Last week I caught up with Annabel James, founder of Age Space UK – the online resource for elderly care, on Instagram Live. You can watch the whole conversation HERE however, I have tried to condense some of the advice and helpful tips in this article.
There is so much technology around but we want to make sure that in attempting to simplify life for our elderly we don’t complicate it even further with gadgets with so many buttons and gizmos. Inevitably there may be a lot of resilience and we want to tread carefully when we introduce this sensitive subject. We don’t want them to feel that we are invading their privacy and we certainly don’t want to curtail their pleasure e.g. stop them walking etc. However, we do worry that they might have a fall and not be able to call anyone so it is a fine balance to try to explain that we want to support them but not interfere with their lives.
So what is there on the market?
PERSONAL ALARM PENDANTS
They are mostly available as a bracelet or necklace. These are great if you are worried about your relative taking a tumble. They can be connected to a call centre and they can give the wearer reassurance and confidence.
Unfortunately they are not all are very attractive but there are some that look like Fitbits which are a bit more modern. Some can be bought outright, or you can pay monthly and there are many options i.e. they can be connected to just family and friends or they can be connected to a call centre.
There are ones just for fall detection. This is also available on iPhones in the health app however, not many elderly will have an Apple iPhone.
Also, there is one that is a GPS tracker so if your relative does go wandering this one is great however, the word tracker is maybe a little off-putting. It sounds like something I put on my wandering dog.
Click HERE for the Age Space list of reviews of the best ones available. It is worth shopping around to find the one that works for your relative.
There may be financial help available from the local health authority especially if they are helping fund their care already.
HOME MONITORING SYSTEMS
Monitoring is a terrible word however they are incredibly useful. Sensors can be placed around the home which monitors peoples behaviour and movements in the kitchen, sitting room or bedroom. They will ping an alarm to the person the other end if something is not right. An example is if Mum hasn’t made her early morning tea. There are armchair sensors if Mum has not got out of her chair for any length of time. NO CAMERAS!
There are even clever ones for incontinence in bed. These sensors are taking off as technology is improving and they are really user friendly. However, again they should be called Support Systems.
There is other Tech that might be helpful namely Video calling. This is quite new on the market but so much simpler than Zoom calls. This new technology has been developed with older people in mind. They either have a screen or it comes through TV (might not be happy if you interrupt your relative’s favourite TV programme) It comes with very few buttons and is simple to set up. You can even limit who can call in ie no cold calls. Once set up the elderly person has to do nothing. The one from Komp announces who is calling and then answers after 10 seconds. Some allow group calling and some can receive pictures. It means that these calls can all happen from the comfort of their armchair.
Check out the Age Space recommendations and reviews HERE.
AIDS UNDER £15
There are many items that are nothing to do with technology but will assist the elderly. They can make their lives easier and are simple and budget-friendly. You might consider these before going on to any of the above technology systems.
Age Space have so many great recommendations e.g a two handled teapot, a motion sensor night light to put at edge of bed for when you get out of bed during the night, a button aid etc. Many of these items could be for those who are not so old! I have my eye on the night light.
Check out this section on the Age Space website HERE.
Thank you so much to Annabel James for sharing her knowledge about the technology available and her insight into how to introduce them into your elderly relatives’ lives.