Imagine a world where a video game console gets you out of your seat and on your feet, where a colorful bracelet tracks your exposure to dangerous UV rays and where a gadget dispenses your medication. Now look around you. Is the world you pictured anything like the one you’re living in? It should be. In fact, it should look exactly the same.
Studies show most older Americans (90 percent) would rather stay home as they age. The appropriate use of technology can make all the difference in keeping older adults safe and combatting difficulties associated with at-home living (such as depression and social isolation) while maintaining their independence.
Here, we discuss a few technologies older adults can explore now for improved retirement at home:
Video Game Consoles
On the surface, a video game console doesn’t seem like a beneficial retirement technology investment. After all, you’re trying to maintain an active lifestyle, and video games encourage just the opposite, right? While that’s certainly true of some consoles (and the video games themselves), systems like the Nintendo Wii, Microsoft Xbox 360 or Kinect and Sony Playstation 3 all have accessories that get gamers up and moving. In addition to the benefits of moving around, some studies have shown using Wii and its fitness programs (like Wii Sports) may improve balance.
Reading is a pleasure for many people that can become more difficult as eyes age. eReaders, light-weight tablet computers designed to be held and read like a book, help solve this problem. Unlike tablet computers like the Apple iPad or Microsoft Surface, eReaders often feature glare-free screens that are visible even in intense sunlight. Perhaps the greatest advantage is the ability to enlarge the typeface on the screen. Additionally, eReaders can store thousands of books and other publications, such as magazines and newspapers, at one time.
Wearable tech products (or wearables) are the latest tech “must-haves.” Google Glass, a headset worn like a pair of eyeglasses that keeps you plugged in to your email, phone calls and other notifications, is perhaps the most widely publicized wearable tech product. For older adults, wearables designed to monitor health or encourage activity can be ideal. Examples include the Fitbit Ultra Wireless Activity Tracker, which displays real-time activity statistics to help people lead healthier, more active lives, and the UVA+B Sunfriend Activity Monitor, a wristband designed to monitor your exposure to damaging UV rays.
Medication Management Tools
Regular medication use is a big part of many older adults’ lives. Medication non-compliance, or failure to follow prescriptions (like taking the correct dosage of medication), causes some 125,000 deaths and up to 10 percent of all hospitalizations each year. Medication management systems like TabSafe can help older adults better manage their medications.
Telecare is the continuous, automatic and remote monitoring of users that make it possible for older adults aging in place (and their loved ones) to feel comfortable and secure. Telecare products range from activity sensors that connect to a secure website (like Lively) to cloud-based software solutions (like Independa) that provide single-touch access to medication reminders, daily schedules, video chat and important health information, as well as games and activities. If staying in your home is what you want to do, why not explore the technology available to make retirement at home more enjoyable and secure? For more articles like this, subscribe to the Kendal Northern Ohio blog!