How Could Technology Make Life Easier for the Elderly?

When it comes to caring for older relatives, technology is often put out of mind, people considering it too confusing for older generations. However, there’s a whole world of technology that can make life simpler, less stressful and more efficient. Multiple devices and apps are available to make life easier and safer, so whether you are worried about your mum’s medication, your dad getting out the house to do shopping or an elderly friend getting lost, there are solutions to help.

Easy Online Solutions

If you or your elderly friend own a computer, laptop or tablet, here are a couple of ideas to make everyday issues a lot quicker.

  • Online shopping is a great way to avoid the queues, heavy bags and wonky-wheeled trolleys of the supermarket. You can often set up a standard online shopping list which means all your weekly basics will automatically be on your list before you start. Whether you help your elderly relative set this up for themselves, or organise it for them every week, it saves a lot of time and effort.
  • Managing your finances and/or the finances of the person you are looking after online can make money processes so much easier and is available round the clock.
  • Use Group calendars that automatically update and co-ordinate within your family or network, such as Google Calendars. This means everyone can be kept in the loop simultaneously. Skype or Facetime are also great ways to keep in touch with friends and family, plus you can have multiple people on one call. If you think these programmes may be too complicated, our carers can help your elderly friend/relative get to grips with how they work and help them when needed.
  • Online GP services are available to book appointments, order repeat prescriptions and to view your patient record. This can give you peace of mind if you just want to check that your elderly relative is up-to-date with their medication, plus test results are often also released online. Ask the surgery for which online services they offer.

Environmental Monitoring

Managing a home environment is a difficult task for the elderly, but there are plenty of tech solutions to control household appliances.

  • Heat and lighting controls are perfect for people with mobility restrictions, who live independently. Remotes are available that can turn on/off multiple plug socket lights all at once (such as plug-in lamps). Alternatively many phone apps are available that pair with ‘smart switches’, to ensure you can dim or turn off your lights from the sofa, or turn them all on when you enter the room. Wireless thermostat controls/ phone app thermostats are also on the market to further increase everyday convenience.
  • Speech activated devices are available which use voice commands to control appliances or electrical items, such as your television, heating and  lighting. There are also devices on the market, such as Amazon’s ‘Echo’ that can respond to vocal requests, such as “What is the weather today?”, “Play BBC Radio 1” or “Order me a taxi”.
  • Smart appliances, such as ovens, fridges and washing machines can be controlled via a mobile app are great for people who struggle to get around the house. For example, if they are upstairs they could preheat the oven from their mobile, instead of traipsing up and down the stairs.
  • Home automation includes electric blinds/curtains, ventilation, security and smart devices. They can be a fantastic way to maintain comfort in the home with minimal movement.

Other Solutions

  • Medication management devices remind the person to take their medication. They can also issue the correct dosage at the specific time and many have safety locks to prevent over-medicating. Alerts can be sent to multiple people if medication has been missed.
  • Passive infra-red detectors are mounted to a wall to monitor activity – they can tell you where each person is in the household and whether they are up and active.
  • Fall detectors are exactly what they sound like. You or a 24-hour monitoring and response centre could be notified if someone has fallen as soon as it happens.
  • Panic buttons can be placed around the home in the event of a break-in or incident.

Through utilising these technologies, it is far more possible for elderly people to continue independently living in the comfort of their own home. Our carers can help ensure that your elderly relative/friend feels comfortable with the above technologies, knowing exactly how they work to make the most of them. Get in touch with our team for friendly advice on 01494 678811 or drop us an email at care@universal-care.co.uk.

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