New Technology to Age-in-Place

Currently, there are 75 million baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964). And, according to AARP research, more than 80% of them want to age-in-place as they get older. But how can they do so if they need family members—who most often don’t live with them—to monitor their medication and vital signs, and ensure that they’re eating, dressing, and using the bathroom?

A major new wave of technological innovation is aimed at helping seniors stay in their homes as they grow older and require care. The technologies make life easier and healthcare more efficient, and research shows that baby boomers and caregivers are embracing them in a big way.

A recent Pew survey indicates that 80% of baby boomers use the Internet, and up to 84% of those are using the Internet to search for information on healthcare. The survey also indicates that 46% of seniors use a smartphone and are familiar with downloading apps.

Some technologies that have found their way into baby boomer and caregiver toolboxes include:

  • E-visits provide patients with an opportunity to get answers to common questions, guidance on whether a problem is serious enough for an in-person visit, and even a diagnosis of simple issues. E-visits often cost much less than a regular office visit, and may be covered by insurance.
  • iWatchLife provides a way to check on the well-being of your elderly parents during the day and night, when you can’t be there yourself. Users can mount up to four lightweight cameras at strategic points throughout their parent’s home to see that your parent are taking their meds and eating healthy meals. Of course, it is important to check with your parents first, due to privacy concerns.
  • MissNoMeds is a wireless automatic pill dispenser that has a built-in cellular chip, making it easy for users to transport and use wherever they need to. The device dispenses medication in the correct amount, at the correct time, reminding users with audible and visual alarms. To ensure compliance, if the user misses their medication, the device will send messages via email, text, or phone to both the user and anyone else that they choose, involving everyone in their circle of care.
  • The Health-e-Care System Chair is a comfortable armchair that can perform an ECG, measure blood pressure, weight, temperature, blood glucose level, gait and balance, heart and lung sounds, blood oxygen saturation, motion analysis, reflex response time, and more. The software transmits the data automatically to nurses who are available 24/7.
  • The Claris Companion is a tablet device that is specifically designed for seniors living at home and their caregivers to assist with some level of care and monitoring. For example, when it’s time to take medication, a message pops up and the chime rings until someone responds. If it stays on for four hours, a family member will get a text message telling them something might be going on.
  • The Guardian Angel turns a phone into an emergency alert device. For example, if your mom is ever in an accident or medical emergency, and she requires immediate help, she can push a button that alerts a list of predetermined contacts where she is and that she needs help. If she needs an emergency response, those contacts can know exactly what the issue is and what kind of help is needed.
  • SafeinHome is a mobile solution that provides oversight of seniors when they’re home alone.  SafeinHome’s mobile device-enabled services use wireless sensors to track the elderly person’s activities while they’re home, their length of stay in a room, when they leave and return to the house, if they’ve left the stove on or touched their medications, and more. The system sends information directly to family members’ smartphones or tablets, and alerts them about unusual events that could mean there is a problem. Since it uses sensors instead of cameras, it does not invade privacy as much as the iWatchLife technology described above.

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 Fairfax and Fredericksburg Elder 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 or 540-479-1435 in Fredericksburg to make an appointment for an introductory consultation.

 

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