When our parents were younger, phones were attached to walls, mail was only the paper variety, and if adult children lived far away from their parents, checking in on them was as easy as asking someone nearby to stop in to visit. If someone was not able to leave home because of sickness or injury, feelings of isolation could rapidly set in. Social circles became smaller, and long-distance family members frequently felt helpless if they could not be there to assist in person. But life has significantly changed since then, and technology has evolved, improving how we can communicate and manage the everyday activities of living.
Technology for older adults has provided for innovation in home care and improved the quality of life for those who otherwise may not have been successful living on their own. With the boost in smart technology, social media and interactive telecommunications programs, remaining independent throughout aging is easier than ever, allowing for stronger connections and increased comfort and engagement.
A variety of new types of technology are now available, with countless applications for home care for older adults, from health-related apps to advanced social engagement functionality. Not only can these types of technological tools bring peace of mind to seniors and their loved ones, but, even more importantly, they offer a higher level of freedom, additional independence and an improved overall quality of life and wellness. Even if somebody is home alone, they can still connect, converse and engage with those outside of their immediate environment. Not only that, but should a medical emergency arise, technology helps keep seniors safe and cared for by providing more immediate care and aiding the continuity of care.
Here are a few of our favorite ways technology can help seniors maintain independence and preserve wellness at home:
- Webcams: Positioning webcams throughout the home enables family members and caregivers to check in on a senior loved one 24 hours per day. Webcams also enable family members who live far away to video chat and visit with older adults face-to-face.
- Alarms: Alarms can now be installed with a camera located at the front door, offering a way to verify who is at the door before answering it. These can be connected to a computer or cell phone.
- Sensors: As with webcams, sensors can be situated in and around the home to monitor a loved one’s movement. These are particularly helpful for seniors with wandering problems. Most sensor systems can be hooked up to a television or computer with an internet connection.
- Medical Alerts: These systems have been around for a while, but continue to be updated to improve functionality and efficiency. They are worn by the older adult, who can press a button in the event of a fall or other emergency. The individual is then connected to 911 or another emergency response provider. Some systems can even tell if the person wearing it has experienced a fall, without needing to even press a button at all.
- Automatic Pill Reminders/Dispensers: These are incredible tools for those with dementia or early-stage Alzheimer’s disease who live on their own. An alarm sounds, notifying the person when it is time to take their meds, and the correct dose is dispensed. If the individual misses a dose, a message is sent to a designated caregiver after a specified period of time.
- Games: Technology has also provided us with enjoyable, innovative forms of entertainment, such as those for the Wii game platform, which promotes physical activity, as well as memory enhancement games that enhance cognitive functioning, such as puzzles. Games offer hours of enjoyment, but can also help improve physical and emotional wellness. And with an internet connection, games can be played with friends and family who live far away.
Being separated from loved ones can be difficult for many reasons. To help alleviate the pressure when family support is not close by, provide peace of mind, and to assist with maintaining independence in the elderly, look to Dakota Home Care for quality home health care in Bismarck, Mandan, Fargo and surrounding communities.
Our senior care professionals can provide a free in-home assessment to create a customized home care plan and provide recommendations for technology that may be helpful. Contact us at (877) 691-0015 to learn more about options for home health care in Bismarck, Mandan, Fargo, and surrounding areas, including home care and private duty nursing services. Please see our full service area.