New technologies help seniors age in place – and not feel alone – Tech News

Carol Smith can control the lights and the thermostat with Amazon Echo. She can ask Alexa to remind her to take medications, or even to call for help. — Tribune News Service

Nancy Delano, 80, of Denver has any plans to slow down anytime soon. She still drives to movies, plays and dinners out with friends. A retired elder care nurse who lives alone, she also knows that “when you reach a certain age, emergencies can happen fast.”

So, when her son, Tom Rogers, talked to her about installing a remote monitoring system, she did not hesitate. With motion sensors placed throughout the house, Rogers can, if she is, moving around, if she's sleeping (or not), if she forgot to lock the door

“It gives both of us peace of mind, particularly as she ages and wants to live at home,” said Rogers, who lives near Washington, DC hundreds of miles away from her.'s Wellness system is markedly less expensive than options such as hiring a home health aide to check on her or moving her into a retirement community.

The average cost of nursing home care is US $ 95,000 (RM372,000) a year, while assisted living and in-home care tops US $ 45,000 (RM176,000) annually, according to a 2017 Genworth Financial report.

The exorbitant costs of nursing home and assisted living care are driving sales and innovation in the technology market. Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Translator's Notebook: Theory of the Scripps: How the Digital Revolution Will Create Better Health Care.

For many, the technology offers not just the tools they need to continue to live at home , but newfound confidence and connectedness with faraway family and friends. Topol calls it “monitored independence” and it is changing how older generations in America. “People want to be autonomous, irrespective of age,” he said.

That was certainly the case for Carol Smith, 83, who lives in the Carlsbad by the Sea retirement community in Carlsbad, California, with her husband, Ray, 84. “I'm in a wheelchair, so I depend on my husband a lot, “she said. The Smiths were introduced to the Amazon Echo last February through a pilot program for seniors.

Carol is now able to control lights and the thermostat. She can ask Alexa to remind her to take medications, or to call her. “It gives her a great deal of independence,” Ray said. “If for some reason I have to be away, she's able to keep her safe.”

Voice-assistive technologies like the Amazon Echo , Google Home and HomePod are likely to play a major role in helping seniors, especially when paired with apps. Majd Alwan, executive director of the LeadingAge Center for Aging Services Technologies (CAST). [19659002] AskMarvee, for instance, integrates with Amazon Echo via an online portal to allow seniors to immediately connect with family members for a quick check-in or if something more serious is going on. Laurie Orlov, the founder of Aging in Place Technology Watch.

It will allow users to engage with the device, much like Alexa, but also in the pre-programmed intervals: Good morning, Nancy. Did you remember to take your medication?

The ability to designate a Will one. – Tribune News Service

For Mike Willis, 63, of Guelph, Ontario, getting regular medication prompts. Willis takes 27 pills a day, most of them, anti-rejection drugs.

To keep it all straight, he uses Medisafe, an app that reminds him when it's time to take his next dose, or to take the pills with water or food, and what side effects might be attributable to the medication. [19659002] “After my transplant, I was a little confused, so I was assigned to my wife, Linda, as a” MedFriend “which meant I got an alert when I did not take my medication,” he said.

Indeed, the ability to designate a person as well as a second set of eyes and ears can be comforting rather than intrusive, as Willis and Delano have discovered. And yet, there's a fine line between technology, that's what's happening to people, and technology that reinforces stereotypical images of aging as a slow decline towards death.

Until recently, Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS) “Help, I've fallen and I can not get up.” David Lindeman, director of the Center for Technology and Aging at the University of California-Berkeley .

By the end of March, MedHab, a Texas company best known for its wearable insoles for rehab patients, will begin shipping MyNotifi, a medical alert wristband designed to detect falls and send an alert to a family member or friend.

“It looks like a watch, and Mum or Dad can invite anybody they want, family or friends, to get those alerts through the MyNotifi Fall Detection app,” said MedHab President and CEO Johnny Ross.

Similar fall detection technologies in various stages of testing include SafelyYou, which uses wall-mounted cameras and software algorithms to detect falls, and UnaliWear's Kanega watch, which combines fall detection, voice-assisted emergency aid and medication reminders.

“If the goal is independent and connected living, we need solutions that are multifaceted and that connect people with their family, their doctors, their neighbors, “said Jody Holtzman, senior managing partner of Longevity Venture Advisors.

“If the technology is framed in the context of fun and convenience, like Alexa, then people will start to buy these things.”

Carol Smith can not imagine life without Alexa. “When I read, I just say, 'Alexa, what does this word mean mean?' Or I ask Alexa to play the song. Oh, and I'm a basketball fan, but if I can not stay up late to watch the end of the game, I'll ask Alexa what the score is the next morning. She's fun, and she's always pleasant. “- Kaiser Health News / Tribune News Service

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