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We spend our entire lives enjoying our home and making memories there. But when we begin to age, our health, physical, and mental wellbeing may require us to consider moving into a care facility or nursing home. But most of us would agree that this isn’t a favorable option, so is there a way to overcome these problems and age in place?
Almost 90% of American adults over the age of 50 state that they wish to remain in their own homes in their later years. But as many as 7 out of 10 people will require some form of care after the age of 65. Obtaining this care in a setting away from home can be costly, but studies have shown that monitoring elderly people in their own homes can be effective.
While family members may live too far away to provide day-to-day care, a monitoring device can give that extra peace of mind and alert loved ones when there is a problem. This technology could mean the difference between moving into a care facility and staying at home.
Benefits of Senior Monitoring Devices
For many people, the use of senior monitoring devices may mean that they can enjoy their independence and their home for longer. There is a good range of devices that each brings about their own benefits. From reducing loneliness to allowing family to remotely monitor their loved ones, this could be the key to the future of aging in place.
Age in Place for Longer
Not many people, regardless of their age, would want to have to move into assisted living. This can be a demeaning and upsetting experience and something that a lot of older adults dread. Not to mention that the cost of doing so can be incredibly high. However, where care and support are needed, we need to think outside the box if our seniors are to remain at home.
A senior monitoring device could allow your loved one to age in place for longer and may even mean that you don’t need to fork out for in-home care. This boosts the independence of the senior, which in turn could improve their mood.
Allows for Remote Caregiving Monitoring
It isn’t uncommon for children and adult grandchildren to live far from their senior loved ones, but this doesn’t mean that families still can’t be there for one another. A monitoring device allows family members to remotely monitor their loved ones and provides everyone with greater peace of mind.
There are different types of devices, but some allow you to view your loved one through the use of smart cameras. This is excellent for checking on vulnerable adults who may be prone to falling, in which case, you can call for help quickly.
In the case of an emergency, the system will send real-time updates to caregivers, and most systems can be operated through your smartphone for ultimate convenience. All of these things combined can greatly reduce worry and stress.
Enhances Patient Safety & Wellbeing
It can be challenging for older people where safety is concerned, but by using a monitoring system, their safety can be improved. There are several types of devices, such as smoke detectors, smart doorbells, and blood pressure monitors, among others, that count towards a safer lifestyle.
This is imperative if the individual has a health condition that needs strict management, and if readings are out of range, notifications can be sent to caregivers for a timely response. Regular monitoring of things like blood pressure may alert caregivers to potential problems which can then be tended to by a doctor to uncover underlying issues more easily.
One of the most devastating problems faced by the older members of our community is loneliness. This can be crippling, especially when family and friends live far away. But with a senior monitoring device, there is the potential to speak to a person without the need for a smartphone, which many seniors find intimidating.
What’s more, the caregiver, having the ability to monitor the older adult will be able to see if they are bored or lonely and provide a solution to this, such as a daily check-in.
Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS)
A medical alert system offers peace of mind to both the elderly person and their caregivers. These systems come in various forms and connect to either your landline or a cellular network making them very versatile. They offer remote monitoring, and seniors can call for help when they need it, regardless of the time of day. For seniors who may become lost or disoriented, the simple press of a button will alert the appropriate assistance, and with GPS tracking, you don’t ever need to worry about not being able to locate them.
Some systems are monitored through a call center, whereas others will send alerts to family and friends. It’s important to choose which option is more suitable for you. There are other choices, including whether to wear the system or have a base unit in the house. Wearable devices usually come as a watch or pendant and often feature two-way communication.
It’s important to keep in mind that a monitored system will come with a monthly subscription fee, whereas an unmonitored system usually only requires the upfront cost of the equipment. These are more suited to people who have a caregiver living nearby. In any case, a PERS can give you the confidence that in the event of an emergency like a heart attack or a fall, someone will respond as soon as possible.
Mobile Medical Alert System
A mobile medical alert system is ideal for people who are active and lead a busy lifestyle. It’s easy to install and operates solely on a cellular connection, so you don’t need a landline.
The system is waterproof and so can be used in the shower which is ideal since a lot of slips happen in the bathroom. If the user does have a fall, this system is compatible with a mobile fall button which alerts the appropriate person and calls for help.
A mobile alert system like this features GPS tracking making it suitable for seniors who are at risk of becoming lost or confused.
There are several payment plans to choose from with a premium option that has extras such as free replacements and a number of discounts on other equipment. There’s no obligation once you sign up as the mobile medical alert system comes with a 30-day trial with no cancellation fee within this period.
Fall Detection Medical Alert System
According to the CDC, more than 36 million American seniors experience a fall each year. When using a fall detection system, should the user fall, this automatically sends an alert for help. These are usually wearable devices, and many are monitored by a call center for the fastest response times.
