Apps like Medisafe have shown promise in increasing medication compliance rates.
The stereotype about older people is that they’re unfamiliar with, or scared of, new technology. That’s simply not true.
Seniors are increasingly tech-savvy. Baby Boomers reaching advanced maturity today grew up with mass communications, television and the early days of the computer revolution. Within the next 20 years, the earliest Gen X-ers, who were raised with video games and personal computers, will reach retirement.
Keeping your elder one safe has never been easy,
but it can be easier.
Realizing that, companies are developing more apps and digital solutions — or redeveloping existing gadgets — to help seniors better manage their health. Here are some that seniors living in Cincinnati, or their family caregivers, will find worth checking out.
1. Medication minder apps
Many older Americans take several daily and/or weekly medications. Adhering to the prescribed dosing schedule for each can be a challenge, especially for those seniors who suffer from age-related memory loss or early-stage dementia.
Medication reminders are now moving from analog realms into the digital universe. Apps like Medisafe, which allows elders or their family caregivers to track medication use directly from their tablet devices or smartphones, have shown promise in increasing medication compliance rates.
The hope is that increasing medication compliance rates could improve American seniors’ overall population health.
2. Cellphones optimized for senior use
Most seniors today have cellphones or smartphones. But many older people find that they are limited, by basic tenets of cellphone design, in their ability to use them to their fullest potential.
Texting can be exceedingly difficult for seniors with degenerative eyesight changes, fine motor impairment, or arthritic pain in their hands. Factory-installed ringtones sometimes aren’t loud enough for those with advanced hearing loss.
Some manufacturers are now producing cellular devices that are designed with seniors’ unique needs in mind. GreatCall’s Jitterbug Touch3 smartphone, for example, features larger keyboard buttons, a brightly-lit color screen and simplified navigation.
It also comes pre-loaded with helpful apps that are intended to give elders and their family caregivers better security and more peace-of-mind.
Its 5Star Medical Alert feature connects the senior user to a centralized emergency dispatch service, who can in turn alert local first responders. The Urgent Care app connects the user to an on-call doctor or nurse, 24/7, who can advise on symptoms, or even call in prescriptions.
Another app, designed for caregivers, lets adult children remotely log into a parent’s smartphone, tablet or computer so that they can monitor their loved one, or ping the senior parent’s location via the GPS system. This is an especially helpful tool for caregivers of seniors who are aging in place, or of older people who wander due to moderate to late-stage Alzheimer’s or dementia.
3. Anti-scam solutions
Seniors are disproportionately targeted by con artists, identity thieves, online scammers and unscrupulous telemarketers. Some companies are now helping adult children protect their elder loved ones from being financially victimized.
Nomorobo, for example, is a free online service that blocks automated “robocalls.” Seniors (or their family caregivers on their behalf) who rely on VoIP calling networks such as AT&T’s U-verse or Verizon’s FiOS, can register their numbers for a do-not-call list that supplements the FTC’s National Do Not Call registry.
True Link Financial's debit card for seniors allows caregivers to set limits on, or prevent, online and telemarketer-initiated purchases. It can even be set to block specific merchants, limit spending to certain stores, or automatically text a family caregiver when a purchase is authorized.
Keeping your elder one safe has never been easy, but it can be easier.
New technologies continue to develop and the market will inevitably provide families with more smart, customized solutions for senior living.
If you’re a caregiver for an elder who is aging in place, ailing or otherwise vulnerable, stay up to date on the latest senior-geared online services, apps and gadgets and help your loved one to live with fewer worries.
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