by Brenda Becker on January 13, 2014 – Both of my parents were relatively young when they died. My father was 73 and my mother was 78. After working in a retirement community for 10 years, and seeing most residents move in at an average age of 80, I consider those in their 70s to be relatively young – although some could use a helping hand now and then. While I’m a big believer in the benefits people realize from moving to a retirement community, I also understand that most people would prefer to remain in their own homes. So how can seniors “age-in-place” and give their loved ones peace of mind that they are safe and well?
While socialization and human contact are critical to aging well, there are times when technology can be invaluable. Here are a few examples of tools that have been around long enough to have developed a track record.
- Personal emergency response systems (PERS) have matured since the early days of “help, I’ve fallen and can’t get up.” There are several options available that allow the wearer to notify a central monitoring office that help is needed.
- Wireless sensors can detect activity that is out of the ordinary. Depending on a person’s regular habits, sensors can be installed that alert the monitoring office when the resident has done or not done something expected, like leave the bedroom or bathroom at prescribed times or intervals.
- Video chats or other online communication systems keep people engaged with family and/or friends. Streamlined computers can be purchased for very simplified uses.
- When health situations arise, family members can coordinate caregiving through online resources like CaringBridge.org. Here loved ones can create a patient care journal, post supportive messages and post photos.
- Medication management systems can be installed to remind residents to take their medication. There are also units that will dispense the appropriate quantity.
- GPS tracking systems can provide the location of the wearer and be particularly useful for those with some level of cognitive decline.
For more information on the types of technologies available, visit the LeadingAge Center for Aging Services Technologies (CAST).
Copyright ©2014 Brenda Becker
Brenda Becker is the Vice-President of Marketing and Communications for Carroll Lutheran Village and The Lutheran Village at MILLER’S GRANT, a continuing care retirement community in Westminster, Maryland and a planned continuing care retirement community in Ellicott City, Maryland, respectively.
- 9 Need-to-Know Technologies for Caregivers (aarp.org)
- Aging in Place Technology Buys Peace of Mind for Some (centerforhealthmediapolicy.com)