Gifts For SeniorsTechnology
As the baby boomers age–those who were born between 1945 and 1962–the predictions are that the number of Americans aged 65 and over will triple.
Baby boomers did not grow up with technology like millennials have. However, that does not mean there is not some great technology available to help make everyday life easier for seniors.
Experts estimate that by 2020 the market for items that ease the lives of seniors will reach $20 billion in sales. That draw is plenty of motivation for inventors and investors to look far and wide for the best ways of making life after the most productive years a time of enjoying good health, having positive adventures and creating the best memories possible.
Early sales are going well on personal-assist robots called ElliQ. ElliQ describes the robot as “the active aging companion.” The device itself is about 12” tall and sits on an 18” base. The white cone-shaped speaker moves and speaks to the senior in a male or female voice depending on the setting. It reminds the elder of when to take medications, of scheduled meetings, alerts to incoming Skype calls and gives notice when an email arrives. Your loved one can use the ElliQ to set up appointments, play a game or suggest an outdoor activity appropriate for a senior.
The caregiver can program the robot using a small monitor, about the size of an iPad. The monitor also displays pictures and other written text.
Home Support Platform
Another great device that acts as a personal assistant for a senior is called the Cutii. On the company’s website, it is referred to as a Home Support Platform. However, it looks like the robot that 1960s cartoons told us we would have in our homes 20-plus years ago. This smiley-faced monitor on a moving white robot is about 39” tall.
The Cutii will share cooking advice, offer exercise services or well-being suggestions, share cultural events like a TV screen would display and explain how to do crafts projects. It’s not quite the same as having an in-home senior companion, but the website explains that this robot, “Allows isolated people to be present without the restrictions of distance or time.”
GrandPads Tablets for Seniors
The grandPad suite meets the need of seniors to connect easily with family and friends. It comes with a magnifying glass for easier viewing. The apps are simple and very user-friendly for the elderly who did not grow up with technology or gadgets.
Several companies produce very easy-to-use tracking devices for seniors who have begun to experience short-term memory loss. These devices have become miniaturized to the extent that you can attach them to anything.
Your loved one can use the simple smartphone app or a computer to locate and find things like keys, glasses or medicine bottles. Some even have a small transmitter that allows you to merely press a button and the tracker will emit a beep allowing you to trace where in the home you left your keys or glasses.
One great new product that allows caregivers to help patients live a more independent life is the BeClose system. Using a system of sensors placed around the senior’s home, BeClose allows seniors more privacy, while at the same time permitting caregivers to monitor things like missed medications, falls, long periods of inactivity and more. It even comes with a medical alert button that the senior can keep wear around his or her neck. In the event of an emergency, pressing the button will alert emergency personnel and family members that there is a problem.
The system uses its own radio band, so there is no need for a cell phone or landline.
In 2018, a product called Active Protection will help prevent debilitating hip fractures that are common in the elderly. This product is a belt that seniors can wear which senses when a person starts to fall. Just like in your car, an airbag will deploy within a fraction of a second, preventing the wearer from breaking or fracturing a bone.
Smarter Pill Dispensers
Companies like MedMinder make it incredibly easy for seniors to ensure they take the proper medications at the proper times. Smart pill dispensers also provide peace of mind to caregivers and family with things like auto-notifications and monitoring.
For example, MedMinder has several options and includes things like pill compartments that only open one at a time at set intervals, lights that flash, automatic phone reminders, and audio prompts, and delivers alerts to caregivers should something go wrong.
Amazon Alexa and Google Home
Amazon’s Alexa has rapidly become a useful and popular system that can help seniors engage with technology in an easy and natural way. Merely by asking a question, a senior can find out what the weather is like, shop, create lists and so much more.
Alexa and Google Home can be integrated with smart home technology so anyone, including the elderly with mobility problems, can turn on the air conditioning, turn on and off lights, lock and unlock a door or speak to someone who rang the doorbell.
These devices provide seniors with a lot more control over their environment at an affordable price.
Before seniors jump for joy at these new smart gadgets, it is imperative to keep in mind that it is youthful designers and investors who have come up with many of these options. Sometimes the best intentions are not the best choices, especially for those of a generation–or two–who did not cut their teeth on a computer keyboard and do not prefer everything to be smaller, lighter, smarter and more complicated with each new version.
Read more on Guide For Seniors about technology for seniors.