For many of us, a Smart Home offers nice to have facilities that make life just a little easier. Perhaps it will handle the same routine we do every day. Or with Voice Control, we can avoid having to walk over to click a switch. For others, there can be challenges in handling routine tasks. That can particularly affect the elderly. That is why in a previous article, we discussed how seniors can Age in Place in a Helpful Smart Home.
In this article, we will discuss in greater detail how particular Smart Devices are of particular help to those of advancing years.
The Needs of the Elderly
With age, reduced physical strength, lower mobility and possible memory loss can require living solutions that compensate for these challenges. We have previously discussed how senior Smart Homes can help with aging memory problems. Good health is of critical importance and here we will discuss Smart Devices that can help. These can be of direct help to the senior. In many cases, they are also helpful in providing information to caregivers, either close at hand or at a distance.
Smart Devices for Monitoring Health
In some cases, seniors may have medical conditions that require continual monitoring. This is where Smart Devices shine. Here we will discuss in detail four such devices:
- Smart Blood Pressure Cuff
- EKG Monitor
- Blood Glucose Monitoring System
- Motion sensors
Smart Blood Pressure Cuff
Some seniors suffer from high blood pressure and that can be monitored with a Smart Blood Pressure Cuff, such as that distributed by Omron. The Omron Connect App gives you a clear view of your heart health anytime, anywhere. By wirelessly syncing via Bluetooth, you can easily upload, store and view your heart history. It also lets you easily share blood pressure data with family or physicians.
Some seniors have heart conditions. This means that they may lose their normal heart rhythm and have a period of atrial fibrillation. This can be checked with a monitor such as the KardiaMobile EKG Monitor from AliveCor. With such a monitor you can take a medical-grade EKG in just 30 seconds. You simply open the Kardia App on your smartphone, put your fingers on the electrodes and you can see results instantly. The results can be emailed directly to yourself or to your doctor.
Blood Glucose Monitoring System
Many elderly people may suffer from diabetes. This requires that they monitor their blood glucose. The Dario Glucose Meter works through your smartphone. Connecting to your Mobile Device, the Smart Meter makes it easy to manage your health, automatically log results, and you can always stay connected with your caregiver.
One of the simplest ways of detecting whether a medical problem may be occurring is with a Motion Sensor. This can be either a wearable device such as a wristband or a wall-mounted infrared sensor. If there is no motion at a time when there should be, this may signal a problem that should be investigated. Seniors may suffer falls and a wristband can easily indicate that this has happened. If an elderly person is moving much more slowly than usual, this can again indicate a potential problem.
The advantage of such a system is that a caregiver can monitor what is happening without disturbing the privacy of the senior.
Perhaps the most exciting innovation for seniors is that involving Voice Assistants. One of them is LifePod.
LifePod provides seniors with helpful reminders to take their medication or leave for a doctor’s appointment via compatible smart speakers. Their slogan is Personalized Caregiving – Powered by Proactive-Voice. They suggest that this will make seniors happier, healthier and safer in their homes, and will provide valuable data and increased peace of mind to their professional and family caregivers. By speaking to care recipients, LifePod helps them follow a well-balanced care plan, whether it involves taking medicine, eating healthy foods, listening to music, or contacting a caregiver.
Smart Devices for Improving Health
Smart devices may be essential for monitoring potential health problems, but they are also useful when taking steps to improve your health. Here we will give some information on three such devices:
- Smart Pill Dispensers
- Connected Toothbrushes
- Fitness Tracker
Smart Pill Dispensers
Many seniors, to maintain their health, must take pills perhaps two or three times a day. It is all too easy to forget in the normal course of events. The Tricella Pillbox has sensors that can detect if the senior hasn’t taken their pills. It connects to smartphones through Bluetooth and can alert family members before a dose is missed.
A Philips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Connected takes the guesswork out of the oral care routine. Unique Smart Sensor technology sends brushing data to the free Sonicare app in real-time via Bluetooth wireless technology, providing personalized coaching and feedback for the most complete clean possible.
For those seniors who wish to be active in improving their health, a fitness tracker can be an important assist. It is just like wearing a smartwatch. One of the best-rated fitness trackers is the Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro. It automatically detects and logs your activity. It also measures your heart rate continuously throughout the day, indicating heart rate zones, to help you make better fitness decisions. You can also have the same tracking if you have a Samsung Galaxy Watch.
You can also keep track of your activity if you prefer using your Apple Watch, including historical progress toward closing your Activity rings and all the important metrics from your workouts.
A simpler way of recording activity is to use an app on your phone. One such is the ActivityTracker (the app). This is available for both iPhones and Android phones. This App will track your all-day activity without wearing a fitness gadget, and without draining your phone’s battery (no GPS). Google has a similar app called Google Fit.
Communicating with Caregivers
One advantage of these Smart Devices is that it reduces the number of times a caregiver needs to check on a senior to ensure their well-being. With minimum invasion of privacy, a caregiver can be more aware of what is really happening. At the same time, the senior can feel more independent and not be aware when their actions are being monitored.
Further reading on this topic
A great deal is being written on this topic and the following articles are just a selection of what you will find.
- A one-stop smart home shop to help you care for mom and dad
- These Smart Home Devices Make the Perfect Gift for Someone With a Disability or Illness
- 7 Helpful Smart Home Devices for People With Disabilities
- Complete Guide to a Smart Home for the Elderly
- How AI and Voice Assistants Will Change Healthcare
- Voice First Technology and Health Care