Technology Helping You Stay Independent Longer
As we grow old, we realise that we find some things difficult to do on our own. Things like eating or moving around our homes become increasingly difficult. The good news is that technology is catching up and helping us stay independent longer.
According to the Washington State University, almost everybody at least 60 years old would want to stay in their homes and live independently, indefinitely. There are three areas that people in their 60s and 70s need to focus on in order to do this. These are safety, the ability to do daily tasks, and taking care of daily needs.
There are specially designed mobile phones for the older people that feature big buttons and extra loudspeakers. These phones also have brighter screens. This way you can contact anyone easily. You can also scout the market for personal emergency response systems that could help you in case of an emergency.
To be extra safe, there are several monitoring systems that allow you to notify your children, a dispatcher or anybody if there is something wrong. For instance, these monitoring systems will call an emergency dispatcher if you went into the bathroom and stayed there for more than an hour. Some systems use motion-detecting sensors that learn your routine and then alert a loved one if there are any disruptions to this routine.
These sensors know, for instance, what time you come down for breakfast and it will alert somebody that there might be something wrong if you don’t have breakfast that day. A less creepy alternative monitors appliances around the house. It will alert somebody if, for instance, the shower was left running the entire day, or if you do not turn on the telly and you happen to be an avid TV watcher. There are also smart detection devises that work harder than your ordinary smoke alarm, which sounds when a fire has already erupted and it senses smoke. Smart detectors can detect toxic gases in the kitchen and alerts you about it, helping you avoid fire.
Diane Cook, the director of the Smart Homes Project in the Center for Advanced Studies in Adaptive Systems, pointed out that there are now smart technologies that can help you monitor movements in your home, automatically adjust the temperature, and even automatically turn on the lights when you enter a room. Since 2006, Cook has been designing homes with artificial intelligence – houses that “think”. For somebody who might not be able to move around that much, technologies like these keep you from having to stand up to turn off the light switch or looking for the remote control or manually shutting down your climate control systems.
There are smart clocks that wake you up in the morning and while it’s rousing you up, it activates the coffeemaker so that you’d have a hot cup of coffee when you get to the kitchen. There are also robot cleaners. You can buy a robotic vacuum cleaner that pretty much takes care of vacuuming the entire house without needing intervention. In fact, they clean and clean until their batteries run out. What’s more amazing is that these robots would go back to their bases and recharge.
There are also smart appliances that help you with your daily tasks. For instance, a smart refrigerator keeps track of the food inside and can help you remember to buy food when it senses that you are at the market. And if you love tending to your garden, then there are also automated irrigation systems that turn on the water during your specified times.
These systems also check the weather report, so that it could automatically water your lawns if it’s unseasonably warm and forego watering when it’s raining. The beauty of smart products is that these devices also have the ability to learn your behaviour. It means that you do not need to programme these devices too much. So even if you are not tech-savvy, everything is working – as you would prefer it. Of course, you should also check out keyless locks that work on NFC and other wireless technologies.
Medications are, sadly, a huge part of growing old. And a lot of people over 50 tend to forget their medications or they mistakenly take the wrong one. Thankfully, there are smart medication reminders that can help you remember when to take your pills. These devises range from pillboxes with timers and alarms, to those that have sensors. These sensors would know when you open your pillbox. And if it detects that you have not opened them at a time when you should have, it will send you an e-mail or an SMS message.
For the hearing impaired, there are telephones and doorbells that also come with a flashing light to let you know when the phone is ringing or when somebody is at the door. These are just examples of technology that can help people in their 60s and 70s stay independent a while longer as they go about their day to day lives. These technologies are designed to help keep us safe, to help us perform our daily tasks with ease, and to help us meet our everyday needs.