Care innovations: wearable technology for the elderly
As healthcare improves, life expectancy rises and people are opting to stay at home for longer. Families are having an increased responsibility in the care of their older relatives and many opt for domiciliary care. It is crucial that older people are given as much freedom as possible to live an independent and active life whilst being comforted by the knowledge that help is available as and when they need it – families and carers cannot always be around, but wearable technology can.
Wearable technology can give more and more freedom to elderly people and their families to stay independent and active whilst allowing their families, carers and healthcare professionals to be able to monitor their health whilst they are with them – and also remotely.
Technology is also being used to improve the care that is being given to older people. According to 24-hour care experts at Helping Hands Home Care “the ability to track and manage home care visits effectively is so important to providing a safe and efficient service”.
Technology is certainly changing the way that we are able to care for our elderly relatives, whether it is delaying the time that it takes for them to need more full-time care, the monitoring of certain health aspects or giving family peace of mind.
Wearable technology for elderly people
In a similar way that we can monitor certain aspects of our health through wearable technology, such as a Fitbit, there is now more and more technology becoming available for elderly people. Here are some of the best and most effective pieces of technology that you might wish to consider to be ensured of their safety and monitor existing health conditions with ease and accuracy:
Lively Mobile Plus
GreatCall’s Lively Mobile Plus is an excellent option for family members who are worried about their elderly relatives having a fall. As people get older and frailer, the possibility of falling becomes greater and the consequences of falling also become potentially more serious.
The Lively Mobile Plus consists of a wearable pendant or clip that is waterproof and connected to agents 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It can be worn in the shower and by simply pressing a button your loved one can speak to an agent whenever they need to.
It is also fitted with a GPS meaning that should your loved one get into trouble when they are out and about, they can easily be found. Users pay a monthly fee for the monitoring services.
Alert-1's Mobile + Home Fall Detection System
Another option for those who are mainly concerned about family members having a fall is the Alert-1 Mobile + Home Fall Detection System. There are two systems – a small and light, portable device with fall detection technology, GPS and two-way voice calling. A separate sensor unit can be worn at home giving the portable device time to charge, available either as a pendant or a wristband.
If the sensor detects a fall, a call is put through to the Alert-1 call centre, the staff of which can then send help if it is needed.
Care Touch Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor
Blood pressure is a concern for many older people. The Care Touch Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor is worn as a wristband, battery operated and can give you quick and accurate blood pressure readings. The monitor is much less bulky than other machines and will give the results in a bright and easy to read display – as well as being able to store up to 60 readings.
The monitor will also alert the wearer if they have an irregular heartbeat, but it does need to be fitted properly and calibrated to get accurate readings.
ActiveProtective Airbag Smart Belt
Soon to be hitting the market is the ActiveProtective Airbag Smart Belt. Breaking or fracturing a hip during a fall is unfortunately very common, and the consequences of this can often be even more serious. The Airbag Smart Belt is fit just like any other belt but incorporates technology to detect when a person is falling, triggering the belt to inflate and protecting the hip. It takes the belt 60 milliseconds to inflate and also includes Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to be able to alert caregivers that someone has fallen.
The belt is lightweight and comfortable to wear but offers an extra layer of protection – which is much needed as our loved ones get older and frailer.
Although many of us can be reluctant to embrace everything that technology has to throw at us, some technological advancements can be highly beneficial to us. With wearable tech, we cannot only see the quality of life for our loved ones improve, but we can also have more peace of mind ourselves.