13 Must Have Gadgets for Seniors

Advice For Caregivers

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gadgets for seniors

Gadgets like a smartphone or certain apps can make life safer and more fun for older adults.

Technology has made daily life a little bit more convenient for most of us. Whether you use a grocery delivery app, track your steps on your watch, or use an Alexa Home device to play a specific song, you are likely using technology in at least a few ways each day. Fortunately, technology has come a long way when it comes to keeping seniors healthy, happy, and engaged at home. Here are just a few of our favorite must-have gadgets for seniors that you can buy for yourself or wrap up and give as a thoughtful gift.

Devices

Devices such as smartphones, fitness trackers, or personal emergency response pendants, come in all shapes and sizes. You can find a gadget that will fit your budget as well as fit your loved one’s technical abilities. While some of the devices we list are for safety or wellness reasons, we have also included a few that are for fun or support social-emotional health. There’s something for everyone!

Medical Alert Device

Any older adult who is living at home, whether alone or with a partner, is at risk for having a fall or other emergency and being unable to call for help. A medical alert device, such as a wrist or necklace pendant, can offer peace of mind to the senior and their loved ones that it only takes a quick push of a button to receive support from trained operators.

There are multiple options of devices and home base stations to suit nearly every budget and style preference. Look for a device that your loved one will wear consistently, is easy to charge, and has good reviews from other users.

Smartwatch

Speaking of having help nearby, a smartwatch can offer a variety of services to the user, including emergency assistance and support. The right smartwatch can track steps to help you meet a fitness goal, remind you to drink plenty of water, track your heart rate, and even monitor blood oxygen levels. 

Current Apple watches also have fall detection technology, which will initiate a check-in if the watch determines a fall may have taken place. Add this with GPS capabilities, and even if you fall and are unconscious, your watch can dispatch emergency responders to your location.

Virtual Home Assistant

A Google Home or Amazon Alexa (or Echo or Show) is a handy tool to have around the home that almost anyone can confidently use. Your virtual assistant can help you keep a running grocery list, give you daily trivia, tell you a joke, and play your favorite songs. New advancements like Amazon’s Alexa Together also involve caregivers to increase communication.

Pill Dispenser

Many older adults take more than one prescription medication, which can lead to feeling confused and overwhelmed when trying to remember which pill to take at which time of day. While a traditional pillbox can help organize medications, older adults typically need something a little higher tech to ensure they stay safe while taking their medications.

You can find automatic pill dispensers that give audio cues when it is time to take specific medications. To up the technology wow-factor, consider an automatic pill dispenser that not only tells you when it is time to take a medication, but also dispenses the correct pills in a cup. 

Stay connected with your loved one’s medication routine by finding a pill dispenser that also comes with an app for caregivers. Most apps will tell you if they missed a dose or if they are close to running out and need a refill.

Smart Doorbell 

No more wondering who is at the door when the doorbell rings. Smart doorbells are handy for a variety of reasons, especially when used at the home of an older adult. They can reduce the risk of falling while rushing to answer the door, reduce the risk of being scammed by keeping solicitors out of the home, and offer more safety protection for the whole home.

Consider getting a video doorbell on its own first for your loved one. If they like it and are finding it useful, you can upgrade to add other smart home devices to increase security and energy efficiency.

Sleeping Machine

A good night’s sleep is often elusive for older adults. You can increase the amount of quality sleep for your loved one by trying out a sound machine. The Hatch sleep machine offers more than just sounds to lull someone to sleep, it also doubles as a soothing bedside light and clock.

Smartphone

Finally, a smartphone can be the perfect device to get your older loved one. While they may have some resistance at first to learning new technology, most smartphones today are quite easy to use. In fact, they can even be more accessible for older adults with fine motor difficulties than a traditional landline phone. 

Work to find a smartphone that is affordable as well as having features and capabilities that will serve the user. For example, for a senior who wants to connect with their loved ones, find a smartphone with an excellent camera. For someone who prefers to keep up on the news while out and about, find a smartphone that can stream their favorite news channels quickly.

Apps

Speaking of smartphones, apps can be quite helpful for older adults living at home. We have found a few of our favorite app categories for you that can inspire you during your next download session with your older loved one.

Grocery Delivery App

Grocery delivery is convenient and budget-friendly.

Grocery delivery has become more and more common, especially after the pandemic. It’s no longer an expensive luxury to have your groceries delivered to your door. Try apps like Instacart in order to place your order and a driver will communicate with you while they are shopping. Then, they will drop off your groceries at your door.

Not quite ready to have groceries delivered to your door? Try creating your list online and having someone at the store shop for you. Then, just pick them up at your designated time. This is an especially helpful service in the winter when getting out of the car and facing the cold can seem too much to bear. You can find apps for this service by using the app for your local store.

If you are looking for some meal inspiration, consider trying out meal delivery services. These services allow you to choose a few meals per week from a curated menu. Then, they send instructions and carefully measured ingredients so that you can whip up the meal at home. Hello Fresh and Blue Apron are common today, but there are many other options that you can try too.

Audible App

Reading can become more difficult as we age, largely in part to vision challenges. Consider a subscription to Audible, where you can purchase audiobooks that are uploaded directly to the device of your choosing. Listen to celebrities read their own memoirs or actors read the latest fiction.

This is a great gift for a senior who lives at home alone or who has always been a lifelong reader.

Transportation Apps

Make life a bit easier for the senior who doesn’t drive, or who is hesitant to jump behind the wheel. Both Uber and Lyft have specific services to drive older adults to/from medical appointments or follow-ups, and it can be helpful to have the app already set up on their phone before they need it. This way, you can ensure they have the correct payment method set up and understand how to use it.

Tech-Free Gadgets

Of course, it isn’t always the technology that can make gadgets a must-have item. In fact, low-tech gadgets can be quite helpful and make life a bit easier for seniors. Here is our list of tech-free gadgets to have in your older loved one’s home.

Jar Opener

There is nothing more frustrating than being unable to open a jar at home, no matter how old you are. However, fine motor skill challenges and pain due to arthritis can make opening jars even more difficult for older adults. We love any type of easy-to-grip jar opener that takes the challenge out of the task, including this automatic jar opener which just requires a few batteries.

Standing Magnifier

Vision challenges can make even the most active senior slow down. Fortunately, the right gadget in the home can make tasks like reading or cooking a bit more accessible. We like this standing magnifier that you can use in different areas of the home, including the kitchen.

Adaptive Silverware

Nutrition can be a concern for many older adults, but for some seniors, they cut meals short simply because they are frustrated with their silverware. The right adaptive silverware in the kitchen drawer can make a positive impact at mealtime. For example, weighted silverware might be helpful to seniors who have tremors due to Parkinson’s disease or other types of neurological disorders. Silverware with built-up handles can help those with decreased fine motor skills pick up and hold their own silverware without needing assistance.

The right gadget, whether a fall detection device or an automatic jar opener, can make daily life and normal tasks a bit more manageable and safe for older adults. Which of these will you pick to try out first?