You’ll usually have a fall detection system as part of a larger system, like the Active Guardian medical alert system from Medical Guardian, which runs on a reliable 4G network with excellent coverage. There is a help button that can be pressed to speak, via two-way communication, to an advisor who can then dispatch the appropriate help, whether that be the emergency services or simply a family member.
The wearable fall detection device can be clipped onto your belt or worn on a lanyard and has a long-lasting battery that runs for up to seven days. This device is ideal for adults who have problems with balance or who are a little unsteady on their feet.
GPS Medical Alert System
A GPS medical alert system is suited for users who have cognitive problems. This might include things like Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia. Should your loved one become lost or confused, the system will provide the caregiver with an accurate, real-time location.
From just $19.99 a month, you can take advantage of a GPS medical alert system that requires nothing but a mobile device. Operating on a cellular network, your loved one will be protected everywhere that there is cover and when problems arise, they are quickly connected to an urgent response agent.
This alert system benefits from two-way communication and the fastest response times as well as some handy features like fall detection and being waterproof, so suitable for use in the bathroom.
As we get older, it’s natural that our driving skills might not be as sharp as they once were. Rather than prematurely having to stop driving, your loved one might make use of a driving tracker which is versatile enough to monitor them both in and out of the car.
If you are concerned that your relative is struggling to drive, this will allow you to get a clearer picture of their abilities and provide you with peace of mind.
What’s great about this driving tracker is that there is no monthly fee. You only need to pay an activation fee, and there’s a 30-day cooling-off period. You’ll get international coverage thanks to a reliable cellular connection, and the device comes with a first-year service.
You get regular updates to the server every three minutes, although it is possible to upgrade for even more frequent updates. Moreover, the device doesn’t rely on a battery, so there’s no concern about it powering down when you need it most.
Taking medication can be difficult to remember, especially if the senior has a lot to take. Medication reminders are a great way to ensure that the correct medication and dosage are taken at the right time. Not only does this ensure no doses are missed, but it can also help to prevent overdosing.
Many older adults take a lot of medication, and it is not uncommon for them to be non-compliant, usually through no fault of their own. While it can be difficult to keep track of medications, automatic pill dispensers can make life easier.
Automatic Medication Dispenser
Hero is a very reliable and advanced medication dispenser that is ideal for people who may not always remember to take their medication. If a dose is missed, the app will notify the caregiver, who can ensure medication is taken. On the other end, the device provides audible and visual notifications to the user to ensure that they never forget a dose.
This is a great way to monitor medication adherence, and the smartphone app tells caregivers everything they need to know. The device is simple to use and can hold up to 90 days of medication, so you don’t need to worry about refilling all that often. When you do, you might take advantage of the delivery and refill service. What’s more, the system notifies you when it’s almost time to refill, so there’s no danger of running out.
You’ll be able to try Hero for 30 days completely risk-free. After this, the service doesn’t cost the earth at just $29.99 per month, or there is the option to pay annually, in which case, the cost lowers to $24.99 a month.
Health Monitoring Devices
If you are concerned about the health of your loved one then using a monitoring device will help you to stay on top of their conditions. Furthermore, these devices are a great way of getting information to determine if there are any health problems that have gone unnoticed.
Smart Heart Rate Monitor
One of the great things about this heart rate monitor is that there are no monthly fees involved. But this doesn’t mean you have to compromise on performance. The monitor allows you to store all of your EKGs on your smartphone and is compatible with most devices.
This is one of the most reliable monitors and is doctor-approved, picking up problems such as tachycardia, atrial fibrillation, and more, giving you greater peace of mind.
The device is super compact and lightweight so can be used on the go, and taking a reading takes just 30 seconds. It’s as simple as opening the app, placing the device near your phone, and popping your fingers onto the pads. Any problems, you can email the results directly to your doctor.
Blood Glucose Monitor
Not only are you purchasing the device for testing with the Dario Value Pack, but you also receive a 12-month membership which allows you unlimited test strips and delivery, so this life-saving pack is also excellent value for money.
The blood glucose monitor works with your smartphone and is simple to use without the need for batteries. The device connects to your phone in the same way as your headphones.
You’ll place a tiny drop of blood onto the test, and within six seconds, you will have your results. These results will then be saved to your device, and there is the option to share them with others as required.
Smart Blood Pressure Monitor
High blood pressure can be a killer, so it is essential that you stay on top of monitoring it. Something as simple as the Withings BPM Connect will allow you to do this without stress or hassle, and you’ll have excellent peace of mind.
