Brenda Lyle – Hometown News
Q: Can Technology Help Me Safely Age in Place?
A: This is a topic we keep coming back to – because of technology’s amazing progress and its relevance for today’s seniors. Year after year, AARP reminds us that nearly 90% of seniors want to “age in place” in their own homes. Cognitive and physical declines and social isolation make this a challenging goal for many. Evolving technology, however, is continuing to create and refine ways to help keep seniors safe and happy at home.
Scenario: Your 80-something parents live alone. Mom has mild dementia and frequently forgets to eat and take her medications. Dad struggles with arthritis and often doesn’t feel up to cooking or caregiving. You call often to check on them. Well…say hello to “Lively!” The monitoring system includes home sensors (not cameras) placed in locations like the medicine cabinet, the microwave and the refrigerator. Did the refrigerator open at noon? Was the medicine cabinet accessed? Unusual patterns will prompt alerts to the remote user or local caregiver, who can log on anytime to ensure activities fall within the programmed baseline.
Smart technology in myriad forms can help seniors live independently at home. New technology includes GPS-enabled trackers and real-time health monitors via smartwatches. There are electronic medication dispensers, reminder devices like Alexa or Reminder Rosie and remote health and activity monitoring platforms like GrandCare Systems. Many adult children find a sense of peace with a digital connection to their parents.
Let’s talk personal assistance robots. With artificial intelligence, robots like ElliQ are achieving next level interaction. According to the Washington Post, “ElliQ offers soothing encouragement, invitations to games, gentle health prodding, music thoughts and, most important, a friendly voice that learns a person’s ways.” ElliQ users can access social media, hear jokes and video chat to stay connected to the outside world.
The aging experience is changing for those who are ready to embrace some level of technology. One Senior Place is always ready to help.
One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. Send questions to AskOSP@OneSeniorPlace.com, call 321-751-6771 or visit One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging.
Brenda Lyle is a Certified Care Manager and Certified Dementia Practitioner with One Senior Place, Greater Orlando.