For children there are few more worrying times than a parent becoming elderly and perhaps living alone following a divorce or the death of their spouse. They could potentially be at risk – if they have a fall, for example, they might not be able to get to a phone to call for help, meaning that they could be stranded for days rather than a couple of hours or so.
That’s not to say that all elderly people are frail and incapable of living alone, though. The vast majority want to retain their independence rather than moving into a residential care home, which can be expensive anyway. However, children will naturally be worried about them even if they see them on a regular basis. In these cases, advancements in technology – specifically, wearable technology – can be extremely helpful in terms of allowing children to keep an eye on their parents without the parents feeling as though their lives are being intruded on, or that they’re losing their independence.
A dignified way to remain safe
While there are tech systems that can be installed around the house in the form of sensors that track an occupant’s movements, these tend to be expensive and slightly invasive as far as the occupant is concerned, especially in the bathroom. With the release of the Apple Watch, however, the focus of technological advancement has been thrown onto the field of wearable technology.
Wearable tech is seen as a potential lifesaver (literally) when it comes to helping adult children take care of their parents in a way that allows them to retain their independence. There are a variety of pieces already on the market that are considered assets in terms of helping elderly people raise the alarm if they have a fall or simply in terms of monitoring their health.
The UP trackers by Jawbone, for example, are simple wristbands that are no more intrusive than watches, but which can track the wearer’s sleep, steps and heart health, among other things. Microsoft, Apple and Google have also unveiled their own similar versions with the aim of using the data collected by the tech to highlight good and bad health trends in the wearer. While some pieces aren’t available in the UK, this is a market that is only going to grow and expand across the globe.
Similarly, there are personal alarms available that can be worn and activated by the wearer to send a message to someone else’s phone or email address. This will alert them and they can then get in touch with the authorities or deal with the situation themselves. Alternatively, the alarm will go through to staff at a control centre who will take appropriate action and can speak to the wearer via a loudspeaker in the alarm itself.
In the future, wearable tech might mean that health professionals are able to diagnose people remotely by plugging into our data, which can only be a good thing as far as elderly people living alone are concerned. The NHS is fully on board, seeing wearable health tech as a means of reducing the pressure placed upon it by cutting down unnecessary admissions.
Wearable health technology is relatively rudimentary at the moment, but with more advanced options currently being readied for market, it could well be the revolution that home care for the elderly needs.
This article was researched and written by Sebastian, a digital marketing executive at RocketMill