Having grown up with technology, many of us will find it natural to seek out to tech-based solutions to assist us as we age. Even today, there are a wide range of simple, user-friendly apps and devices, specially designed to make the lives of those who are ill or disabled as easy as possible especially technology for the elderly. Many products are now being introduced with special software to assist those unfamiliar with digital technologies. Below, we recommend some basic tech products which can assist your loved one on a day-to-day basis.
You may have heard of the RoboVac—a small robotic device which quietly and efficiently cleans your carpets at the touch of the button. RoboVacs, or similar, are ideal for those with limited mobility but are still quite expensive. If you’re on a budget, consider looking into a cordless vacuum: they are also considerably cheaper and pose a lower trip hazard than their corded counterparts.
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Many portable devices now come installed with voice recognition software. Be it your iPad, laptop, smartphone or speaker, many of these products can recognise yours or your loved one’s voice and are able to follow a variety of commands: from turning your speech into emails to searching for information online, turning lights on and off or calling people. Some of these devices are now able to emulate your accent, too. Check out our article on using Alexa to care for your loved ones here.
Remote control panels:
The great thing about remote control panels is that they can be used for almost anything: turning on the radio, opening and closing curtains, switching off the lights, and more. Many control panels also allow you to set automatic timers so you can schedule in regular commands, such as turning off the radio before your loved one goes to bed.
Doors can also be linked up to video door entry software, meaning that your loved one can control who enters the house even if their mobility is limited. Voice entry systems can also be installed.
Indoor security cameras:
Many people are now turning to in-home security cameras to monitor their loved ones’ welfare. These devices can be situated both outside and within the property, to ensure optimum safety. These are reasonably cheap to purchase, and footage can be easily reviewed via laptop or mobile device.
Should you install indoor cameras, you must also notify any carers or visitors. This can be done easily by posting a notice visible to all visitors.
Smart tech: phones and TVs
Smartphones and TVs can assist your loved one in a number of ways. The majority of these products come equipped with webcams, so you can check in with your loved one via video call if you’re unable to pass by in person. Many smart TVs also have emailing software.
In addition, Smart TVs offer a range of free television and radio channels, and many paid subscription services such as Sky, Virgin and Amazon.
GPS tracking devices are especially useful if your loved one is prone to wandering or forgetting their way home. There are many wearable devices on the market which allow you to track their movements from your mobile phone. Because GPS trackers come in many forms: bracelets, watches, and even smart soles, where the tracker is tucked into the underside of your shoes, they are easy to use.
Finally, personal alarms, mobile trackers, neck pendants and SOS trackers are also popular options for monitoring your loved one’s whereabouts.
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Sensor mats are useful to place around the home: be it next to the bed, by the front door, or on seats. If stepped on, these mats will trigger an alarm and contact the life-line response team. An assistant will then speak with the individual to ensure they are OK, and if needed, contact their next of kin.
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Help doesn’t have to come from an artificial intelligence-driven, hydrogen-powered, robot, bought with bitcoins and paired with its own virtual reality environment.
Reaching aids and grabbers have been around in some form since the 1700s, but have advanced leaps and bounds since they were first conceived. Now, there exist a range of handheld mechanical tools to assist your loved one in picking things up while sitting or standing, reducing the risk of strains and sprains. Reaching aids are able to pick up a range of items, from clothing and tissues to remote controls. They also come in a number of weights and lengths, so you can choose the most suitable model for your loved one’s needs and capabilities.
Walking and mobility aids are also incredibly useful if your loved one has difficulty getting around. Mobility aids come in a range of forms, from walking frames to trolleys. Trolleys (also known as ‘rolling walkers’) usually have between 3 and 4 wheels, with brakes operated by the handgrips. Many come equipped with a basket or seat, to make life easier for your loved one as they move around. Trolleys are ideal for transporting items around the home, so can make all the difference when you and your loved one are out and about.
Although the wheelchair has been around since the 1600s, they’ve come along way. They now come in a wide range of shapes, sizes and weights, and can manoeuvre across many kinds of terrain. Wheelchairs are usually either manually, self-propelled or electronically operated. Wheelchair prices will vary depending on the disability and need, but basic models often cost as little as £85.
See what else is needed for the home in our article on that, here.
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