New services, technologies can help with aging in place

Feb. 28, 2018

There is nothing quite as devastating for many older people as having to leave the comfort of home because of poor health or limited mobility. But a new generation of services and technology is making it possible to stay at home longer, safely and happily, experts say.

“Most people would rather stay in their own homes as they age, and technology has made that easier in so many ways,” says Amy Goyer, a family and caregiving expert with the AARP and author of “Juggling Life, Work, and Caregiving,” published by the AARP and the American Bar Association.

“There are a lot of resources to tap into, even for those on a limited budget.”

She recommends starting with the “caregiving” page of AARP.org and your local Area Agency on Aging network (see www.n4a.org ), which is federally funded and also can lead you to a range of state and local resources.

Digital locks, which can be part of a smart home system, can be set so the door is unlocked for a small window of time to allow a caregiver into the house. Different codes can be set up for different people. They can be monitored from afar on phones, as can digital doorbells, which might help both the hearing and mobility impaired.

Digital medication dispensers can send text notifications to loved ones to let them know whether someone has taken their pills. Cameras can be installed so loved ones know whether home health aides have come by. And there is a wide range of medical alert systems, some even including a GPS.

Many counties and community agencies have some kind of senior taxi run by volunteers to take seniors to doctors’ appointments, grocery stores, senior centers and other errands. Ride-sharing companies have also proven helpful for many. The site www.GoGoGrandparent.com , for example, is designed to be easy to use for seniors—they don’t need to use a phone—and taps into local ride-sharing services. It can be paid for by relatives living out of town, who also receive notifications of pickups and drop-offs.

Medical Xpress has the full article

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