Use of digital and other tech devices is commonplace among younger adults, but less so among seniors. However, this reality is changing, and largely due to the broad embracement of “Smart” devices. According to the Pew Research Center, 61% of adults aged 65 and older now own a Smartphone. While this is in comparison to 95% of adults aged 30-49 (plus 83% aged 50-64) the gap between Smartphone adoption among younger adults and seniors is rapidly shrinking. There are now actually a tremendous variety of “Smart” devices that can make life easier and safer for senior-aged adults. The following describes four of the categories of “Smart” devices that can be especially helpful to seniors in their daily lives. 

Voice-activated digital and tech-driven devices 

The ability to voice-activate digital devices can be a crucial aid for seniors, due to age-related health conditions that can limit finger dexterity or mobility. From turning on the overhead lights in the morning to unlocking the front door, voice-activated “Smart” devices such as Alexa and Google Assistant – paired with a Smart Home gadget – can simplify routine daily tasks. Six other tasks that this type of voice-activated device can do are: 

  • Let the device user know the day’s weather forecast; 
  • Turn on (and off) a coffee-maker, microwave oven, or robotic vacuum cleaner; 
  • Adjust the thermostats in the home to align with the desired temperature; 
  • Play selected music or an audio book; 
  • Add a food item to a digital list of groceries to purchase at a supermarket; 
  • Remind the user of a daily task to be performed such as picking up prescription medications from the drugstore 

Around 47% of all adults aged 65 and older have diagnosed osteoarthritis (OA). Meanwhile, nearly 26% of senior-aged people have hand/finger OA. Therefore, voice-activated “Smart” devices can enable seniors living with OA to perform activities that would otherwise be far more difficult, if not impossible. 

“Smart” medical alert systems 

Medical alert systems that automatically dial 9-1-1, request an ambulance, and/or contact a patient’s doctor can be life-savers for senior-aged people. Three-fourths of all strokes occur in adults aged 65 and older, per a medical research article published in Aging. Without fast treatment, even a mild stroke can result in paralysis. Likewise, heart attacks require immediate medical intervention. For diabetics, a sudden spike in blood sugar level can necessitate obtaining an insulin injection to prevent slipping into a diabetic coma. 

While medical alert systems – that paired a device similar to a landline telephone with a wristband (or neck pendant) containing an activation “button” – have existed since the 1980s, “Smart” alert systems now exist on most cell phones and many other types of digital devices. 

Medication reminder and dispensing systems 

It can be hard to remember to take a prescribed pill at any age, and this is particularly so for senior-aged adults. One reason that remembering to take prescribed medications can be more difficult for seniors is that adults aged 65 and older tend to take more daily pills than younger adults. More than half of all senior-aged adults take at least five daily prescription drugs. Telling those pills apart can be hard, and especially in elderly people with worsening eyesight or early Alzheimer’s disease. In turn, this can lead to a mix-up of taking too many pills each day of one prescribed medication and not enough of another. 

While a medication reminder can be provided utilizing various “Smart” devices (such as a Smartphone), there are far fewer that can dispense the medications. The Ōmcare Home Health Hub® is one of those “Smart” devices that can dispense medications, as well as provide a reminder to take them. 

“Smart” fitness trackers 

Engaging in regular daily exercise is important for overall health, and this can be vital in senior-aged people to prevent heart disease. Notably, daily exercise has been found to ward off cognitive decline (such as short-term memory loss) in older-aged people. Mechanical devices such as pedometers have long been recommended to track steps per day. 

However – ever since the first Fitbit was marketed to the public in 2009 – there has been an explosion in the availability of “Smart” fitness trackers. Not only have these been used by people (including senior-aged adults) while engaging in fitness activities, but they also have enabled their users to monitor heart rate, respiration rate, and blood pressure.  

Overall, utilizing a “Smart” device can assist seniors in maintaining their personal independence, as well as boosting the likelihood of preserving health. Thus, this type of device can aid in reducing the likelihood of developing a preventable disability. By choosing the Omcare Home Health Hub, you can access its diverse capabilities that would otherwise require owning many different “Smart” devices.