Nell Bernstein (senior editor) over at Caring.com wrote up an informative post on aging in place gadgets. Many of these gadgets have been highlighted here on The Senior List, but we wanted to share Nell's list with our readers too.
Most adults would prefer to age in place—that is, remain in their home of choice as long as possible. In fact, 90 percent of adults over the age of 65 report that they would prefer to stay in their current residence as they age. One-third of American households are home to one or more residents 60 years of age or older. – Wikipedia on aging in place
The Center for Disease Control defines aging in place as “the ability to live in one's own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level”. Many of the gadgets listed below can help aging Americans stay in their home longer, and in a safer environment.
The Best Technology Products for Seniors
Here are several of our favorite gadgets that can contribute to a safer home environment for your friends or family members:
1. Big Button Cell Phone
Big button cell phones (yup some folks call them dumb phones) have a place in the mobile phone world, especially for aging adults. When people age their eyes can (and usually do) get worse over time. This is due to a variety of medical issues like glaucoma, cataracts or (age related) macular degeneration. Yes, smartphones are all the rage these days, but cell phones like the Jitterbug 5 from Samsung can serve many purposes, including acting as a medical alert system.
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2. House Cleaning Robots
Actually we care do differ from Nell a little bit on this one. Having a fun little “robot” vacuum cleaner like the iRobot Roomba are very cool devices, and we like them a lot. But let's face it, vacuum cleaners aren't all that complex, or difficult to operate (at least not all of them yet). The key to keeping a clean home, free of dust and/or dander is regular cleaning. So having an easy-to-use vacuum of any kind is useful. It should be light, and located in an accessible location. Also, it might be a good idea to have a cleaning service come in once a month for a deep clean (if one can be afforded).
3. Automatic Pill Reminders
Automatic medication management systems are a great idea. As people age, they typically end up on a variety of medications like cholesterol lowering agents, high blood pressure meds, and more! The fact that these medications must be managed for many aging adults accounts for a huge percent of nursing home admissions. Medication management systems range from simple plastic pill boxes all the way up to smart (electronic) medication management systems that remind users when to take their meds.
4. Medical Alert Systems
Medical Alert Systems are something we know a great deal about. These handy devices come in all shapes and sizes, but the most common is a pendant style alert system. These have a single push button that alerts a call center when a person feels like they're having a medical emergency (or any emergency for that matter).
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Some of these devices also come packed with automatic fall detection which senses when an aging adult has fallen down. If they're unresponsive the medical alert system will notify the call center automatically. Medical alert systems with fall detection usually cost a bit more, but they can be worth it in certain situations. If you need help picking out the right medical alert system, we've created a handy medical alert system buyers guide to help navigate you through the many choices offered today.
There a number of other handy gadgets for seniors that can help one stay in the home longer, and be safer as well. Do you have any additions that you'd add to our list? Any suggestions that you've implemented in a home? We'd love to hear from you in the comments below!