For the first time ever we are facing a world where there are more people over the age of 65 living on the planet than there are under 5s, and by 2050 they will outnumber those under the age of 15. But, unlike with previous generations, being “elderly” nowadays does not necessarily mean that to receive around the clock care you need to be in a nursing home. In fact, today we have access to more technology than ever before, which allows us to monitor our aging loved ones from the comfort of our own home, while they enjoy theirs.
There are 2 main types of care that technology can offer; monitoring and surveillance, and assistive technology
As we approach an era where it is preferred to age in your own home, surveillance technology becomes more and more important. We already see many examples of this in hospitals, where staff are alerted when someone's medical condition changes or when intervention may be needed. This can also translate to the home, where sensors can alert carers when a loved one is not in bed, or to monitor their whereabouts within the house, particularly if they are suffering with the onset of Alzheimers.
Assistive technologies help to make day to day living that little bit easier; for example there are tools to help turn on taps without help, or telephones with large buttons to help make dialling a number easier to see.
For the more independent elderly relatives, an easy-use emergency phone is a key piece of technology to have in the home. Not only do the large easy-to-see buttons make dialling a known number really easy, but it also has 2 easy-push picture buttons which dial out straight to a loved one. And, it also comes with a wearable wristband which can be worn and used to answer calls even when not near the handset, but more importantly it can be used in an emergency to dial out to pre-programmed numbers.
Many smartphones nowadays also offer the ability to control heating and air-conditioning, as well as the locking and unlocking of doors and windows. As this can be controlled remotely, making sure that your loved one is safe and comfortable in their own home has become easier than ever before.
Whilst technology plays an important role in keeping our loved ones safe and their activities monitored, it is also worth bearing in mind how useful technology can be in terms of communication and the impact that contact with the outside world can have on an elderly relative. Though it may be a struggle to get used to in the first instance, introducing them to a social network like Facebook or online method of communication such as Skype can have a huge impact on how they feel. Though you might live 100 miles away, through video chat you could quite easily be sat in their living room having a cup of tea with them!
While it may be difficult to win the more elderly relatives around to the benefits of current technology, as our generation of parents become grandparents and then enter old age, technology and all that it has to offer will play a more important role in maintaining their independence and helping them get the most out of living in their own home.
Share this post