In the 21st century, moving elderly people into off-site aging facilities like nursing homes and retirement villages may no longer be necessary. With the advent of some interesting technologies, it is becoming more and more common for the elderly to “age in place” at their own residence.
Companies like Home Assist offer the elderly the opportunity to stay in their own homes and age with dignity, giving them a sense of freedom and self-reliance. While some technologies — like personal care robots — are still far off, other technology is here today. Here are some of the things seniors can look forward to having in their home as technology advances.
Smart Medical Equipment
Everyone knows about medical alert systems like Life Alert. These wearable bracelets and necklaces have been saving lives for decades.
The only problem with these is that someone has to push the button for help. In the case of a fall, an elderly person may be knocked unconscious, unable to press the button and losing valuable time. Today, there is automated equipment that can detect a fall or even heart troubles and alert an emergency team without any help from the wearer, assuring them that help will arrive quickly.
More advanced smart equipment includes monitors that continually check blood pressure, brain activity, stress and general well-being that used to be confined to hospitals and senior-care centers. The smart portability of these machines allows healthcare practitioners to monitor patients from their homes, creating a sense of comfort for the patient and their family.
Infusion at Home
One of the most important medical practices that used to required an extended hospital stay or permanent move to an adult-care facility was infusions, such as I.Vs. These deliver necessary medicines and nutrients to the patient.
Today, though, patients with chronic conditions that require frequent infusions can rest at home. Technology has gotten good enough for medical personnel to prepare and deliver infusions with safety and comfort. This means that the elderly do not need to put their life on hold in order to receive the treatment they need.
Healthcare practitioners can set the equipment up right by the bedside for illnesses like immune deficiencies, healing after transplants, oncology, arthritis, osteoporosis, anti-infectives — nearly any condition that elderly people commonly face. This way, they can continue to live life they way they want to, without any inconvenient trips to the hospital or other medical facilities.
Personal Safety Upgrades
There are already a lot of ways to protect senior’s personal safety. Besides the wearable technology already mentioned, there are things that can be places in the house that can give the elderly — and their family members — peace of mind wild they age in place.
All houses are equipped with smoke alarms, but there are times when a false alarm can cause confusion, or when the alarm fails to wake up the person who is home. Monitored smoke alarms are now available. These alarms automatically alert a security agency and the agency calls the home to make sure the person hears it. If the person fails to answer, the agency automatically alerts the fire department and sends help.
There are also smart security systems that use cameras and sensors to keep the elderly safe. These systems learn the habits and movements of the person and can notify health care workers or family members if something doesn’t seem right. Family members and doctors can also view the patient remotely, if they wish, so they can keep a constant eye on them.
The Automated Home
As they age, seniors can tend to forget simple things like turning off the stove after using it. Fortunately, there are now smart stoves and ovens that automatically turn off after a certain period of time to avoid accidental fires or burns.
Systems can also be set up to remind the elderly of important or necessary tasks they need to perform at certain times. These systems use the internet to monitor a schedule set by doctors or family members and announce over an intercom when it’s time to take medicines, check simple vital signs like blood pressure and even when to eat. Systems like these can help replace 24/7 supervision and give the senior a sense of pride in knowing that, although still with a little help, they can live their lives as normal as possible.
With the technology available now and in the future, seniors can look forward to living out their lives at home rather than in a medical facility.
Additionally, you may have recently seen ads for the “Granny Pod” or MEDCottage, the long term care portable housing options that allow you to take care of the senior from the comfort of your own yard. These are a great option for someone who owns their own land and wants to keep a close eye on an elderly person that insists on living on their own as long as possible.