Using a Wi-Fi connection, the BPM will connect to your smartphone, on which you’ll have downloaded the compatible app. The device is FDA approved, so you know the results will be accurate, and you’ll be able to take systolic and diastolic readings as well as your heart rate, so it’s a great all-in-one device.
While this product does run on a battery, once fully charged, it will run for around six months, so there’s no need to keep remembering to give it a boost. What’s more, you can store as much data as you wish, and it’s easy to email the results to your caregiver or healthcare provider.
With an easy-to-read interface and a detailed smartphone app, the Wellue Oximeter easily allows you to track your blood oxygen, as well as other information such as your pulse rate. It takes just eight seconds to obtain a reading, and being so compact, this is a device that you can use on the go.
The oximeter comes with everything you need to get started, including batteries and a lanyard. Furthermore, the app allows you to store your previous 12 readings for comparison, and when your reading is abnormal, you will receive a visual and audible notification.
Home Safety & Security
One of the biggest problems with remaining independent is that seniors may be at risk of accidents within the home. There are risks associated with fire, flooding, and security, among other things, so caregivers and loved ones need a way to remotely monitor their loved ones to ensure their safety.
While a camera may feel like an invasion of privacy, it is one of the best ways to determine the safety of your loved one. They don’t need to permanently record, as many are motion activated and also have two-way communication so you can speak to your loved one through the device.
If you are concerned about the safety of your loved one, you can use these cameras to determine where they are in the house. Perhaps they haven’t left the bedroom and it’s already lunchtime, or maybe they’ve been in the bathroom longer than usual. Being able to check-in via a camera will show you exactly what is going on, and then you can call for help if needed.
Many of these cameras can be used with a compatible smartphone app that allows you to remotely monitor your loved one wherever you are. It’s a great tool to alert you to potential intruders as many cameras come with motion sensors that are extremely accurate and efficient. Moreover, you’ll receive automatic alerts whenever anything is set off.
If your loved one is very vulnerable, you might opt for a monitored camera system that will allow them to get in touch with a call center for immediate assistance. On the other hand, you may choose to monitor the system yourself; either way, the camera can be installed by a professional or as part of a DIY project.
We like the Blink XT home security camera system as it offers a range of features, including Alexa compatibility so that it can be voice-controlled. It is also fitted with a night vision camera and benefits from two-year battery life, so you won’t need to worry about running out of power. What’s more, there are no monthly fees or hidden costs.
The camera system can be used both indoors and outdoors and is fully waterproof. It’s easy to use and is motion-activated, sending alerts to your smartphone when movement is detected.
Smart Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm
House fires can be devastating if the residents do not notice the fire, or wake up if it happens during the night. More frightening is the fact that carbon monoxide is often called the silent killer, and it will go largely unnoticed until it’s too late.
The Google Nest smoke alarm is a smart home device that has turned the way smoke detectors work upside down. Instead of a harsh alarm, it speaks in a calm voice alerting you to the fact that smoke or carbon monoxide has been detected. If you’re not at home, the device has a compatible app that also alerts you to any problems; ideal for alerting caregivers.
It’s also good for seniors as it offers a light as you walk underneath it which provides a safe way to move around the home at night.
A smart doorbell provides elderly people with the opportunity to see who is at the door before they open it. This ensures that they will not be met with anyone who might be deemed a threat and can protect them from scammers. Moreover, the senior doesn’t need to move from where they are to answer the door as most doorbells offer two-way communication.
For caregivers, there are compatible apps that allow for notifications when someone enters or leaves the home.
One of the most high-quality smart doorbells is the Ring doorbell which has excellent night vision, and it works on a very reliable motion detection system. It’s easy to install, and the app allows you to communicate with people on your doorstep, no matter where you are. It’s also compatible with Alexa for two-way communication around the home.
The doorbell can be purchased and used without any other costs, although there is an option to subscribe, which gives you several other benefits, including greater storage of recordings.
If you feel that an elderly loved one is vulnerable to the risks of unlocked doors, then a smart lock might be a wise idea. These locks can be programmed to open and close at certain times of days, for example, when a caregiver is expected to arrive. However, they can also be opened using a code, so there is no need to remember a key.
You’ll find that most smart locks are compatible with the most common home devices like Alexa, Google Home, and your smartphone, so there are various ways to operate them. The features of these locks are ideal for seniors who may be easily confused.
The Schlage Encode smart lock is ideal as it is so convenient to use. It connects to your Wi-Fi and can be remotely operated using Amazon Key, so there’s no need for extra equipment. What’s more, it can be used alongside Alexa, Google Home, and even the Ring doorbell for the ultimate smart home security system.
The app allows you to manage as many as 100 passcodes, so there’s no need to worry about unauthorized access, and an alarm system alerts you to security breaches. If you find that the keypad is too difficult to use, there is the option of voice control which is excellent for seniors whose dexterity is lacking.
