Technology is changing every aspect of our lives — from our phones to our homes. Today, more leading innovators are focusing on cutting-edge technologies to help seniors lead longer, healthier and happier lives. Check out some of the devices most recently developed by these innovators:
The McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston created the first mobile stroke unit (MSU) in the United States in 2014. Cleveland and other cities soon followed suit.
The unit saves valuable treatment time, reducing paralysis and risk of death. With a CT scan and a lab on board EMS workers can quickly determine if a stroke is caused by a clot or a hemorrhage. According to StrokeAssociation.org, 87 percent of strokes are clot-related (also called Ischemic). For this reason the unit is equipped with the IV tPA drug shown to break up clots.
Studies show such units reduce ambulance-arrival-to-drug time by 36 minutes. These results are being carefully evaluated by other locales interested in using the technology.
Hospitals, patient rooms and clinics across the country are turning to blue-violet disinfecting lights to help disinfect for MRSA and other bacteria. The lights are safe to use even when people are occupying the room, and they kill bacteria from every surface — hard and soft — without relying on sprays and wipes. These lights use 405nm visible indigo light instead of UV light, making them safer.
Fitness trackers are everywhere — Apple Watch, Pebble, Fitbits, etc. Most will track heart rate, daily steps and act as a stopwatch. Many will also track your sleep and notify you when you get a text message or call. But these products weren’t designed with seniors in mind.
The Lively Wearable combines both a fitness tracker and emergency response system in one sleek and subtle device. It can be worn as a watch or a pendant. The senior fitness tracker monitors heart rate and steps. When worn on a specifically-designed lanyard around the neck it can notify an agent if the wearer falls, even if they can’t push the emergency button themselves. Family and caregivers will be notified via an app on their smartphone as soon as the emergency response is triggered on the senior fitness tracker.
Seniors resistant to wearing visible GPS devices might prefer GPSSmartSole insoles. Like the fitness trackers for seniors, these insoles require a monthly service fee but provide 24/7 GPS monitoring, perfect for seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia who might be inclined to wander off. Similarly, vibrating insoles provide small, undetectable vibrations, that help the brain make balance corrections when a person is at risk of or about to fall. These insoles are great not only for seniors, but anyone with diabetic nerve damage or stroke victims. Not widely available yet, expect to see prototypes become commercially available in the coming years.
For a senior who struggles with memory or dementia, taking medications appropriately and on-time can be a challenge, especially without a regular caregiver monitoring the schedule. Now, tabsafe, an in-home medication dispensing device, reminds you to take your pills and allows pharmacy interface so you can find out how much medication is left, the expiration dates and medication schedule. According to tabsafe, the device increases medication compliance and reduces hospitalizations from noncompliance.
The Google Home allows a user to play music, ask questions and control many home devices. But beyond these obvious uses, this product also allow seniors to voice control lights, thermostats and appliances, particularly beneficial for those with mobility challenges.
Tech isn't "just for the kids" anymore. Seniors can really benefit from these helpful tech items, and their loved ones and caregivers will also gain peace of mind from these valuable tools.