Great Gadgets to Care for the Elderly
It’s only natural for the elderly to want their independence, but it can be concerning for loved ones involved. With their safety and well-being at stake, it’s highly beneficial to invest in technologies that can not only prevent accidents, but can ease their day-to-day living.
- If you worry your parents won’t be able to reach you in an emergency:
Give them a big-button phone like the Jitterbug, designed specifically for the elderly. Many seniors don’t like mobile phones because they’re too complex, or the tiny buttons are hard to manage. The Jitterbug One-Touch is an easy-open clamshell with extra-loud speakers, big backlit buttons, and a bright screen with easy-to-read numbers. It also takes simplicity a step further, with three impossible-to-miss buttons that connect them to the emergency services, an operator who will connect them to anyone they want to reach, and a pre-programmed number of a family member.
- If you worry about the mess inside the house:
Get the iRobot – a family of automated cleaners. While you could hire someone to clean the home, you don’t want to pull down the elderly’s sense of dignity and control. The tiny, effective iRobot Roomba can handle a simple problem like a spilled box of cereal, while The Scooba, which washes floors on its own, can prevent any slips or falls when cleaning. The Looj is also efficient in cleaning the rain-gutters, so seniors can save on handyman fees.
- If you worry your parents will burn themselves in the shower:
A temperature-activated flow reducer won’t let the shower get too hot, even if they zone out while taking a bath. It’s relatively low-tech and can cost less than $40. A screw-on faucet attachment prevents burns by shutting off the water from a sink or shower if it gets too hot.
- If you worry about them forgetting their medications, or taking in the wrong ones:
Automatic pill reminders will keep them from getting their prescriptions scrambled. MD.2, for example, is a monitored dispenser that you or a caregiver can load and refill, and which will dispense all the appropriate pills in a timely manner at the touch of a button. Alternatively, Rescue Alert will monitor the pillbox electronically and alert a dispatcher if the lid isn’t opened when it’s supposed to be.
- If you worry a fire can start in the kitchen:
Get the Safe-T-element Cooking System. This device consists of cover plates you can install over existing stove-top burners that limit how hot they can get and automatically shut off the stove if they reach a certain temperature.
- If you worry that your parents will fall and be unable to get up:
The Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) lets your parents connect to a 24-hour call centre with the push of a button – the transmitter can be worn on a neck pendant. PERS can be purchased or leased, and prices vary. Expect to pay $200 to $1,500 to own a system, plus a small monthly monitoring fee. Rentals, which usually include monitoring, average $15 to $50 a month.
- If you worry they will miss phone calls or leave visitors standing outside the door:
The doorbell-telephone flashing-light signaller will let your parents know when they have a call or visitors have arrived.