Technology has transformed our daily lives in so many ways — from the way we get our news, to the way we seek entertainment. Can technology also transform the way we take care of our elder loved ones? Here’s just a few ways technology is already doing so:
■ I’m worried I’m going to fall and won’t be found for hours :: Motion sensor systems placed in the home can discretely monitor activities without video and can detect when activities seem amiss and alert families via text, email or phone call. Accelerometer technology can be worn to detect a fall when a rapid change in positioning occurs and inform families without the senior needing to press any buttons.
■ Mom doesn’t remember to take her medications :: Medication management devices can dispense the correct medication at the correct dose at the correct time and even sound a reminder.
■ Dad doesn’t answer his phone because of his hearing :: Touchscreen technology specifically for seniors can make it easy to stay connected with family members without a senior needing to know how to use a computer. Phones can adjust to very high volumes; slow down messages and even light up when ringing.
■ Grandpa’s doctor wants him to watch his weight because of his heart condition :: Bluetooth monitoring devices like weight scales and blood pressure are used in the home and connect to databases to allow remote monitoring a senior from anywhere — work, the Mainland, while traveling, etc.
New technology is emerging every day to help cope with the aging tsunami. Many will improve quality and reduce the cost of caregiving for families and those who love them. Stay tuned.
Ho’okele Health Navigators — helping families navigate the complex health system including finding the right technology to meet your needs.