From the Desk of Dawn Neglia
The APPS have it!! – Part 2
Last month we began reviewing different types of technology and apps for phones that may assist seniors with maintaining independence. We continue this month with highlighting some options. This article is not an endorsement or advertisement for any specific brand.
Personal Emergency Response systems are a great option for people who live alone. These devices work with the press of a button to alert emergency responders that you are in distress or have fallen. Many like GreatCall and MobileHelp work both in and outside of the home and offer fall detection in cases where a person cannot push the button. For people who would prefer an app and not a device, IPhone and Android offer “Red Panic Button” which sends messages to a pre-designated list when you press the app.
As a caregiver, you may have concerns with a loved one who has mild dementia but continues to drive, or you may be someone who drives but finds new destinations more challenging. Verizon offers the Hum device that is not only diagnostic, but tracks where a vehicle has been and sends this information to an app for a loved one to monitor. The app is user friendly and the package comes at a low cost. How many of us put our keys down and cannot locate them in our purse or home? The TilePro is a device that attaches to your keyring and uses a Bluetooth tracker to set off an alarm when you need help with finding them around the house.
In addition to devices and applications to increase independence and safety, I encourage all seniors who live alone to consider the Blue Angel Program offered by our police department. This program helps the police and emergency responders with entering your home via a special lockbox device that hold your house key. This can minimize a delay in reaching you and prevents damage to the door/home when forced entry would be used if you cannot reach the door to allow responders into the home. The township also offers a Special Needs Registry where you can ensure the safety of a loved one who may have cognitive impairment, such as dementia. These are free programs and I am happy to assist anyone who may need an application.
The APPS have it!!
According the Consumer Technology Associations, the aging technology market “is expected to grow to nearly $30 billion in the next few years”. This means there may be an app or device to assist almost everyone! Many people are familiar with technology devices like Alexa and Google Home, as they offer many different models that can set reminders, answer questions, make lists and even video chat from the comfort of your home. For those who do not drive, Lyft and Uber have user- friendly apps for IPhone and Androids. Video doorbell systems like Ring have become popular and allow people to view who is at the door before opening it to a potential dangerous visitor. However, there are other types of technology and phone apps marketed specifically for seniors to help with life and safety. My articles for March and April will focus on these options.
Vision and hearing impairment affect many seniors and at times, eyeglasses and hearing aides are not enough. The IPhone offers a free app called “Be My Eyes” that can help magnify and illuminate text on documents and menus when you find yourself struggling with fine print. Vendors MaxiAid and Independent Living offer products such as scales, thermometers, blood pressure monitors, glucose monitors and even pill bottles that will dictate the text aloud. For those with hearing difficulties, there are devices like TV Ears, which assists with volume control for television and allows the user to adjust the volume on their personal device, without affecting fellow viewers. Caption phones such as ClearCaptions, can display text to make conversations less frustrating and better yet, can be provided at no cost!
When you are managing multiple medications, it can often be difficult to recall what time each pill is due for administration and sometimes it is just impossible to open the bottle! IPhone offers an app called Pillboxie that can have reminders sent to your device that help track your pill times. There are also devices like the TabSafe Medication dispenser that can set reminders, administer and alarm to help with medication compliance, when an app is not enough.
This article only highlights a few options and is not intended as an advertisement or an endorsement of any particular brand, but presents ideas for further research. If you are interested in learning more, please stop by the office at any time.
Part 2 of this article will be featured in the April Beacon.
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