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How Tech Can Help The Elderly Stay Independent

Whilst caring for elderly relatives and technology don’t obviously go hand-in-hand, some devices are making enjoying those home comforts for longer, a reality.

Of course there are plenty of active, able, over sixty-fives who don’t need looking after but for those who cause their relatives any level of concern. Then a good place to start is making sure they’re contactable wherever they are.

Of a generation who didn’t grow up with tech, not everyone is naturally at ease with the use of or indeed the need for a mobile phone. So keeping it simple is a help. This Doro Phone Easy allows remote configuration to add contact and calendar details, meaning the user only needs to understand basic functionality.

It stores emergency contact information. Such as next of kin, date of birth, blood type, and medication, and it can pinpoint location using phone networks. So an activation of the emergency alarm button can tell a dedicated loved one the user’s position as well as call them.

With an estimated 820,000 people in the UK alone suffering from dementia, for those who are at the point where twenty-four hour care can still be avoided, a big concern is that the wandering unsafely. This wandering prevention alarm watch works in a similar way to some of the personal safety devices we showed you on clip recently.

Using GPS and GSM it let’s a designated contact keep track of an elderly relative. If they step outside of a safe zone, a chosen distance from the base unit, an alert is automatically triggered. The idea of virtual boundaries is also employed by the Doro Phone Easy.

The universal message from the older population is that they want to live independently in their own home. We have between a hundred and fifteen thousand people going into care homes every year.

And not many of them go skipping in willingly. We want to keep people alive and successfully living in their own homes for as long as possible and this technology offers us a bridge forward.

Some monitoring is good but not too much and you know, you need a little privacy. It’s more likely they won’t need to look after them. I’d be quite happy if she was monitoring me because you never know these days what does go on.

You need to be online, twenty-four hours a day. So if you don’t have access to your phone immediately everybody’s thinking something’s going wrong.

Whilst commonly used panic call alarms worn around the neck are nothing new, neither are Telly Hell systems like this device, that a local authority might distribute. It allows those with serious chronic conditions to update medical data such as blood pressure or blood oxygen levels.

After taking a reading the device will automatically update via Bluetooth and then go on to send the data to healthcare professional. Yet in the consumer market there are still a limited number of these type of devices around. This grand care system currently available in the United States is soon to be distributed in the UK though.

This particular piece of tech incorporates medication and healthcare management, monitoring sensors around the home and simple, easy to use, web access. It will set you back between one and three hundred dollars a month, depending on the chosen contract. But the costs it could save on are huge.

There is a huge potential in this kind of assisted living technology because we will never be able to afford all the human help to do all the care needs that an aging society is presenting. So we’ve got to try and make this technology work for us and be acceptable to both the older person who may be hoping to use it and their carer who feels this will help them to provide care which otherwise is going to be rather hard to achieve.

At any age, remembering to take your medication at the right time can be a challenge, particularly, if they have a lot of it. But soon there could be a new way of monitoring what you’re taking and when you’ve taken it. And it is set to become a whole lot more high tech.

A pilot scheme being launched later this year in the UK will put to the test this digital health feedback system. An ingestible sensor will capture the time, characteristics, and content of medication taken, relaying that data to a sensor in a patch worn on the body.

From there, the information can be picked up, logged, and shared via Bluetooth with a smart phone. The proto-system has also recently been approved by the Food and Drugs Administration for use in the States. Yet there are some things that no tech can help with.

The use of technology is hugely important to older people and their families. It has a real potential to improve quality of life, health and really help families so quite stressed about caring. But what of course it can’t do necessarily replace that human contact and that was contact with family, contact with local community groups and neighbors still remains really, really important.

And it’s a bad reason that some may struggle to ever come around to the idea that we need this technology to work. If somebody needs monitoring every day of the week then really they… know, technology can go wrong and as everybody knows that. And computers you know, go down.

We shouldn’t need all these things, if we lived with our elders, if we lived a more normal life and didn’t put them away into homes and if they weren’t so alone, all this technology wouldn’t be necessary. And I think it’s a pity that we’ve come to this sorry state of affairs. That everything is being left to technology.

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