Critter Corner: What New Technology Can Help My Mother Age-in-Place Safely?

Dear Magic,

In the past, you’ve published lots of articles on aging-in-place technology. My mother is aging-in-place and I worry about her, since we try not to visit her due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Are there any new technologies we can purchase for her for peace of mind and to help keep her safe, since she is typically home alone?

Thanks for your help!

Warry N. Abouter

Dear Warry,

Many older adults want to age-in-place, meaning stay in their own homes as they get older. For these people and their loved ones, next week is National Aging in Place Week, an annual effort to expand awareness of the aging-in-place movement and the availability of the means for seniors to remain in their homes for as long as they would like.

As far as technology goes, there are lots of new products that will help give you peace of mind and help keep your mother safe.

New Aging-in-Place Technology Helps Older Adults and Caregivers

Technology is helping older adults live independently at home longer. Boomers are interested in the technology not only to improve their own quality of life but also to help care for senior parents who are remaining in their own homes for as long as possible. New technology for aging in place includes:

Apple Watch Series 6 ($399). The latest Apple Watch has a built-in electrocardiogram that monitors a person’s heartbeat for irregularities.
MedMinder ($49.99 per month for pillbox rental and refill service). This pill dispenser has 28 compartments for medication dosages organized by day of the week for one to four weeks of medications. A MedMinder pharmacist fills the prescriptions with customized trays that slide into the dispenser to match the user’s medication schedule. Flashing lights, beeps, phone calls or text messages remind users it’s time to take the pills.
Starkey Livio Edge AI hearing aids ($5,000-$6,500 per pair including audiologist service). Using an app and a smartphone, these rechargeable hearing aids customize sound for the wearer. In “edge” mode, the hearing aid isolates certain sounds, like a companion’s voice, so that users can hear better in noisy settings like restaurants. The app also streams phone calls, music, podcasts and audio books directly to the hearing aid.
True Link Prepaid Visa Card ($10 per month). This customizable debit card and subscription service offers older adults with a mild cognitive disability some financial freedom for ordinary daily purchases at a coffee shop or grocery store while alerting caregivers to big expenditures. The card is linked to an existing bank account for recurring transfers. A trusted family member sets the amount for triggering an alert and selects criteria for blocking payments, such as those to telemarketers, charities and TV shopping. The alerts can be sent to more than one person.
SmartSole ($299 for insoles and $24.98 monthly subscription). Keeping track of a loved one with dementia who wanders off and gets lost is a full-time job that typically falls to family members. With built-in GPS, this smart insole fits inside most shoes to make tracking the person easier from any computer, tablet or smartphone.
envoyatHome ($99 to $399 per month depending on agency and level of monitoring; installation may be separate). This remote caregiving service was designed for older adults who can’t afford a home health aide and live alone. There are no cameras, but the service uses smart-home sensors and is purchased through a partnering home care agency to monitor the person’s wellness and safety.
CallOnDoc (cost varies). Patients can get answers from health providers, as well as prescriptions for medications for anything from relatively minor issues to chronic conditions.
MedWand (cost unknown). The device, which will be available later this year, combines several diagnostic tools, including an ECG and a pulse oximeter. Patient data can then be shared with a doctor.
Complete ($199.99). Made by Omron Healthcare, this is a novel Food and Drug Administration-cleared technology that provides blood pressure and EKG monitoring with one device and can share the data with your physician using an app.
Zibrio SmartScale ($299). This tool helps assess an individual’s risk of falling by measuring and tracking physical balance.

Hop some of these amazing new items help keep your mom safe!


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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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