Smart Stove Monitor
It’s not uncommon for a senior to forget to turn off the stove, and this can result in devastating consequences. However, something as simple as a smart stove monitor could prevent a fire from breaking out and save their lives!
This smart plug converts a regular oven into a smart device and provides an alert if the stove has been left on. Regardless of the make or model of your stove, provided it is electric, it can be connected to the smartphone app with this plug, allowing you to monitor and control it remotely.
The device is super simple to install and simply fits between the wall plug and the plug for your stove. There are two different kinds; three-wire and four-wire, so do be sure to check which is compatible with your stove before purchasing. The device has been safety certified and is a great way for caregivers, family, and friends to monitor their loved ones’ stove without having to be in the house.
An elderly person may forget to turn off the faucet, and in some cases, this could result in flooding. This situation could result in damage to property, but in the worst cases, could be a threat to life. For example, if the senior has a fall in a flooded bathroom, there is a potential for drowning; it takes only enough water to cover the nose and mouth for this to happen, so we must never be complacent.
A flood detector is a potentially lifesaving device that detects a flood and can be installed in the most high-risk rooms, such as the bathroom or kitchen. If the senior suffers a fall and cannot shut off the water, caregivers can be alerted, allowing them to provide help.
The Govee Wi-Fi water sensor is an affordable solution and comes with three sensors, which can be placed in different areas around the home. It connects to an app, which will send an alert when there is a leak or flood, and operates using your home Wi-Fi. In the event that there are connection problems, the device is fitted with a loud backup alarm.
This reliable device can connect to up to ten sensors and is waterproof, so there’s no fear of it becoming damaged in rooms where there is a lot of moisture.
Door & Window Sensor
With the ability to send notifications to caregivers and loved ones, a door and window sensor alerts you when either of these opens. This has several benefits for vulnerable adults, including alerting caregivers to a potential intruder. These sensors are also an excellent choice for seniors with cognitive issues who tend to wander off. Coupled with a GPS tracker, this will ensure that you can locate your loved one as quickly as possible.
The device works by using motion sensors on the doors and windows and there are many different products out there. However, we feel that the YoLink door and window sensors are among the easiest to use and most effective.
This pack comes with four sensors as well as a main hub. You’ll be able to connect the sensors to Alexa or IFTTT allowing greater control. Loved ones can be contacted through either text message, email or banner alerts on their smartphone in real-time so you can deal with the problem as quickly as possible.
There’s no need to worry about the devices underperforming as they have excellent range and will easily pick up movements. Moreover, the long-lasting battery will power the sensors for up to five years thanks to low power consumption.
A lot of seniors avoid using the heating in their homes for several reasons. Sadly, some are frightened of that cost, whereas others may find it difficult to get up onto their feet to operate the thermostat. However, with a smart thermostat, this problem is eliminated, and the user can control everything using their smartphone or home assistant.
What’s more, since you have greater control over when the heating is turned on and off, this goes a long way in reducing your energy bills which is excellent news for seniors. You will be able to monitor your energy consumption, and with caregivers having access to the app, they will be able to help in avoiding a lack of heating which could result in hypothermia.
The Google Nest Learning Thermostat is a super-smart product that learns from you, eventually allowing it to control your heating in a way that suits your lifestyle. It can automatically schedule when the heating comes on and goes off, so the senior doesn’t need to worry about remembering to do this themselves. What’s more, the system knows when you are in or have left the home and will adjust the temperature accordingly.
Everything is controlled with the easy-to-use app so you can pull up details of your energy usage as well as being able to control the heating remotely. It’s also designed to help reduce energy consumption and features a handy Leaf symbol to let you know when your settings are achieving this.
Leaving your lights on can massively impact your energy bill, but many older adults forget to switch them off. On the other hand, seniors may not turn the lighting on when moving through the home at night, which could result in a fall.
Smart lights can be programmed to turn on and off at preset times and may also operate based on whether there is anybody in the room, turning off when you leave and back on when you return. This is great for energy saving and also excellent in the prevention of falls. Moreover, it means that the lights can be controlled without the senior having to get up.
Philips Hue is one of the most reputable smart light products out there, and this four-pack of bulbs is so easy to use. While costlier than regular light bulbs, they offer up to 25,000 hours which works out at around 22 years! There’s no need to worry about constantly replacing them once installed.
The bulbs work with the Hue app which allows you to create your schedules and operate the lighting remotely. This is ideal if the senior is staying away for the night and wants the lights to look natural as a way of deterring intruders. They’ll also connect to your home assistant, such as Google Home or Alexa, so the lights can be voice-controlled for even greater convenience.