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How Smart Homes And IoT Are Changing Elder Care

Connected tech offers new safety features for senior citizens.

16Jan

Many features in the modern smart home focus on making life easier for healthy adults. From automated thermostats to home security, it's easy for a young adult or new homeowner to embrace smart technology.

What amounts to a simple and straightforward task to some is an insurmountable obstacle for others, particularly in our nation's aging population.

Many elders never became fully acquainted with technology to begin with, and very few understand the benefits of embracing smart-home systems of today.

When implemented correctly, this technology has a lot to offer in the way of improving the quality of life for senior citizens.

So what are some of the ways our senior citizens can take advantage of developing technology? They can:

1. Benefit From Virtual Home Assistants and Smart Speakers

Mainstream consumers currently have a love affair with virtual home assistants and smart speaker systems. Devices like Amazon's Alexa aren't limited to queuing up music and responding to simple voice commands. Instead, these AI-powered smart products control lighting, manage thermostats and even connect to emergency services.

One of the most useful features of these smart-speaker systems focuses on care for the elderly. By using advanced sensors and connectivity, some of these devices can scan medications and help seniors maintain a consistent medication schedule.

2. Stay Safe With Next-Gen Medical Alert Devices

Out of all the smart gadgets featured on our list, the personal medical-alert device is the oldest. Made famous by their campy commercials of the 80s and 90s, today's devices feature more functionality than ever before.

Next-gen medical-alert products can communicate with emergency services automatically in the event of a detected fall or incident. Past iterations required the wearer to press a button for assistance, but that isn't possible if the user is severely injured or unconscious. Other devices feature integrated watches, hidden USB storage, Wi-Fi technology and much more.

3. Improve Their Lives Using Smartphone Apps and Gadgets

Even if your parents and grandparents struggle with computers or the Internet, they probably use a modern smartphone on a daily basis. Not only do these tools make it easy to maintain contact with your loved ones, but they also give senior citizens access to countless apps and supplementary gadgets designed specifically for their demographic.

Products like the Philips Medication Dispensing Service make it easy to remember your medication from day to day. The device syncs with the patient's smartphone to automatically dispense medicine according to a schedule, monitor remaining medication levels and place orders for refills as necessary.

Smartphone apps, many of which are free or inexpensive, can improve a senior's life in many ways. Heart rate monitors, symptom checkers and medication charts are all available on various mobile platforms.

4. Capitalizing on Big Data to Make Senior Life Easier

The brunt of the big-data boom revolves around commercial business. While big data does have the potential to transform the modern enterprise in many ways, the information isn't limited to the business world.

Most of the products and services listed here wouldn't be possible without big data. By analyzing usage trends and historical data, manufacturers are now designing products to be as useful and relevant as possible.

Medical-alert bracelets were once rudimentary and basic systems, but most of today's models include other integrated features and systems.

5. Restoring Independence With the Modern Smart Home

In many ways, the next-gen smart home makes it easier for seniors to maintain their freedom well into their later years. Some are hesitant to embrace these gadgets in the first place — they want to stick to tradition as much as possible, after all.

Once they realize the benefits, however, which include increased health and safety, greater independence and access to new and unique services, many of them are quick to embrace the idea of modern technology.

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