NASA SmartWatch, Implanted Health Devices, and Other New Technology for Seniors

Is Grandpa going gadget-crazy? Not quite yet, but we are getting there. According to a recent Pew Research survey, the number of older adults using the internet and related tech devices is increasing, with 59% of seniors reporting that they go online and 77% of older adults reporting that they have a cell phone. The Pew Research findings indicate that there’s still a long way to go, and stress how important it is for seniors to keep in the high-tech loop. This is because today’s technology can keep seniors engaged, connected, mentally active, and physically safe.

In fact, researchers say that “[o]nce seniors join the online world, digital technology often becomes an integral part of their daily lives.” So what devices should seniors and their caregivers have their eyes on?

  • The Apple HealthKit platform allows users to store data (such as weight, steps taken, and heart rate) from multiple devices in one place. These metrics can be displayed in the Health app in iOS 8, which acts as a “wallet” for personal health data. Right now a handful of large health providers — such as Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins — are working on ways to use HealthKit to collect data from certain patient populations, such as those with like congestive heart failure and diabetes.
  • Hearing Aid manufacturers, such as Starkey Technologies, are trying to make hearing aids “invisible,” by reducing their size and creating colors that blend with hair and skin tone. Starkey and other manufacturers are working on developing smarter hearing aids that can be geotagged, so the next time a hearing aid user walks into his favorite restaurant, it will automatically adjust to the noise levels. Hearing aids can also stream calls from your iPhone, and connect directly to your iPad or iPod touch, using Bluetooth 4.0 wireless technology.
  • After seven years of research into how to build wearable devices for space travelers, the NASA Smartwatch is so advanced that it can detect a bad mood or health problem before the person wearing it can. It can also operate for six months without a charge, even with its notifications function turned on. Consumers can pre-order the watch now at http://lifetrakusa.com/ for $129, or wait until it hits retail stores later this month.
  • Have you ever left your house without your keys? Now, there is no need to worry about being locked out.  A product called August was recently released and it works in conjunction with an app on your iPhone or Android handset. It attaches to most standard North American deadbolts on the inside of your door. You can tap inside the app to lock or unlock your door without fumbling with keys or punching in a security code. From inside, you can also manually turn the lock. August can also give temporary virtual key access to visitors, and can unlock the door as you approach the house (which is great for bad weather days or when you are carrying bags of groceries). It can be purchased for $249.99 at www.august.com.
  • According to Venture Beat, a development that is happening in labs around the world is implantable, microscopic sensor technology, which will make sensor technology invisible and part of the human body. According to the article, “Wearable (sensors) can be put on or taken off, which takes away the type of continuous monitoring that creates intelligent and actionable data. The current state of wearables is an important step toward something better and bigger.” Read more about invisible sensors.

As baby boomers age and face more health issues, including the treatment of chronic diseases, technology is projected to grow and change faster than ever to keep pace. Please read our blog for additional technology and smart device apps for seniors and caregivers.

We here at The Law Firm of Evan H. Farr, P.C. are pleased to see all of the advances in technology and apps available to help improve seniors quality of life, health, and well-being.  Now that you know about these technologies, it’s time to do legal planning for your future and for your loved ones’ future. As a Certified Elder Law Attorney, my focus is on helping protect seniors and their families by preserving dignity, quality of life, and financial security. Call the firm today at 703-691-1888 in Fairfax, at 540-479-1435 in Fredericksburg, or at 202-587-2797 in Washington, DC to make an appointment for a no-cost consultation.

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