How Technology Can Help With Aging in Place

Advice For Caregivers

How Technology Can Help With Aging in Place

 

Your senior family member has never been shy about offering his opinion. If this describes your parent, you probably know your dad’s feelings on politics or your mom’s views on religion.

Chances are, this strong-willed personality may have already informed you of his or her intentions of never leaving home. But this concerns you.

You worry that your parent will forget to take prescribed medication. You worry about what will happen if your mom gets lost while driving to the grocery store. You worry that your dad will overexert himself while working in the yard.

You and your siblings worry that your loved one won’t remember to eat nutritious meals. And what if your dad falls? What if your mom can no longer shower on her own?

These are all valid concerns. It’s frightening to think about your senior mom and dad living independently. There’s a lot that could go wrong, and you would feel horrible if something terrible happened that could have been prevented.

How do you follow your parent’s wish to stay in the home but still have peace of mind? Thankfully, there is technology available that makes aging in place more feasible than ever before.

Before we discuss the technology that makes aging in place a viable option, it is crucial to understand the benefits of choosing this lifestyle. While this is not the logical option for some seniors, aging in place may be the right choice for some senior citizens.

 

Your loved one will feel more comfortable staying at home

 

Your Elderly Family Member Will Feel More Comfortable Staying at Home

The most significant advantage of aging in place is that your family member will be able to live at home. You parent may have lived in the same house for decades. Even though the pipes may rattle and the windows are drafty, their home is still a place that provides comfort to your loved one.

While sitting in his favorite chair, your father can reflect on the past life that has occurred within those walls. Your mom can think about the hundreds of meals she prepared for your family in that particular kitchen. They can both watch the seasons change through the frame of the living room window they have been looking of out for decades.

Living at home may help your loved one still feel close to those he or she has lost. This, perhaps, is the most important reason of all for your family member to age in place.

 

Seniors Who Live at Home Live Longer Lives Than Those Who Live in a Facility

While there are some benefits to living in an assisted living community, studies show that seniors who live at home live longer.

Nursing homes are like mini hospitals. There is a constant risk of infection for the residents. Infectious illnesses often sweep through facilities. Doctors know that their patients recuperate faster when they do so at home. Those who are medically compromised are more likely to pick up an infection or illness if they live in a nursing home.

 

Aging in Place is More Economical

Nursing care facilities and retirement communities cost thousands each year, depending upon the type of care your parent needs.

Eventually, you may need to hire outside assistance to help your parent bathe or to take care of household duties. When that time comes, hiring outside assistants to go into the home will still be cheaper than paying for skilled-nursing at a senior center.

Even though your parent insists on it, and you know there are benefits for aging in place, you still worry about it. You want your mom or dad to live independently for as long as possible, but is it really the safest option?

Before you demand that your parent move, you may want first to try utilizing some of the available technology that will enable your parent to stay put.

 

Medical Alerts

Medical alert systems have improved over the decades. Systems offered by companies such as Medical Guardian or Philips Lifeline offer affordable assistance, starting at around $30 per month. Your family is free to cancel the service at any time if it doesn’t provide the reassurance you need.

Most medical alert systems allow your loved one to choose between a pendant that is worn around the neck or one that is worn around the wrist. Keep in mind that if you would like the medical alert system to detect falls, you may need to choose the pendant that is worn around the neck.

 

Smart Speakers

Smart speakers, such as the Amazon Echo or Google Home, can also help your aging family member age in place. Even if your loved one is not technologically savvy, most can learn the simple voice commands required to receive assistance from these systems.

These devices can be programmed to turn on a light or adjust a thermostat by a simple voice command. You can also set daily reminders for the virtual assistant to remind your loved one to take medication or lock the door for the evening.

 

Medication Assistant Tools

Besides Philips Lifeline’s medical alert products, they also offer an Automated Medication Dispensing service. This system is particularly helpful for family members who have a complicated pill schedule. While Alexa can tell your senior that it is time to take a pill, the Phillips system will take that reminder several steps further. This dispensing service alerts the senior to take medicine, and then it will dispense the right one at the right time of day.

If your loved one misses a pill, the dispenser can inform a family member or neighbor.

 

Home Security Systems

Although home security systems were not specifically designed with seniors in mind, they can be used effectively for seniors living on their own. In particular, motion sensors can monitor regular activity. If that daily activity is not detected, a signal can be sent to a pre-programmed caregiver. Companies like Alarm.com offer this as part of their wellness offering.

Caring for an aging family member can be difficult. You want your mom or dad to age with dignity, but at the same time, they may not physically or mentally be able to do things on their own anymore. There are resources available in your community. Home Health and Meals on Wheels are wonderful resources. Also, utilize the newest technology available to keep your loved one safe and content while living at home.

 

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In Post Image Credit: Alexas_Fotos   / Pixabay