The next decade promises to bring challenges and opportunities for seniors and their caregivers. As Baby Boomers pass retirement age, they’re joining a growing demographic that will need assistance. The caregiving market is almost 300 billion dollars, and all signs point to it continuing to grow.
Caring for seniors at the home can be challenging. This is particularly the case for people who have restricted mobility or medical complications. However, assistive technology is rising to this challenge. There are more options on the market than ever before, and this tech can support both caregivers and seniors.
Ride Booking Services
Ride booking has become a vital service for people of all ages, and seniors are now joining this trend. These services are especially useful for people who live in the suburbs or countryside and don’t have their own car. It allows the senior or their caregivers to go for groceries, attend theater productions, meet up with friends, and more.
However, not every senior wants to use an app. Lyft and Uber, along with lesser-known companies like GoGoGrandparent, also offer ride booking via phone. It varies by the company, but some of them offer more than just driving services. For instance, some companies will text caregivers when the senior is picked up, with a follow-up text when they arrive at the destination. Options like these help seniors stay independent while also giving caregivers peace of mind.
Smart Home Sensors
These devices are tiny, inexpensive, and blend into the background. They’re also palm-sized powerhouses that quietly monitor and manage the home. You can find sensors that:
Most of these sensors can be controlled from a central hub. Once they’re properly set up, they’re easy to manage. The beauty of smart home sensors is that they automate many of the small tasks that fall on a caregiver. This relieves some of the mental weight of caregiving. With these small details handled, a caregiver can focus energy where it’s needed the most.
Medication Tracking Devices
At one end of the scale here are smart phone apps, that may beep when it’s time for medication. They may also have features like showing pictures of which pills are to be taken, which helps seniors who are managing their own medication. Certain apps may take things a step farther, for instance by updating calendars with medical appointments and monitoring blood glucose levels.
However, phone apps aren’t the only option available in this field. You can also find specialized pillboxes. These store and dispense medications and may track when they’re taken. This creates a record which can help doctors monitor how the senior is responding to the medicines.
Medical Alert Systems
There’s been a trend in recent years of consolidating technology into one device. That’s very apparent in medical and life alert systems. Despite the name, many of these devices are capable of much more than simply detecting a medical emergency. These systems can:
There are many such systems on the market, available at a wide variety of price points. It’s a good idea to check out medical alert system reviews before buying one. This will help you choose a reliable product with the right features for you.
Videoconferencing and Telemedicine
Going to the hospital for non-urgent tasks like medication updates can be an all-day ordeal. This is especially true for seniors nowadays, as Covid-19 potential puts them at greater risk.
Telemedicine through videoconferencing tech is becoming a widespread and accessible option in many hospital systems. Software like FaceTime, Skype, and Zoom can be used in virtual doctor’s visits. Here, the caregiver and senior can connect with a medical team in real time. It functions just like a visit to the hospital, but with all the convenience and comfort of home.
Virtual assistants like Alexa and Siri act as great hands-free tools for both caregivers and seniors. The voice–activated commands mean that a caregiver can easily multitask, putting in delivery orders or controlling door locks remotely while they work. Meanwhile, seniors can cue up audio books and music. They can also connect with loved ones through virtual assistants without having to fumble with small buttons.
Several of the assistive technologies listed above depend on a strong and steady Internet signal to function. This can be a tall order, particularly in rural homes and areas with spotty coverage. Mesh Wi-Fi systems use several routers that have been strategically placed around the house. This creates a strong signal in every room, a signal that often extends to the surrounding yard. Samsung, Google and Amazon all offer mesh systems that support a wide variety of assistive tech.
Caring for a senior can be a difficult job. However, there are tech aids on the market that can solve many of the problems that caregivers are juggling. Assistive technology can keep track of complex medication schedules, detect accidents, call for medical help and allow videoconferencing with doctors and more. This new wave of technology takes over some of the tasks of caregiving, freeing up time, energy and quality of life for both caregivers and seniors.