The best tech for seniors that can help you age in place
6 innovative products for elderly living alone
It’s fair to say that millennials are no longer the only generation adapting quickly to technology. According to an Australian Seniors study, 3 in 5 seniors identify as tech savvy and most (84%) say they’re ready to try new technologies.
Tech for seniors isn’t just about communicating with friends and entertainment (although they’re both important). There are also plenty of innovative products designed for the elderly that can improve your health and help you age in place for longer. Here are some of the best.
Wearable technology is a device that you wear, either on your wrist or around your neck. There are many types of wearable devices and which one you choose depends on your needs.
You could consider a watch type wearable, like an Apple Watch, Garmin or Fitbit. These watches tend to track your steps so you can see how active you are. They can also measure your heart rate and for some of them, like the Apple Watch, you can download other apps to track your health including monitoring your sleep. Many of these watches also have automatic fall detection, so if you have a tumble, one of your loved ones can be alerted ASAP.
If you want something simpler, you can look at medical alarms. These devices are usually worn around the neck and have GPS tracking. Some have 24/7 monitoring, which a loved one can activate if they’re worried that something has gone wrong.
2. Video home exercise programs
If you find it difficult to get out and about to group exercise programs, video programs might be a great solution. One study found that home-based exercise programs are easy to use and can improve quality of life and health status of pre-frail older adults who live at home. Since we were all forced into our homes during the pandemic, home based exercise programs have become even more popular.
You could check out Australia’s biggest seniors exercise class where 5000 people registered to take part. Or you could find one of many falls prevention classes run by physiotherapists and OTs. Before you start, it’s important that you have a chat with your GP or physiotherapist about the type of exercise that is suitable for you.
3. Dementia Virtual Reality
If you have someone in your life with dementia, it's hard to understand what their life is like. Now there are speciality virtual reality sets, so you can put yourself into the mind of a person with dementia.
The specialty gear stimulates the eyesight, hearing and tactile changes that a person with dementia experiences and helps you understand the anxiety, frustration and fear that they experience.
Dementia Australia is one organisation that is conducting trainings in this technology.
4. Voice controlled devices
Voice controlled devices, like Google Home or Amazon Alexa are an ideal piece of technology for older people living alone. Voice activation can make it easy to adjust to as older people don’t have to learn to understand the technology – you just need to talk to the device.
There are many ways these devices can be integrated into a home. You can use them to access music, news and information, including the weather. They can be connected with smart home devices like a kettle, lights, air conditioning and even a remote vacuum cleaner so you can activate the appliances with your voice.
In one study, many seniors found the benefits of having these types of devices in their homes. They enjoyed being able to interact with a device, use their voice to turn on lights or heating when they weren’t feeling as physically able and found it improved their independence and wellbeing.
5. Smart sensors
Taking it up a notch, the CSIRO has been developing a smart sensor system for safer homes. Their system can sense things like motion, light, temperature, humidity, vibration and power usage throughout the house. It takes this information to understand a person’s daily routine, which can then work out if illness or injury is detected. Biomedical devices can also be integrated and collect health information such as blood pressure, glucose levels, weight and body temperature. This can then be sent to remote servers and can be followed up by healthcare providers. This system is currently in trial phase in some Australian homes. Stay tuned!
6. The Umps Smart Home
Stay safer and more independent with the Umps Smart Home. This system uses smart-plugs to measure your interactions with the household appliances you use every day, like when you boil the kettle, open the refrigerator or cook using the microwave. Over 7 days, the system learns your unique daily habits and routine. After this ‘Learning Mode’ is completed, the Umps Smart Home can identify subtle changes in your activity that could show a decline in your wellbeing. These alerts are provided to Members and their family by text message, through the Umps App, as well as to Five Good Friends’ care team through Lookout. You can use your Home Care Package to set up this system in your home.
How can I increase my understanding of technology?
If you’re interested in improving your technology understanding but you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry. There is plenty of help for seniors who’d like to improve their tech knowledge.
Telstra has launched a tech savvy seniors program which is being jointly funded by the New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia state governments. The program offers face to face learning and a range of guides in 14 languages so you can learn about technology at your own pace.
Be Connected is an Australian Government initiative to help you improve your tech skills. There are heaps of topics to read up on and you can even get local help in your area.
Finally, if you’d like to learn more about technology, talk to us at Five Good Friends. Technology is a crucial way to keep you independent and connected with your community. We can talk to you about ways technology could be funded in your Home Care Package and we can give you the tools and help you need to get started.
How Five Good Friends uses technology
One of our core values is leveraging technology to make us more human. We have a range of technologies that we use to improve the care we provide for our Members. These technologies include Remote Care Monitoring, our Lookout App and our member surveys. Read about our technology that makes us more human.
Would you like to know more about how technology can be integrated into your Home Care Package? Get in touch with us or request a call back and we can answer all your questions.