Your senior years can be the most rewarding of your life. Retirement and a sensible budget sets you free to pursue what matters most, from family to hobbies and volunteering. However, aging also brings challenges. It gets harder to do household tasks, get around, and stay on top of your health.
Thankfully, tech companies are stepping into this gap. The gadgets and apps that we talk about here can help. Best of all, these handy devices don’t need to break the bank. In fact, you may already have some of them in your home or in your pocket.
The AARP reports that 77% of older adults have a smart phone. If you’re one of them, you already own a powerful digital multi-tool. Two of the smart phone’s most exciting capabilities are virtual assistants and apps.
Virtual assistants like Alexa, Cortana, and Siri are available on many smart phones. These programs let you operate your phone hands-free. You also won’t need to dig through confusing menus or learn how to manage a new app. The virtual assistant does that for you. A virtual assistant handles tasks such as calling people, creating to-do lists, looking up directions, playing music and audio books, reminding you to take medication, and even controlling smart lights.
Apps help you shop for the home, get around, and connect with others. Some of the most useful senior-friendly apps include shopping services and ride booking. Shopping apps can bring what you need right to the door, including deliveries from the local grocery store or Walmart, and from online retailers like Amazon. Apps like Postmates will also order home goods and pharmacy items for you.
What if you want to leave the house? Ride booking apps will get you picked up and dropped off wherever you need to go. Lyft and Uber are among the best known ones. There are also smaller companies like GoGoGrandparent. Some of these services will also let your loved ones know when you’re on your way and when you’ve been dropped off.
If you’re planning to age in place, your home may need a bit of renovation. Think about adding home sensors and smart devices to your project list. Small, unobtrusive sensors and smart utilities create a powerful safety net throughout the home. Together, they can manage tasks such as adjusting the thermostat on command or even turning on the bedroom light when they notice you’ve gotten out of bed. A smoke detector is crucial but how about one that automatically calls the fire department when it detects dense smoke? How about systems that lock the front door when it’s nighttime, that beep when the refrigerator door is left open, or that shut off stove burners that are left on?
It’s increasingly easy to equip a home with alert devices for seniors that don’t have to be worn. The risk of a fall that can disable an aging body is higher as the years go by, and new smart medical alert systems are appearing that install in the home. All of these smart devices can be controlled from your smart phone or a central hub. They take over many of the minor tasks around the house, as well as covering the safety aspects, freeing you up to focus on more important things.
Video calling loved ones and ordering food online is highly convenient…right up until your Internet signal fails. Many areas of the country have poor coverage, and many homes have ‘dark spots’ where the signal is much weaker.
Mesh Wi-Fi can fix this problem. This system uses a network of routers placed in key areas of the home. Together, the routers create a strong and reliable Wi-Fi signal no matter where you are indoors. Some even extend that Wi-Fi into the yard, so your tech will always be working, no matter where you wander.
According to the CDC, 60% of Americans will develop at least one chronic disease and 40% will develop two or more. If you find yourself with a complicated schedule of medication and doctor’s visits, you have a lot of company. For added convenience, look into smart pill cases. Some of these can be programmed to dispense the pills you need when they need to be taken. This saves you a struggle with complex schedules and childproof pill bottles.
Specialized devices can be easier to use than a complicated smart phone. You may want to take a look at alert devices, smartwatches, pill cases, and upgraded hearing aids. There are a number of gadgets on the market designed to help you stay on top of your health.
Alert systems for health and medical condition monitoring are multifunctional devices that you wear around your neck or as a watch, and they’re now so abundant that they need their own review sites to decide which combo is for you. These gadgets can remind you to take medication and monitor your heartbeat, insulin levels, and more. Most include emergency alerts. If you get lost or fall, those alert systems will get you help quickly.
Are your hearing aids due for an upgrade? Bluetooth tech lets you connect them to other devices. You can enjoy TV and music broadcast right to the ears, no headphones required. This tech also helps you hear soft-speaking relatives that you’ve video-called. And for extended help, you can connect directly to your smart phone’s virtual assistant.