Technology has made it easier than ever to manage our day-to-day lives, freeing up more time for exercise and other healthful activities. Seniors, in particular, stand to benefit from an abundance of new tools designed to help them maintain a healthy lifestyle and manage the ongoing treatment of illness. Older adults are sometimes phobic when it comes to technology, but today’s advances (and those that will change our lives in the coming years) are so seamless and easy to use that they become second nature, regardless of age.
It may sound far-fetched, but we’re riding the wave of home robotic assistants. The next generation takes it to another level for seniors. The Luvozo SAM robot acts as an on-site assistant capable of doing checkups, providing hands-free phone and video, creating a safe living environment for seniors, and serving as a contact between seniors and their healthcare providers and emergency services. Some companies, such as Jobi, construct robots with social sensibilities, offering seniors companionship as well as daily assistance.
The robotic revolution, which is expected to mushroom in the coming years, may even make it easier for older adults to age in place. Robots and robotic devices could also prove a blessing for caregivers who aren’t able to be on site with a parent or older relative.
Medication Management Technology
Seniors sometimes struggle to keep up with prescription medication schedules. From refilling prescriptions to dealing with insurance and ensuring you’re taking meds, it can be an overwhelming chore for an older adult who’s starting to struggle with memory issues, disorientation, and physical infirmity. Programs and apps that can help a senior keep it together are an important source of stress relief where medication management is concerned. Smartphone-based apps like Medisafe Medication Reminder and MyMedSchedule keep seniors, caregivers, and family members up to date with medication alerts.
Medication-dispensing devices offer a different solution to the problem of medication management. Most smart pill dispensers work as a safety device, only unlocking when it’s time to take medication. In some cases, a dispensing device can be equipped with an alert that goes off when it’s time to take medication. It’s a robust interactive aid that prevents forgetful seniors from taking the same medication repeatedly and becoming ill.
Home technology is rapidly changing our idea of home security. The days of lock and key are giving way to smart locks and smart doorbells, which provide video monitoring and, in some cases, allow the resident to speak to a visitor. Once you’ve identified the individual at the front door, you can decide whether to unlock the door and allow them in.
Technology that James Bond would appreciate is helping seniors with dementia and their families overcome their greatest fear: that a loved one will wander off one night and get lost. The GPS SmartSole is an integrated solution — it’s essentially a smartphone concealed inside a shoe insole that uses GPS tracking and cell phone technology.
Exercise and Nutrition
Seniors often prefer working out with others of their own age group. Look into joining a water aerobics or yoga class tailored to older adults, or start your own group at a local community center. Nutrition, like exercise, can be a problem for seniors, especially those who aren’t able to handle the rigors of preparing elaborate recipes. Instead, focus on simple but healthy recipes such as warm oatmeal and berries and a poached egg on wheat toast in the morning. For lunch or dinner, try a quinoa salad with onion, red pepper and mushrooms, tossed with Italian dressing.
Medicare is a vital resource in the lives of many seniors, but it can be a complicated and convoluted system with many rules and restrictions. So, visit Medicare.gov to learn what Medicare Part A and Part B cover, review your Medicare coverage options, and find out what tests and screenings are eligible for coverage.
It’s a brave new world for seniors who need the kind of daily assistance and safeguards that technology can provide. Even seniors who are uncomfortable with technology are finding that it can make the accomplishment of daily living tasks much easier and improve their quality of life.
Kevin Wells of seniordiabetic.com
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