Do you have a hard time connecting with your elderly loved one due to living far away? Or, maybe you know a senior that experiences lots of falls or is going through a bought of loneliness, even in an assisted living home. Seniors are faced with many daily challenges and if we aren’t with them every day, solving these issues can become a concern. But, there’s a way to relieve some worry and make living more comfortable for both of you.
Are Senior Living Technology Trends Transforming the Industry?
The short answer is yes, senior living technology trends are absolutely changing the way providers offer assisted living care. From voice command speakers and smartphones to video chat devices and telemedicine, your senior can benefit from these top 4 pieces of technology:
- Voice Activated Tech & Video Chat
- Remote Healthcare Services
- Integrated Devices
- Artificial Intelligence
1) Voice Activated Technology & Video Chat
From Alexa and Siri to Google Home, it seems like major tech firms are always rolling out the latest and greatest in voice activation technology, and for good reason. Especially in assisted living facilities, devices that can provide help via commands versus typing on a computer or phone, assist elderly folks in a big way.
The best voice-activated devices for seniors include:
Both Apple and Android phones have personal assistants already included, but you can also download from numerous different voice-activated assistant apps using the play store on your smartphone. It’s a convenient way for seniors to use commands for different things like adding appointments to their calendar, reading text messages out loud, or reading the weather forecast. However, the drawbacks are that the screen is smaller compared to a tablet like the Portal by Facebook and it could get lost easier compared to a speaker like the Amazon Echo or Google Home.
There are voice command devices from almost every major tech brand, but the best for seniors is the Amazon Echo. Its request for help feature lets your loved one notify you if they are in a situation where assistance is needed but a 911 emergency call is not necessary. Simply set it on an open countertop or table and speak from anywhere within hearing range of the device.
Pro Tip: A voice-activated speaker could be a better choice than a phone for your senior loved one, since the speaker doesn’t have to be carried around and it won’t get lost.
The smart speaker can also help your senior with these tasks:
- Answer questions
- Play music
- Integrate with other home devices like lights, fans, and the thermostat
- Set an alarm
- Give reminders to take medication
- Put doctor’s appointments on their calendar
- Send a text message
- Make a phone call
Video Calling Devices
If your senior lives across the nation, state, or even in another country, you can still stay connected through video calling devices that feature large display screens and decent speakers. While you can go all out with the Facebook Portal that includes fun filters, your senior will likely want a basic device that is simple to use.
The GrandPad is an Android tablet was designed for seniors and includes large icons, text, and easy-to-use controls. It lets loved ones send and receive video and phone calls, view messages and photos, and even play games. The con with GrandPad is that it only works through the Consumer Cellular network, so if your loved one doesn’t want to switch providers, this device may not be right for your family.
Amazon’s Echo Spot is another senior-friendly device that allows incoming and outgoing video chats and phone calls. While it’s nice that the device is small, that also means a small screen. It’s also worth mentioning that in order to receive calls from the Amazon Echo Spot, you must also have one or download the free Amazon Alexa app to your smartphone.
2) Remote Healthcare Services
Also known as telemedicine, remote healthcare services are on the rise especially in the senior care community. Remote healthcare is when doctors assess, consult, or diagnose patients via video chat or phone call (usually the former). This is a wonderful senior living technology trend as it allows the elderly to remain in the comfort of their own home to get basic, non-emergency medical care. Many states don’t allow online prescriptions without a patient-doctor relationship and if things like tests or a physical exam is required, an in-office visit will still be necessary.
Overall, it’s a handy technological advancement for your loved one to jump on board with so he/she can feel more comfortable living on their own in an assisted living home. Even if they are a resident at a personal care cottage where live-in nurses are available, having their own doctor on demand who knows their medical history is a huge benefit.
3) Integrated Devices
After getting that voice-activated speaker for your senior, you will need to connect all of their home devices so they can work together. As long as you buy the right add-on devices and connect everything properly, your loved one can have the comfort of doing these tasks by command:
- Turning off and on lights and fans
- Adjusting the thermostat
- Locking and unlocking doors
- Switching off and on TVs, radios, computers, etc.
4) Artificial Intelligence
From virtual companions to fall detection devices, AI is truly changing the elderly care environment. Wearable smart trackers like Apple and Fitbit also provide biometric data and some have the ability to sound an alarm during a hard fall. These handy devices will only continue to grow and the assisted living industry is likely to see more advancements in AI technology as new solutions to common elderly problems are sought.
More Care For Your Senior Loved One
While your loved one is in good hands at a quality assisted living home, it doesn’t replace having them in your own home. Give them the advantages that technology has to offer with AI, voice-activated speakers, video chat devices, and remote health services.
Join the conversation and tell us which senior living technology trends have helped your family the most.