5 Technologies to Help Seniors Live Independently

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Every person has a certain, innate desire to live autonomously and independently, and that desire does not lessen with age. Sometimes though, it takes a helping hand to make sure seniors can enjoy an active and independent lifestyle. Technology can be that helping hand.

Below are five must-have technologies for the elder in your life who deserves to enjoy a long and active life.

  1. Tablet computers.
    Anybody who's ever tried to teach their grandmother how to check her email knows that there's a certain amount of skepticism and hesitation directed toward newer technology by a portion of the elderly population. The good news is that tablets have proven to be a big hit for seniors who want to learn how to use modern technology. Apple's iPad and Microsoft's Surface are both great tablets, designed for a variety of users with different levels of technological proficiency. If you've ever wanted to Skype with your grandmother who lives in a different state, there's never been a better time to give it a try.
  2. Home security systems.
    Senior citizens have the same desire for independence and freedom as the rest of us. If you have an elderly loved one in your family who wants to maintain their lifestyle and living conditions, but who is hesitant to live alone, home security system motion detectors can be a great addition to their property. Motion detectors serve as an important part of a comprehensive home security solution, alerting residents if there's movement on the property after dark.
  3. Health tracking gadgets.
    If you have a senior in your family who wants to maintain their active lifestyle and mobility, but could benefit from some motivation, there are some wonderfully easy-to-use fitness and health tracking devices available now. Many of these gadgets are wearable, such as the Fitbit series or the Nike+ devices. They allow the wearer to not only monitor their movement and physical activity throughout the day, but also to set goals for themselves. In other words, they're perfect for the senior citizen who wants to stay active.
  4. Monitoring services.
    Nobody enjoys the thought of sending their elderly loved ones to live in a retirement home. New technologies offer various solutions for those looking for a way to ensure that the senior in their lives can keep living at home for as long as possible. There are a number of home monitoring systems designed specifically for senior citizens, including the GrandCare System. This system consists of sensors placed in the most frequently used rooms of the house. They provide a wealth of information for a long-distance caregiver, including data about movement patterns, medication usage and more.
  5. Medication dispensing systems.
    Sometimes the only real barrier to senior citizens maintaining their independence is simply a difficulty remembering to take their various medications. If there aren't any relatives nearby to look in and make sure that medications are being taken, but you don't want the hassle or expense of hiring an outside caregiver, there may be another option.Medication dispensing systems are automated assistants that have been stocked by caregivers or loved ones with several days' worth of medication at a time. The system can provide reminders when it's time to take a medication, and even notify caregivers if they're not being taken. There are countless other technological options available for adults who want to age in place. Sometimes all it takes is a thoughtfully designed piece of technology to help our elderly loved ones live healthier, fitter, and happier lives.

Stacey Waxman is a freelance writer. She can be found typing away on her laptop in cold Cleveland, OH.

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3 Comments

I appreciate your willingness to cover this topic of the elderly who are determined to continue living in their own home even though they are alone. I am one of those and have not found ANY discussion group or forum for such people to converse with each other. If you know of one, I would greatly appreciate your letting me know where it is.

The only part of the 5 technologies you mentioned that would fit for me is the "motion detectors". I know nothing about them and I live on a 6-acre homestead with 2 large guard dogs. I would love to have some type of light coming on should there be a trespasser at various areas of my homestead; however, those areas are not close enough to a power source to run an electric chord. I will google to see if there are any that actually work well over a length of time that do not require a power chord.
One important issue that older adults are so worried about right now is losing their independence. There are situations wherein one cannot avoid this especially when they start receiving long term care at home or inside facilities. However, there are ways to help the aging population keep their independence like by making use of these five must-have technologies you've mentioned.

This list should be expanded to include Hearing Aids as a technology that supports independent living. Seniors with untreated hearing loss are more likely to fall, more likely to socially isolate, more likely to develop dementia, and suffer poorer health outcomes overall. Hearing well is incredibly important to aging well, and hearing aid technology today is so much better than it was even 3-5 years ago. People who are interested in making the most of their Golden Years should definitely take care of their hearing with regular checkups, and by purchasing and wearing hearing aids when a hearing loss is present.