The past 10 years have brought a flood of technological advances, from apps that let us video chat with people around the world to light bulbs we can turn on and off from smart phones.

Countless new smart phone applications and smart home technologies have been embraced by younger generations and elders alike. A “smart home” features a variety of technologies that make life easier in a home that may not be suitable for those with disabilities. Lighting, speakers, cameras, thermostats, doorbells, door locks, appliances, cooking devices, vacuums – the number of smart home devices is only growing, fully integrating technology into the home setting and making aging in place a safe and viable option for seniors.

This is only the beginning. A recent White House report identified a number of new and pending technologies that will not only make our lives easier and more connected, but will also help us maintain our independence late in life.

In honor of National Safety Month, here are 20 innovations that will help Florida seniors feel safer, more confident and more empowered as they age.

Aging in Place

Gerotechnologies serve a crucial role in the aging‐in‐place process and have potential to not only extend lives, but save them. As we age, mobility becomes more challenging and results in more accidents and falls in the home, as well as isolation, depression and other risk factors. New technologies have been specifically designed to increase safety at home.

  1. Telemedicine/telehealth advancements eliminate the need to travel to doctor appointments, including fitness trackers and devices that monitor vital signs, glucose levels and more.
  2. Emergency fall devices like smartwatches and emergency pendants worn around the neck will automatically alert family members and first responders, potentially saving lives.
  3. Electronic pill counters that will alert and dispense medications electronically, taking all the guesswork out of the equation.
  4. Transportation has never been easier largely due to on-demand apps like Uber and Lyft, making disabled seniors less dependent on caregivers and public transport.
  5. Delivery apps have radically shifted how we think about shopping and immediate delivery of anything from groceries to medicine make aging in place easier.

Better Hygiene, Better Health

Feeling clean and comfortable is vital to our physical, mental and emotional well-being. But activities like bathing and grooming can be difficult for seniors with limited mobility, putting them at increased risk for falls as well as the complications that occur when personal hygiene is neglected. For those with wounds or conditions that require extra care, it can be even harder to keep up with a daily wellness routine. Several new technologies will take hygiene and health to the next level:

  1. Showers that turn on automatically and self-adjust the water pressure and temperature to match the user’s preferences
  2. Toothbrushes that can account for the needs of people with limited vision, hearing and coordination
  3. Bandages that administer medication, monitor a wound’s condition and notify a doctor if an infection is detected

Computers in the Kitchen

Preparing delicious, healthy meals is difficult when our eyesight and cognitive abilities have been affected by age. That could all change. Among other helpful kitchen aides, according to AARP, there are new apps that assist the visually impaired using audio rather than visual input.

We’re hopeful the following innovations will give seniors more confidence to navigate their kitchen with ease:

  1. Meal prep services that bring fresh, whole foods and ingredients to your doorstep, eliminating the need to travel or cook
  2. Robots and appliances that can make potentially dangerous tasks like chopping vegetables or working with an open flame easier and safer

Innovative video magnifiers and apps that make it easier for people with impaired vision to read labels

Developments in Dementia Care

Brain research has led to some innovative technologies designed to help manage the symptoms and behaviors Alzheimer’s or dementia. Hundreds of products and apps have been developed specifically for people with memory loss, including GPS bracelets that can assist in locating a lost  individual. In addition to remote monitoring physiological risk factors such as high blood pressure and glucose levels, technology is also helping improve quality of life for those living with memory impairment:

  1. Voice-activated assistants can be programmed to provide useful reminders, set alarms, read books, answer questions and even turn lights on and off
  2. Music players that come pre-loaded with music to stimulate memory
  3. Computer-assisted cognitive retraining software that help people with memory loss engage in cognitive rehabilitation at home
  4. Augmented reality devices that help people with memory loss recall names and navigate their homes and neighborhoods with more confidence

Staying Connected

Aging in place can cause isolation and loneliness, a very serious health risk. No one, at any age, enjoys feeling lonely. But in older adults, social isolation can lead to depression, insomnia and increased risk of mortality. Tools like these may help seniors enjoy more meaningful interactions with friends and family, whether they’re in the same room or on opposite sides of the country:

  1. Hearing aids that connect to smartphones and microphones
  2. Affordable mobility robots that help people move around their homes and neighborhoods, empowering them to enjoy easier and more interactive visits with friends and family
  3. Assisted mobility devices that help people with reduced strength or impaired balance do everything from get in a loved one’s car to hold their lemonade at lunch
  4. Socially assistive robots that look after you in the home and provide emotional support, including a robot that asks you how you feel and a seal that snuggles
  5. Remote monitoring with GPS and video conferencing keep seniors in constant contact with loved ones so movement and signs of health deterioration can be identified early and emergency assistance can be deployed if necessary 

Assisted living communities also help seniors avoid social isolation and offer research-based programs and technology to help older adults maintain their independence longer. Yet many Florida seniors will choose to age in place, ultimately placing themselves at higher risk of falls, injuries, isolation and other serious health risks. As a result, technology is quickly evolving to help them feel safer, more confident and more connected as they age.

For more information on Sonata’s senior living communities, call a community near you today to schedule a visit →

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