Into the Future: Gadgets and Tech for Independent Elderly
As we grow older, certain tasks become more difficult to accomplish without help. However, even we’re grateful for assistance, sometimes we still prefer to do things by ourselves as much as we can. Thankfully, creative minds are continuously coming up with gadgets and equipment that can help the elderly maintain a sense of independence and dignity.
Here are a few innovations that aim to make things easier for the elderly:
- Reaching aids – These are basically lightweight aluminum poles or rods with a trigger on one end that control a “grabber” on the opposite side so that users won’t have to bend down or use a ladder to reach items on the floor or on high shelves.
- Walking or mobility aids – There are a few types of equipment that can help the elderly get around more easily, depending on their capabilities and comfort.
- Walking rollers or rollators – While the typical walking frames are still available, wheeled walkers with seats are also becoming popular mainly because they have handle bars, baskets or bags, and built-in chairs so that users can take a break when they need to. This model is also equipped with hand brakes so that the rollators can be stopped easily if needed.
- Knee walkers – Resembling a child’s tricycle, these are controlled like a rollator but with one knee resting on a cushion. These are typically used by people of all ages with knee or foot injuries as an alternative to crutches.
- Motorized wheelchairs and scooters – For older adults who cannot stand or walk much, electric-powered wheelchairs and scooters are invaluable. Users won’t need anyone else to push their chairs or scooters to where they want to go, and they won’t have to control them manually which can be very tiring. Models may differ according to type and number of wheels, controllers (joystick or sip-and-puff), seating, and other aspects.
- Robot vacuum cleaners – Setting a robot vacuum loose around the house gives the elderly less to worry about when it comes to cleaning the floors, especially if working with a full-sized vacuum is difficult. While they’re not necessarily going to win any competitions against the typical vacuums, robot vacuums can get the basic job done in keeping the floors spic and span.
- A big display mobile phone – It might be more difficult to latch on to new technology as we grow older but it can be quite useful for both communications, scheduling, and even entertainment purposes. As much as possible, get a phone that has a big screen and good audio (if possible, settings where the phone lights up when there are notifications) that way the elderly user can maximize the phone. There are models that are also sturdier and waterproof, but one can also purchase better cases for grip and protection. There are many brands to choose from like Apple, Samsung, and the like, depending on the elderly’s requirement, but there are some companies that have notably created phones specifically for the elderly like Doro and Kisa.
- Wireless locator – Admittedly, these will come in handy only if the elderly has a smartphone or a PC but once the locators are set up, it will be a godsend for individuals who tend to lose items like wallets, keys, phones and purses often. How do these work? While it might vary according to brand, the main idea is that the owner presses a locator button to activate an alarm attached to the missing item and it will keep beeping until the item is found and alarm is turned off.
With products like the ones mentioned above, the elderly won’t have to rely on assistance with certain tasks like moving around, reaching items, or cleaning the house, among others, thereby boosting their confidence. And fortunately, there are still many more innovations that can make the day-to-day easier for elderly adults which we might explore in the future!
Did you enjoy this article or do you know any other products that can help the elderly live more independently? Let us know in the comments!