Technological Advances that Allow Seniors to Live at Home Longer

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A recent AARP survey shows that over 90% of seniors wish to live in their home as they age, rather than living in assisted care facilities or nursing homes.  This statistic is anything but earth shattering as it’s probable that most of us would answer this question the same way.  In a previous blog, we discussed physical changes you can make to your home’s structure and layout to make it safer for seniors, (read more: http://www.lindusconstruction.com/blog/2012/08/for-seniors-theres-no-place-like-a-safe-and-accessible-home/) and now we invite you to learn about advances in technology that permit seniors to live at home longer than was possible in the past.

PROBLEM: The Minnesota Board of Aging reports that more than 1 in 5 seniors take more than 5 medications daily.  Confusion can arise when it comes to dosage and frequency.

ANSWER: Recurring reminder pill reminder dispensers.  Though offerings vary widely by price point, the idea behind a recurring pill dispenser that a caregiver loads the dispenser with the appropriate number of pills per intake.  The dispenser is often locked so that there is no room for error.  To remind the patient to take the pills, a dispenser can set off an alarm until they are taken or the patient can be notified via phone that it is now time for their prescription to be taken.  Higher tech models can even alert a caretaker if the pill dispenser is opened at times when medication is not needed.

PROBLEM: A person is living with their spouse but is experiencing symptoms of Alzheimer’s and dementia and has wandered off in the past without letting anyone know where they are going.

ANSWER: GPS sneakers.  Statistics show that patients with Alzheimer’s & dementia are at a high risk for wandering off and becoming disoriented and unable to find their way back home.  Rarely, do they do so without shoes.  GPS sneakers are designed to send text alerts that notify the people you have selected once someone wanders beyond the parameters set up for them.  The alerts show the exact location of the person in real time.

PROBLEM: A stove left unattended for several hours is a serious fire hazard.

ANSWER: Smart appliances.  Major appliance manufacturers, such as GE, have adopted technology in some of their models that can sense if a stove is on but is not being used and react by shutting it down.    

PROBLEM: A senior living home alone could fall and not have anyone be able to assist them.

ANSWER: Personal emergency response system.  These devices allow those who wear them to be connected 24/7 to a call center simply by pushing the button (usually on a bracelet or necklace).  Upon pushing the button, a call center representative will be able to summon a family member, ambulance, police officer, etc.  For seniors who are uninterested in wearing a bracelet or necklace, more sophisticated systems are available that use sensors to track their movement throughout a home.  The system is set up to detect if someone has been in the bathroom for an unusually long time, has gotten out of bed much later than usual, etc.  If the senior is suspected to be in danger, caregivers or family members are notified via phone or text.  No action is required by the person being monitored and no video or audio surveillance is used.

PROBLEM: A doorbell isn’t loud enough to get the attention of the homeowner.

ANSWER: Doorbell light signaler.  Installing a doorbell light signaler, adds a 2nd way of letting a homeowner know that someone has arrived.  When the doorbell button is pressed, lights in a room will flicker.  This prevents packages from sitting outside the door when someone home and also ensures that visitors are welcomed in a timely manner.

PROBLEM: Showers that put out scalding hot water

ANSWER: Programmable shower.  Major shower manufacturers now make shower heads that can be preprogrammed to the ideal temperature. 

PROBLEM: Those with arthritis may experience pain when trying to turn the handles on a faucet.

ANSWER: Motion detector faucet that turns on and off just by waving your hand underneath it.

 Call us now at 1-800-873-1451 or check us out on the web at www.lindusconstruction.com to schedule a free in-home. Tune into AM 830 WCCO on Saturdays from 9:00-10:00am hosted by Denny Long and Andy Lindus to ask questions regarding your home improvement projects.

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