There is no better time for independent living among senior citizens than now, and it will only improve. Many of the things that would pose a huge challenge for seniors wanting to live alone, like safety and forgetfulness, can now been solved by technology.
While some of these technologies have been around for a while and help the general population, some are adapted to seniors, making their lives easier and more efficient. This range of technology is called assistive technology.
As time passes and takes its toll on your muscles and mind, these technologies help do things you may otherwise struggle with, to let you live independently longer.
How Technology Can Make Independent Living Easier
Living independently is one of the most important choices you will make during your golden years. For seniors, aging in their homes surrounded by things they love is ideal. But as a family, you might disagree. At an advanced age, you might need more support and assistance with daily activities. Technology can alleviate these problems by providing better and easier ways to do things and keeping tabs on your beloved seniors. Here's how:
Preventing slips and falls
Often a great concern for families is knowing how their parents or other senior members of the family are doing. In their advanced years, slips and falls are more common and can be major issue if they occur. Using technology, you can keep track of their activities and location to see what they are up to.
These tools can also alert caregivers living at home to respond faster and prevent accidents from happening. These tools include GPS watches, chair pads, and beds with sensors.
Seniors living alone can be soft targets for break-ins. Small oversights like forgetting to close doors behind them or a window can drastically increase their chances of an occurrence. But luckily, there’s technology to help with that.
Devices like sensors that alert you when you leave a window or a door open, innovative lock systems, and monitoring systems that can alert loved ones and police when there’s an intruder are some options available. These options make it easier to enhance security because seniors don’t have to carry keys around (which they can easily misplace) and open and lock the doors automatically and with ease.
Fast internet and platforms like Skype and FaceTime make it easy for families and seniors to connect and keep in touch. These are also essential tools for seniors to keep in touch with the outside world and their friends.
Video calls provide a more intimate experience than a phone call. They are a great way to experience milestones like birthdays, school performances, graduations, and weddings for different family members. Seniors don’t have to feel detached from the family and the outside when they are part of every significant activity happening in the family through video calling.
As you grow older, your list of prescription medications may get longer. You may need occasional assistance reminding you which pills to take and when. This is where living in an independent living community can benefit you or the senior in your life.
If you are not living in an independent living community, technology like automatic medication dispensers with reminder alerts, taking medications can be less of a hassle and eliminates the need to remember what pills to take at what time.
It is not uncommon for seniors to leave the burner or the oven on and forget about it for a while. If you’re living alone and can still cook and do other basic household tasks, this can be a real hazard.
You can enhance safety in your home by installing special sensors and alarms on appliances like the kitchen stove to detect if the burner or stove has been left on or when it is no longer in use. These systems can alert or intervene by cutting off the fuel supply until you manually restore it.
For seniors, a simple task like grocery shopping can be tedious and planning intensive. But online shopping and eCommerce stores can help with this, and you can make a list of the things you want to purchase, proceed to purchase them online, make your payment and have all your grocery shopping delivered to your doorstep. Its efficiency and convenience at their best. You don’t have to travel to the store unless you want.
This technology has grown tremendously, allowing you to get about any service or product online. For example, you can get your prescription refilled and delivered to you without leaving your home. Such conveniences can make it easier to lead an independent life without worrying about supplies.
As you age, the list of things you can do for entertainment may become limited. Yet your brain still needs engagement to stay healthy. Buying board games that you only play a few times can get expensive.
But with smart devices, you have unlimited entertainment options and games that can be downloaded to keep senior’s minds entertained and engaged for hours. These applications are a great way to connect and interact with friends at a fraction of the price and add an element of fun. Some commonly downloaded games for seniors include:
- Trivia games
- Word games
- Jig saw puzzles
- Brain training exercises
- Match games
- Online books
Who is the Best Candidate for New Technology?
The most beautiful thing about technology for seniors is that it is all-encompassing. There’s not one specific person or group that benefits from technology. All you have to do is pick the right technology that suits you best and addresses your current needs.
Instead of the question being who is the best candidate for new for new technology, it should be what new technology is best for you. That’s because technology targets different challenges, so all you have to do is find the technology that solves your problem.
If you’re having sight problems, there is blind control and voice assistance that will save you the trouble. If it’s forgetfulness, technology reminds you to switch off the stove, close the windows and even helps you with your pill regimen. If you have mobility problems, there are mobility aids to help you with that.
Whatever problems you might face trying to lead an independent life as a senior, technology might alleviate the problem and make it easier for you to enjoy independent living.
Types of Technology that Can Help Seniors with Independent Living
Available devices and services that you can use to make independent living easier are constantly growing. Looking at all the available options can confuse seniors and their families. But some standard options can help you start independent living and may also be featured in independent living communities.
Voice assistants have been a revolutionary assistive technology over the past few years and could very well solve many of the problems seniors considering independent living face. From helping you find answers on the internet, making calls, and even helping you control other devices in your home, like intelligent vacuums, turning off appliances, and others, there’s no limit to what voice assistant technology can do.
Smart lighting is an excellent type of assistive technology for seniors with limited mobility. You can control the lighting level in a room without moving around and turn individual lights on and off.
When considering the system, you can consider one or more individual bulbs or a complete lighting system that you can control using an app on your phone or a voice-activated speaker.
This is the most widely used home automation system and one with far-reaching benefits that can enhance independence and comfort.
As you grow older, your body finds it more difficult to maintain warmth. You need to keep your environment warm enough to compensate for this, especially during winter. With smart thermostats, you keep yourself warm and your heating bills down because the system can adjust the heat when needed.
Most of these thermostats come with an easy-to-use app that you can install on your phone to control the house's entire heating and cooling system.
Smart Door Locks
Smart door locks are handy to have. These door locks can do more than keep intruders out. They can make it easy to find out who’s at the door, help answer it, and open it remotely.
Smart doorbells are a life-saving technology program in most homes but more so for seniors. The doorbells allow you to respond quickly to knocks and deliveries without moving a muscle. Most of these doorbells come with a built-in intercom system and a wireless system that connects with your phone so you can interact with the person at the door wherever you are.
You can roll your blinds up or down at the touch of a button or a voice command. It’s a handy technology that saves you the trouble of walking to adjust the blinds every morning and evening, which can be a lot of work for a senior citizen. This technology can make your home more energy efficient by ensuring the blinds go up and down on time.
Pressure Sensitive Switches
Pressure-sensitive switches have various applications around your house, depending on the challenges you want to solve. You just need to pick the right one. You can use pressure-sensitive switches for the following applications:
- Control the HVAC system around the house
- Switch boiler and electric heaters on and off
- Regulate flow to sprinklers and other irrigation systems around the house
- Safety devices for a furnace in the home
The advancements in assistive technology have made independent living for seniors more achievable and secure. These smart technologies can be installed in individual homes or may even be incorporated in some independent living communities. By providing assistance with daily tasks and ensuring the safety and well-being of seniors, these technologies enable older adults to maintain their independence while also safeguarding their privacy.
To experience the benefits of these innovations, consider exploring various independent living options, like Danbury and the technologies available within them. With the right combination of assistive devices and services, seniors can continue to lead fulfilling and enjoyable lives while embracing their independence.
You can get the full Danbury’s Senior Living experience by scheduling a tour to catch a glimpse of the technology featured in our rooms or contact us for more details on our independent living options.