ears or Apple TV
TV Ears helps people with hearing loss hear the television clearly without turning up the volume. With TV Ears, users can set their own headset volume while others can set the television volume to their preferred level. The current version works with most TVs and covers up to 600 SQ. ft. If there is a 4th generation Apple TV in the home, Bluetooth headphones paired with the Apple TV will also serve this need.
We hope we have given you some food for thought regarding a few of the options that are available to help make elderly loved ones safer, more comfortable, and healthier. The list of tech devices and apps for the elderly is growing as is medical technology itself. We will follow up with another article sometime in the future to let you know what else we find.