High-Tech Solutions to Aging-in-Place Dilemmas
By Nell Bernstein, Caring.com senior editor
Ninety-five percent of people 75 and older say they want to stay in their homes indefinitely. This desire for independence is perfectly natural, but for their children, it's also a recipe for worry — that they'll fall, forget to take their meds, or just need assistance. You can make your parents' home far safer and more comfortable by investing in some of the new devices aimed at elders who have made the choice to “age in place.”
Solutions for safety worries
“Seniors can really get in trouble because they feel like they're losing their grip on independence,” says Susan Ayers Walker of SmartSilvers Alliance. Ayers monitors technological advances aimed at helping seniors hold on to their independence as they age. These technologies also help the children of aging parents, who worry that Mom is going to fall down the stairs, leave the stove on, or forget to take her medication if no one is around to notice.
Here's a worry-by-worry guide to some innovations — several tested and recommended by Walker — that can make all the difference if you're concerned about your live-alone parents' safety or just their day-to-day ease of living.
- YOUR WORRY: My parents won't be able to reach me in an emergency.
TECH SOLUTION: Big-button cell phone. According t
o the Pew Research Center, many seniors won't use a cell phone even in an emergency. They find them too complex, can't manage the tiny buttons, or can't read the screens. A big-button phone like the Jitterbug ($147), designed specifically for seniors, could give you and your parents peace of mind. It's an easy-open clamshell with extra-loud speakers, big backlit buttons, a bright screen with easy-to-read numbers, and a straightforward service contract (at an additional cost). The Jitterbug One-Touch takes simplicity a step further, with just three big, impossible-to-miss buttons — one for 911; one for the operator, who will connect your parent to anyone she wants to reach; and one preprogrammed to connect your parents to you or another family member. Such phones cost $10 to $80 per month for the service plan in addition to the cost of the phone.
If you or someone you know needs help with senior care in University City MO or the surrounding area, contact the caregivers at Senior Services Unlimited. We provide quality and affordable live in home care for many disabled and elderly loved ones in our community. Call us at 888-427-5285 for more information.