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  • Writer's pictureWilson Bunton

How Technology Can Help Maintain your Independence for Aging in Place

Today, most Americans are choosing to remain in their homes after retirement. A recent survey by AARP, says as many as 90% of seniors want to live out their golden years at home. With the majority of homes constructed in the 20th century done so without Aging in Place in mind, this leaves many families searching for answers. For some, technology might be the answer.

You might think that your smart phone is just for looking at your grandkids pictures on Facebook or shopping for your favorite shoes, but a closer look reveals how it can be used as a valuable tool for living safely and independently in your home. Here are a few ways technology can help you or a loved one Age in Place.

Wearable Fall Monitors: Falls continue to be a leading cause of injuries among older adults. Personal emergency response systems are wearable devices like a bracelet or necklace, that give the user 24 hour access to care at the push of a button. Many can be used at home or on the go thanks to GPS and 3G networks. Most are waterproof for showering and bathing and some even have motion sensors that can detect a fall and contact the appropriate authorities. Even better, all of this can be viewed remotely by downloading the device’s App and a customizable protocol can be designed to suit the families needs.

Medication Reminder: For some, taking medications as directed can be a simple daily task. For seniors with memory issues, taking one daily pill can be easily overlooked, let alone when there are multiple medications and at multiple times during the day. Mixing the wrong medications or even missing a critical dose can lead to disorientation, balance issues or even emergency medical care. Pill dispensers with smart technology can help mitigate these risks while giving loved ones the ability to monitor remotely. Some simply audibly or visually alert the patient its time to take their meds. Others go further and have incorporated SMS technology to text a caregiver if a dose as been missed. There are wide array of options from daily, weekly or even monthly dispensers that can be preloaded and locked for theft prevention and tamper resistance.

Home Monitoring and Assistive Technology : Smart homes are becoming increasingly popular. Security systems that once required a professional installation can now be purchased off the shelf and installed easily in a few minutes. All now come with an App so you can remotely view any room right from your phone. Have you ever left the stove on by accident? Or Appliances are now available to send you alerts when something like this occurs. Motion sensors near doors or stairs can alert when someone approaches danger and even your thermostat can now be controlled remotely.

Whether you are just considering aging in place or have already begun preparing your home, technology will continue to play a critical role in outcomes. Ask your pharmacist at Shaffer Pharmacy how they may be able to help you navigate this technology.

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