Critter Corner: Technology to Help Seniors Age-in-Place Safely

 

Dear Commander Bun Bun, 
 
My mother, Shirley, is in her 80’s and living alone. Recently, she reluctantly agreed to wear a device that allows her to call for help if she fell. It gives my brother and me a sense of security to know she has it, but I was told by friends and other relatives that she often “forgets” to wear it.
 
The problem is, we are concerned about her safety. There must be other technology out there to help seniors age in place safely. Do you know of any new advances that you can share? 
 
Thanks for your help! 
 
Justin Case
 
—–
 
Dear Justin,
 
Helping aging parents remain independent and living in their own home has become a little easier in recent years thanks to new and improved technology. Here are some options you should know about:
  • Smartwatch: The Lively Safety Watch with Home Hub is “equipped with intelligent medication reminders, a pedometer that counts daily steps and 24/7 personal emergency response at the push of a button. It provides users with 24/7 help, when it’s needed, as well as reminders to stay mindful of healthy habits while providing family members insight about how an elder loved one is doing.
  • Smartphone: GreatCall’s Touch3 is an android phone made especially for seniors. It offers a 4-inch touchscreen and often-used features like the phone, text messages, camera, pictures, email and Internet, along with your contacts and apps. It also offers a variety of health and safety features built into the phone, like the “5Star app” that would let your mother speak to a certified agent 24/7, “Urgent Care,” which provides to registered nurses and doctors for advice and diagnoses, and “MedCoach,” which sends medication reminders.
  • Monitoring SystemsAnother more sophisticated technology for keeping tabs on your mom is with a home monitoring system. These systems will let you know whether she is waking up and going to bed on time, eating properly, showering and taking her medicine. Some companies that offer these services are BeClose and GrandCare Systems.  These are active monitoring systems.  We have many clients who also allow their children to have webcams installed (essentially passive monitoring systems) in their home, with all of their children given the ability to check in on mom during the day or night.
  • Medication Management– If you want to make sure your mom is keeping up with her medications, there are medication management devices you can now rent that will dispense her medicine on schedule, provide consistent reminders, and even notify you if her medicine is not taken. Two products that offer this are MedMinder which rents for $40 per month, and the Philips Medication Dispensing Service that costs $75/month.
When taking these preventative measures isn’t enough, assisted living or nursing home care may be needed for your loved one. Please call us to make an appointment for a no-cost consultation to discuss planning for long-term care.
Hop Hop,
Commander Bun Bun
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About Renee Eder

Renee Eder is the Director of Public Relations for the Farr Law Firm, and gives the voice to the Critters of Critter Corner. Renee’s poodle, Penny, is an official comfort dog who she and her children bring to visit with seniors who are in the early stages of dementia at a local senior home once a month.

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