New Gadgets Help Seniors Stay Safe at Home

Megan Ray  |  September 20, 2013

Many seniors today want to stay in their homes for as long as possible. Independent living is something to be valued, but for many older adults, this lifestyle presents certain dangers. Whereas older adults in assisted living communities will have around-the-clock medical staff on hand to help them if they encounter a medical emergency, seniors aging in place don't have such safety nets. However, new technological advances may soon make aging at home much less dangerous, according to the AP.

Monitoring and safety
Sensors and monitors are proving to be quite useful for older adults looking to live a healthy lifestyle at home. These sensors can be placed under mattresses, on favorite chairs or even by the refrigerator, and they're used to alert family members if it seems that a senior has been inactive for too long. For example, if an older adult has fallen while getting out of bed, the sensor under the mattress could send a message to his or her loved ones letting them know that the senior is in need of assistance.

Those under-the-mattress monitors are still being developed, but in the future, they may be able to predict certain illnesses or medical conditions, helping seniors get the attention they need from a doctor sooner rather than later. For instance, monitors could detect the speed of an older adult's gait as he or she walks to the bathroom, as shorter or slower steps may be indicative of an increase in the likelihood of a fall.

Other gizmos help with medication management. The news source highlights one piece of technology that can be attached to pill bottles. When it's time for a senior to take a dose of medication, the gadget will buzz, and if the older adult fails to take the pill, family members will be alerted.

Helping seniors with technology
New technology can be difficult for older adults to grasp, but family members and friends can help them develop the skills necessary to work these devices. Many retirement communities offer technology classes to help get older adults up to speed.

There are organizations that are working to help older adults manage modern technology. SeniorNet is one such group, which offers classes and workshops in areas around the country. Visit the organization's website to see if there's a program near you. 

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