07:59pm Saturday 16 December 2017

Tech That Helps Seniors Maintain Independence

One of the scariest moments in a person’s life is the loss of independence. From the moment we leave home to strike out on our own, we are the masters of our own destiny. By the time we reach 40, we have made a life for ourselves with our own families and traditions.

The family home is a part of that tradition. We all look forward to the time when the kids are grown and gone. And we can live out the next phase of our lives. No one dreams of having that all taken away and being told that they have to live in a facility where others take care of them.

There comes a time in every life when a little help is required. That does not mean that we have to give up on independent living. But some concessions have to be made. Even the healthiest bodies eventually suffer the effects of aging. Those effects, for the most part, can be countered with the right technology, allowing one to continue living a life of freedom and independence. Here are a few examples of that tech:

Lift Chairs

The First Street Online recliner lift chair is an example of tech that can give a person back their independence. If you have back or joint trouble, you might need help getting in and out of a chair. If you need help for such a basic function, it greatly limits your options for where you live.

Other mobility tech includes stair lifts and residential elevators. This type of mobility enhancement allows a senior to continue living in their dream home even after health issues make accessing the upper floors difficult. Independence is about doing as much as you can without help as safely as possible. When safety and convenience can be achieved, so too can independent living.

Health Monitors

It should come as no surprise that seniors suffer from health problems often associated with younger people. Depression and substance abuse know no age limit. When seniors suffer from these and other problems, the concern is that something could happen to them while alone. And there would be no one to know about it or provide assistance.

The prevalence of wearable emergency call devices has alleviated much if this concern. Another technology making seniors safer at home are mainstream wearables like the Apple Watch with a built in SOS feature that allows a call from help anywhere in the house. It also has rudimentary health monitoring features that will only improve over time.

Beyond health monitors are the devices such as Amazon Echo and Google Home that allow a person to activate the device by voice and call a friend or relative for help when the situation does not rise to the level of emergency. Some of these devices even have cameras for accommodating instant video calls to trusted friends and family members. Between wearable health monitors and ways to call for help from anywhere in the home, seniors can stay independent with the confidence that help is close at hand.

Low-vision Tech

The iPhone has a built-in magnifying glass that turns it into a competent digital magnifier. It is common for those devices to be priced over a thousand dollars. There is an application made specifically for the blind that scans documents and automatically reads them aloud.

The OrCam is a small camera that attaches to the temple of your existing glasses. It has a cable that connects to a battery pack and processor that slips in your pocket. When the device is active, you can just point at what you want read aloud and it discretely reads to you through a bone-conducting earpiece.

You can read anything from mail to computer screens to street signs to menus. With devices like these, seniors can live independently and maintain their privacy as they do not have to get someone to read their personal documents for them.

Lift chairs, stair lifts, health monitors, emergency call devices, accessibility apps and wearable devices are combining to give seniors their independence back. Whatever your physical challenge, there is a good chance there is tech that can help you too.

 

 

 

 


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