After years of following innovations in technology hoping to see a focus on aging in place seniors, we realize products that are good for us in our homes are good for our seniors in their homes, too.
Technology that we want in our homes and find useful to make our lives more convenient are what our senior loved ones can use too.
What products are most helpful for seniors and their family caregivers?
What obstacles to adopting tech are still problematic for today’s seniors?
What technology will give caregivers the most effective solutions for their senior’s safety, independence and their own peace of mind?
Retail Technology Solutions
Some of the most effective and helpful products family caregivers can adopt for their aging in place senior loved ones can be purchased from the big box stores in the neighborhood. More and more innovations are coming.
In the past, finding new and inventive products that might be just the right solution for seniors was difficult for family caregivers not only to locate but then purchase for home use.
Many great innovations that have been touted to fill a void by manufacturers haven’t even come to the US market. Many of these we personally saw in past CES® exhibits aren’t available, even though we knew that they would be helpful to seniors in the home.
Getting the technology to the people it can help, especially our seniors, can be a real problem for manufacturers.
Now retail chains are seeing the wisdom of meeting the demand for us all when technology solutions are available.
Senior Tech at Big Box Retailer
Recently Best Buy, a national electronic retailer, announced that it wants to be the go-to place to buy tech for our senior loved ones.
They are now in the business of selling in-home monitoring products that are capable of remotely monitoring seniors for family caregivers and keeping them up to date on their safety.
They have partnered with UnitedHealthcare Retiree Solutions to help seniors and family caregivers with successfully using technology.
Equipment is available for around $390 and can be installed by the Best Buy Geek Squad for $199. The monthly monitoring fee is $29/month.
The company is piloting this new line for seniors called Assured Living in a few cities but plan to include it in all their locations if it is well received. Best Buy currently stocks competitor products in the aging in place senior market and has for about 10 years. Their hope is that they can focus solely on the needs of seniors through this partnership including their Geek Squad expertise.
Tech Challenges To Overcome
Family caregivers want technology to help fill the gap that they now find in caregiving situations especially for sandwich generation carers who are juggling careers, children, and their senior loved ones care.
They are making use of smartphone apps and even in-home monitoring advancements that give greater help in a less intrusive way than in the past.
There are however many challenges and concerns that family caregivers express when looking to the latest technology innovations that for many are still unsolved.
Ease of Use
The greatest invention is useless if our seniors won’t use it. It has to be unassuming, easy for them to understand how to use, unbreakable in their eyes and secure. How many family caregivers have heard our senior loved one say “I am afraid to use it because I don’t want to break it.” Many seniors still fear breaking the internet when they use their computers or smartphone apps – really!
There has to be a way to easily troubleshoot their user experience so that if they don’t remember a step or need a simple update, that can be easily accomplished before they give up on the technology.
Who will pay? Is there any insurance that will cover the cost such as long term care policies or medical insurance especially when we think medication management or vital sign monitoring? What happens when seniors can’t afford it, will the financial burden of the most effective caregiving technology solution be born by the family or out of the reach to most seniors?
Is it seamless? Does it need 5 different apps before it gives an alert? Do all the devices communicate with caregivers and each other?
Is the security of health data and personal information finally at a point where we understand and accept that the benefits of the device outweigh the risk?
Utility and Fun Too?
Can technology give our seniors (and family caregivers) a bit of fun along with the utility?
Who wouldn’t enjoy asking your Personal Assistant to play some swing music and instantly hear Glenn Miller playing? Devices like Alexa, Echo, Google Home and other new entries into this market can yield enjoyment for our seniors as they also turn on lights, adjust the thermostat, and monitor our senior’s movement pattern, helping them stay safe in their own home and remain more independent.
What about sharing photos and stories via Facebook, Skype, FaceTime, and a variety of other technologies that seniors are adopting every day? We all love seeing the grandkids everyday even when they live far away or even nearby but are too busy to visit in person as often as grandparents would prefer.
Have you seen the latest wearables that can connect your senior with others to challenge their steps, plays games AND monitor their vital signs? Not to mention they can act as GPS trackers in case of an emergency! They are very stylish and can be a real conversation starter instead of a stigmata that you need more help.
Technology continues to advance to help us all. When we find solutions that work for us, they will ultimately work for our seniors.
The more we demand of our technology to help our caregiving role, the better these products will become to meet our senior’s needs.
We will be reporting on more technology innovations in the coming months as we investigate the latest tech offerings at CES 2018.