By Lisa M. Cini
Senior Safety and Technology
When our loved ones’ age, living alone can be stressful for them and for the younger generation that worries about them. Luckily, there are many solutions to this challenge and more resources available than ever before. This is true whether you want to help them age in place or with their family or want to find a senior living community that suits them beautifully.
Personally, I have been on a mission for the past 27 years to improve how we age by designing senior living environments, curating the best tech in the world to help us age better and providing education on the best choices available to you and your loved ones as we age.
The issue of aging is not just for the person aging, it impacts everyone that loves them. Anyone that has an aging parent or spouse can vouch for me on this.
Aging in Place
If Grandma is still healthy and vibrant, she’s probably insisting on staying in her home until she takes her last breath. Of course, as most people age, they become more forgetful, which probably causes you to worry that she’ll leave the doors unlocked or start a fire by leaving the stove on when she’s done cooking. Great technology is being developed to tackle these types of problems and make it safer for the elderly to remain in their homes longer.
The hot stove problem is averted with the use of automatic stove shut-off devices that turn the stove off after a set length of time or if the smoke alarm goes off. There are also locks available to disable the stove, remote monitoring and text alerts to let you know if something seems amiss. This simple device can save Grandma from burning her favorite pan or setting the house on fire.
Keyless door locks give families piece of mind knowing that their loved one is safe, and sound and the house is locked up tight. They’re also great when you have nurses or other helpers coming in to help care for your relatives, as you don’t need to pass out keys. Even better, the best technology available offers the ability to lock and unlock remote keyless door locks with the passcode from any smartphone, computer or tablet. You can check to be sure the house is locked at night, and you can unlock it yourself when you go to visit.
Senior Living Communities
Today’s senior living communities have evolved. Some facilities have swimming pools, fitness centers and doggie runs for furry friends. Technology is also integrated into the newest projects, like Tuscan Gardens of the Palm Coast in Florida. This community is under construction and will offer elegant private suites for independent living/assisted living, great grounds with gardens, a media center and a library, chapel, and a salon/spa. They are integrating smart ways for families and residents to communicate through products like Alexa.
Vista Springs in Ohio and Michigan offer luxury lofts with bidet toilet seats that are heated, wash and blow-dry you and are antimicrobial. They have also implemented a clean air technology. Their communication and tele-medicine platform is smart and easy, it allows residents to communicate with their family’s while walking around with a robot that streams family member on a screen (think a roving facetime or skype). If you’re sick, no more waiting for the doctor to come visit or having to leave the building in bad weather, the doctor can “beam-in” real-time, anytime.
It is now common for senior facilities to have Wi-Fi to help keep seniors connected and sharp, and there are ways for them to access the internet that make it simpler for them. For instance, computers with large buttons and easy-to-read screens, like those built by My Gait and Its Never 2 Late, are easy to set up and use, while Wi-Fi-ready Smart TVs now allow access to social media accounts, making it easy for seniors to interact with their loved ones on Facebook. Tablet computers are also great for seniors, as they can Skype with their kids and even get a peek at the newest grandbabies.
I highly recommend using earbuds with Facetime, Skype and Facebook. When you can hear well and see a loved ones face the experience is so much better.
Nightlight surface trays sit on top of night tables and are well lit so seniors or the visually impaired can access their glasses, water, phone or medication. Large button phones and picture phones make it easier for seniors to call their loved ones.
Health monitors let you make sure your loved one is sleeping, getting some exercise and keeping track of vitals like blood pressure, heart rate and pulse oxidation. There are even light devices to help you sleep better and help with depression.
There are even companion devices for seniors to love, whether they are a cat or a dog lover. These companion pets act and react like real animals, with simulated heartbeats and even authentic barks or meows without the need to feed them or take them outside.
Today’s technology makes senior living easier, more connected and much safer, regardless where your loved one chooses to live. For lots more great ideas and tech solutions, look to Mosaic Design Studio for what the best senior living homes in the country. Best Living Tech for the best products to age in place at home and Lisa M Cini for all the latest and greatest on everything senior.
Lisa is the author of BOOM: The Baby Boomers Guide to Leveraging Technology, so that you can Preserve Your Independent Lifestyle & Thrive, The Future is Here: Senior Living Re-imagined and Hive, which describes her families multi-generational social experiment (4 generations living under the same roof in her own home); and is regarded as the nation’s leading senior living design expert, helping baby boomers prepare for their own retirement and caring for aging parents and grandparents with the state-of-the-art senior technologies she features on her website BestLivingTech.com, and one of the 100s of projects she’s designed with seniors in mind in the last three decades.