When most people hear the phrase “wearable technology”, they think of Fitbit types of devices. While logging daily metrics about workouts and fitness levels might be useful for some, Fitbit represents only a fraction of what’s out there.
Wearable Tech That Goes Beyond Just Collecting Fitness Data
Tiny, wearable computers aren’t just for fitness-minded Millennials. There is wearable tech for every generation. Designed for everything from monitoring daily habits to keeping people safe, technology has probably come a long way since you last checked.
It’s time for seniors and their caregivers to get over their fear of mobile technology and start taking advantage of all it has to offer.
To help, here’s a quick reference guide to today’s tiny, connected devices that are helping seniors stay safe, healthy, and independent.
Tech Products That Help Keep Seniors Safe
- GPS Watches. GPS watches keep seniors who have dementia safer. Since most seniors who have Alzheimer’s will wander at some point, these devices provide caregivers peace of mind. They feature real-time GPS tracking so families can quickly locate a loved one who wanders. A geo-fencing alert system is a helpful feature. When a loved one wanders beyond a certain pre-set area, the device knows and sends a text message or email to the caregiver.
- Behavior Sensors. Wearables that attach to a bracelet can alert caregivers to alterations in the routines of senior loved ones. These high-tech devices use sophisticated sensors to “learn” an individual’s patterns of daily behavior. When a change occurs, such as unusually prolonged sitting or excessive bathroom trips, the system knows. The 24/7 data that’s collected can also be used in predictive analytics. That helps warn caregivers of impending risks like malnutrition, falling, UTI’s and depression.
- Combo System of Wearable Tech + Home Sensors. A safety watch combined with sensors placed throughout the home can act as a personal emergency response system. In addition, seniors can receive medication reminders, a step-counter, and a quick-push button for emergencies. Caregivers can also receive alerts if meals are missed or there are other potential problems. If your loved one doesn’t have internet, look for wireless systems that don’t require it — and many don’t.
- Endless Smart Phone Apps. Smart phones aren’t technically “wearable”, but they can be! Did you know that only 18 percent of people over 65 own a smartphone? That’s a shame, since there are dozens of apps designed to help seniors live a better life. Encourage your older loved one to trade in their outdated cell phone for a smart phone so they can take advantage of helpful apps.
- Issue-Specific Wearables. There are wearables designed to help seniors with age-related problems. One problem is neuropathy, which makes walking and balancing difficult. There’s a wearable that fits just below the knee which has sensors. Data from the sensors triggers the device to alert the wearer’s motor system and send the right messages to the brain. The result: the wearer stays upright and is able to walk properly. That’s progress!
A Final Word on Seniors and Technology
Most people think of tech gadgets as geared only for Millennials. As you’ve just read, that’s certainly not true. Seniors are becoming more connected and engaged with technology than ever before. This trend is likely to continue, too.
We recognize that technology plays an important role for everyone. That includes the people who make up our community at Five Star Senior Living. In fact, we support learning and engagement with technology at all levels. By offering computer classes and technology how-to workshops as part of our Lifestyle360 program, we’re promoting a better, richer lifestyle for seniors.
Find out more by calling us or scheduling a tour- we’d love to see you!