Most people would agree that given the choice, they would prefer to grow old in the comfort of their own home. Thanks to technological advancements, older adults can live at home longer, while looking after their own health and remaining engaged members of their community.
Everyone wants to know that they or those they care for are safe, and so safety concerns are often an essential element in determining one’s ability to remain at home. There are many options available to assist aging Canadians to stay safe and healthy in their homes:
Home monitoring systems: Devices are strategically-placed around the home to detect leaks or floods, as well as the use of specific items of furniture. With the individual’s permission, these systems allow caregivers to monitor their activity and receive notifications when the system detects disturbances.
Personal emergency response systems (PERS): These systems consist of a button or an automatic detection system that alerts caregivers, and sends help, in the case of a fall, health emergency, home invasion, fire or an unexplained exit from the house. Mobile PERS can even be taken outside of the home for increased peace of mind while on the go.
- GPS tracking systems can help to maintain the independence of aging Canadians while providing reassurance to caregivers by helping to locate the person wearing the device should they go missing.
Individuals can take charge of their own health and well-being at home, without additional aide, using the following tools and equipment:
Medication reminders and pill dispensers: These devices ensure that the right dose of the right medications is taken at the right time. Caregivers are also notified when doses are missed.
Health management systems: These systems can perform routine checks (e.g. pulse, heartbeat, blood glucose levels, etc.) thereby decreasing the number of required visits to the doctor.
Nutrition guides and fitness tools: For those who struggle to get the nourishment they need, nutrition guides can help them maintain a healthy diet by helping to plan meals and keep track of what they should eat and when. Fitness tools can encourage adults 55+ stay active, and brain games promote cognitive engagement and exercise.
While autonomy is wonderful, there is great comfort in knowing that our friends and family members are not hard to reach. With the help of simplified computers or easy to use computer-free e-mail devices, there are many ways to help aging Canadians remain connected to the people they care about. Amplified cell phones can help people with hearing impairments or who have trouble seeing small screens, while video chat is a great option for the technologically savvy. Where cell phones are used primarily for emergencies, money can be saved by using no-contract cell phones.