From little gadgets to the bigger purchases, modern technologies can make life easier and safer for our elderly relatives. They can provide peace of mind for you, and independence for them. Some modern technologies are obvious purchases for older people. Others, you might not even have considered:
Electric mobility scooters
Let’s start with the obvious choice. The electric mobility scooter is a popular purchase for older people, but did you know that many people leave the decision to buy quite late?
Mobility scooters aren’t just for people that can’t walk at all. They can give independence back to those that are struggling to walk, even if they can manage short distances. Instead of buying a mobility scooter when you can no longer walk, you should buy one when your distance is being limited by how much activity you can manage. For an elderly relative, this might be when they can no longer manage a walk around the park with their grandchild, or when they can’t go on a day out or manage a walk to the supermarket.
Tablet computers can be used to increase social interaction (through online chat and video calling), to keep the mind alert (through games and puzzles) and to give older people access to support and information. Desktop computers require a steep learning curve, but tablets are intuitive and easy to get to grips with. Their user-friendly ‘poke and drag’ interface means that using a tablet feels natural.
Studies have shown that toddlers instinctively know how to use a tablet, and the same applies to the older generation. Tablets can also be used with limited motor skills, unlike desktop and laptop computers that require more complex keyboard and mouse control.
GPS locator apps
Family locator apps provide an extra level of safety for older people, and peace of mind for their loved ones, these are commonly used in a senior living community. Carers and family members can log in to check the location of an elderly person, which is particularly handy if they’re prone to wandering or might forget their way home.
All that’s required is for the elderly relatively to keep the transmitting device with them, whether it’s a phone or dedicated GPS device.
Why not purchase an in-car charger, for on the go charging of a mobility scooter or electric wheelchair? This is a relatively small purchase that could make things much easier on holidays and day trips, when access to plug sockets and charging points could be relatively limited.
There are so many health monitors on the market. Deciding which ones are worthwhile purchases will require you to think about your elderly relative’s unique health needs. Options can include:
– Blood pressure monitors
– Cholesterol monitors
– Medical thermometers
– Heart rate monitors
– Weighing scales (including large scales for wheelchair users)
A fairly new creation, the ‘smart bottle’ monitors water intake to help to determine hydration levels. If you’re worried that an elderly relative might not be drinking enough, providing them with a smart bottle could help you to know for sure.
Whatever technology you’re choosing, make sure that you discuss it with your elderly relative. By empowering them to be involved in their own care, you’ll ensure that you’re meeting everyone’s needs successfully.
Mobility Smart is an online retailer stocking mobility aids, daily living aids and other products relating to the care and support of the elderly and less mobile.