There’s no doubt we’re living in the age of technology. The millennial generation has enjoyed access to smartphones from an early age and has never had to do homework without the aid of the Internet. Older folks, long thought to be averse to technology, are quickly embracing functional electronics that help them lead healthier, more independent lives – and techies in Silicon Valley and elsewhere are specifically designing new apps and devices with these seniors in mind.
Curious about how technology can boost the ability of today’s Baby Boomers to age with dignity? Check out these noteworthy tech products and companies that just might help them do it:
- The smartwatch. Forbes put out a list of the best smartwatches for seniors. There are many to choose from. Some things to keep in mind when considering this technology include how technologically savvy the user is, how the device will be used, cost and how complicated the watch is to use. One of the greatest benefits of a watch over a phone is that it is less likely to be misplaced. The National Council on Aging put out this list of top medical alert watches for seniors. These watches are a combination of a smartwatch and a medical alert system. They can call for help when users press a button. Most will also alert family members when something might be awry. Pretty neat, huh?
- Home security. While not technically technology only for seniors, a home security system is a great idea for seniors. A home security system can provide seniors with peace of mind by providing a secure environment. Security systems can monitor the outside perimeter of a home as well as the inside, including all entrances and windows. This information can be used to activate an alarm if someone or something is detected outside the perimeter or inside the home. Home security systems also include features such as smoke and CO detectors, keyless entry and 24/7 monitoring. Speaking of smoke detectors, a smart smoke detector will not only go off in the home but can also be programmed to send an alert to neighbors or family members. For more on smart home devices for seniors, check out this article from the New York Times.
- Robots. While this option is not yet practical for individuals, it is too cool not to mention. Personal robots have already been developed, and it likely will not be too long before they are available for those who need some help around the house. Kompaï (from France’s Robosoft) was created to aid seniors and dependent persons. It’s currently available to nursing homes and other entities. Buddy Pro is an “emotional robot.” This “social” robot is being developed for the senior and healthcare markets along with others.
With a majority of seniors preferring to age in place (i.e. in their own homes), such advances in technology have far-reaching implications for how older Americans get, well, older. Though some might be wary of these gadgets – especially the talking robots – it will certainly be interesting to see what new products are announced in the coming months and years.
We’ll be watching … will you?