6 Great Technological Inventions for Elderly Parents
Do you have to wear earplugs when you watch TV with your spouse, parent or friend? Or maybe you need to yell into the phone when you call them? Do you worry that they may fall and not be able to reach the phone to call for help? These issues are pretty common when dealing with older loved ones. Luckily, there are wonderful new technologies that not only improve quality of life, but might also save a life. At ElderCaring, we recommend you consider the following products for your loved ones:
Reading Glasses with Lights - A simple pleasure for many seniors is reading and doing crosswords or other puzzles. However, these can become more difficult as eyesight deteriorates. A fairly simple and inexpensive solution may be reading glasses with lights. This may be easier than trying to manage a booklight and helps to direct light exactly where the person is looking.
Assistive Listening Systems - There are a variety of different options to make the volume of the TV better for those who have difficulty hearing (or even those in the other room who don't want to hear it). Some products use radio frequency technology to connect directly the to the hearing aid. The sound is not only amplified to the hearing aid, the person can also leave the room and continue to hear the program. Another option is cordless headphones. These put the sound directly into the ears at a comfortable volume for the listener, while others in the room do not have to hear the sound at all.
Amplified Telephones - Several options are available to increase the volume on the phone by about 40 decibels or more, including units that attach to a phone line, portable amplifier units and dedicated amplifier telephones, as well as cell phone amplifier systems. Many systems also block out feedback and background noise and amplify specific frequencies to make speech clear and similar-sounding words easy to distinguish.
Personal Emergency System - Many of us remember the commercial that shows the older woman on the floor who yells, "I've fallen and I can't get up!" Unfortunately, this is a reality that happens to many seniors. Luckily, there are many devices that can alleviate this problem. These work with a device that stays with the loved one, and can be clipped on clothing, put in a pocket or worn around the neck. The device has a button that when pressed connects with two-way communication to an emergency call center where trained personnel are available 24/7 to contact emergency agencies if needed.
Tracking Systems - When you care for an older loved one with a memory disorder, you may worry that they might wander away and get lost. There are many new GPS systems that will help keep you connected to their location. These use cellular technology to send the location information to your computer or Smartphone. A variety of devices are available that you "attach" in some way to your loved one such as a small gadget about the size of an Oreo that can go in a pocket or be clipped to a lanyard or part of the clothing...there are even inserts that go in the shoes!
Medication Reminders - If you wonder whether your loved one is taking their medication on a timely basis there are many products that can provide a reminder. A variety of pill boxes with storage for the whole week have an alarm that can bet set for any number of days and times to ensure that medications are taken when directed. If you are worried that the loved one may not be near enough to the pill box to hear that alarm, some smaller models are made to fit in the pocket and there are even special watches that can accommodate multiple alarms. Most of these vibrate as well in case they are not heard. There are also services that will send texts or emails as reminders. For more extreme cases, there are locked and monitored boxes that can dispense meds and even alert a remote caregiver by call, text, or email when meds have been missed.
It's easy to find a variety of these products just by searching online for "TV and phone amplifiers," "GPS tracking systems," "personal emergency response systems," and "medication reminders." Lighted reading glasses can be found in your local pharmacy or drug store or can also be purchased online.
Most seniors want to stay in their own home. At ElderCaring, it is our business to help create an environment that supports independent living. These types of products can help alleviate the worries of caregivers and more remote loved ones.
However, if you find that your loved one needs additional care, ElderCaring can recommend a qualified and experienced caregiver, who can provide a number of non-medical services to assist your loved one with daily activities, including social support, bathing, dressing and personal hygiene, cleaning laundry and bed linens, dietary needs, medication reminders, or just a break for the family or primary caregiver.