Most seniors want to stay right where they are, in a house they know, with their stuff, and with neighbors they may have known for decades. But the fact is, many older people (whether that’s you or your parents) will be dealing with chronic health conditions and the effects of aging.
Before deciding that assisted living is the answer, consider technological solutions. Improvements in connectivity, such as 5G and Wi-Fi, coupled with smaller, faster devices, mean that there is better, more reliable technology to provide safety, security and peace of mind.
If you’re considering adding technology to mom or dad’s home, be sure to include them in the conversation. What is their level of comfort with using technology? What are their concerns? For example, are they prone to falls and would need help getting up? Are they taking their medications like they’re supposed to? Are they worried about personal safety and security? This would be a good topic to ask their primary care doctor about as well.
I find that Baby Boomers are a lot more comfortable and knowledgeable about technology than the generation that came before them — after all, most were in the workplace during the technology boom that started in the ’80s and ’90s.
But for those who may be uncertain about the idea, start with something small and easy to understand, like an electronic pill dispenser that beeps or flashes lights when it’s time to take a medication or a video doorbell, which can be monitored remotely and allow for two-way conversations with whoever is at the door.
Affordability is another concern, both the upfront cost and any monthly data fees or other obligations. These can really add up, so it’s important to prioritize the senior’s needs before investing. For example, there’s a medication dispenser/reminder on the market that can be monitored remotely, but it costs $65 a month. You have to decide if medication compliance is a big enough problem to warrant such an expense.