I have wanted to blog on technology and how it could help you stay in your home longer, but I generally get put off by the razzle dazzle. As they say, get by with a little help from your wireless motion adapter sensor system. Someday there may be a ground breaking discovery but for now a lot of it seems to be in the trial and error stage. Aging friendly tech seems to fall into three main categories.
PERS: Personal emergency response service. Basically a quicker way of calling for help than 911 or for assistance at different need levels.
MONITORING: An outside service keeping track of your activity or your non activity and reports to a concerned relative.
COMPUTER LITE: Systems that look like computers, act like computers but simplify functions such as email and video chatting.
Okay so wearing something around your neck or on your wrist if you are in a fragile medical condition makes sense. Having someone, hopefully with your consent, put WiFi monitor receptacles on the door of the refrigerator or medicine is suppose to validate what they could hopefully find out by checking in by phone. There seems to a bit of big brother with benevolence built into to this whole process. Also a way of validating statements such as, of course I am taking my medications. Accepting the monitoring maybe a bargaining chip to stay where you want.
How does any of this make sense for the next wave of old folks ? Aging boomers often carry android if not smart phones and tablets. If you can handle a tablet you can handle anything. I was late to get one but now enjoy it immensely. There are already a load of grandmas and grandpas who learned to Skype asap when given the opportunity for face time with the grand kids. As for special computers, there is still a place for these less complicated systems especially in terms of bigger fonts and easy menus. Really though. I think they will go the way of the walk in tubs that the “I take a shower generation” will find no use for.
Please do not think I hate technology , I am actually a secret geek, loving innovation and invention. Systems to prevent fires in the kitchen or help you move things in the home, make more immediate sense. Then there are those robot cleaning vacuums. I have yet to see one of those babies in action, but I have heard people swear by them.
One area that needs work as they say is that of reminders. Yes, there is the calendar function on your phone. There are several products that interact with you. I make it a policy not to mention brand names as I will not endorse/affiliate market any products. But think cylinder on a table that tells jokes when asked and answer questions. Does it also say today is Tuesday, take the insurance form to the dentist appointment at 2?
AARP just awarded money to a company that has developed an Artificial Intelligence system to ask you questions everyday and interpret the answers in terms of need for intervention. If these AI system can also turn off lights check security, need to replace filters etc it could be promising.
So be your own tech committee, kick it up a notch. Always move up to a smarter than the last one phone and keep learning new functions. Learn to make the functions work for you and your needs. Eventually they may build more age friendly apps for that magic phone we never knew we could live without.