2014-08-18 07:05:47 - We need constantly develop new gadgets to help them,the new tech trends will make a difference
If Betty Lewis falls at the Edgemere senior living community, a pendant she wears around her neck will alert the staff. The device picks up the motion of the fall and notifies staff members at the North Dallas facility so Lewis doesn't have to hit the alert button.
The device also will tell the Edgemere staff the general location of where she has fallen.
"The pendant will pick up the arc of that fall," said John Falldine, Edgemere managing director. "It sends the same signal to us as though the resident had hit the button."
That gives comfort to Lewis, 90. "It serves the purpose that I need," she said.
Edgemere's pendant alert system is one of many technologies that are changing the
lives of seniors and their caregivers for the better.
"It will change the (senior-living) industry in that it will help residents, it will help families and it will help businesses like Edgemere extend residents' independence," Falldine said.
"In the past," he said, "about all you had to do to extend independence was ambulation devices. If a resident is not as sure on their feet, you can get a walker, you can get a wheelchair, you can get motorized carts."
Today it's much more than that.
At a July conference in Dallas of the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, exhibitors included companies that sold telephones for seniors with hearing loss, and "telemedicine" providers that help patients share vital data with their doctor from their home.
"Technology is a new frontier as far as having support to ensure that people can age successfully," said Sandy Markwood, chief executive of the association. "It's not a replacement for friends, family and community support, but it is a great augmentation to that."
The business potential is huge.
"We are a society that is growing older by the minute," according to Semico Research Corp., a Phoenix-based semiconductor marketing and research company. "By 2030, there will be over 72 million people over the age 65 in North America alone. And one thing is certain: None of the elderly wants to end up in a nursing home."
Most of us want to grow old in our homes, surrounded by our families and friends and living a normal life.
"Technology is how we can enable those 72 million people to accomplish this goal," Semico said in a report it issued last year.
Social isolation is a killer for seniors. Things that keep them active or connected with others improve their emotional and physical health.
For seniors with hearing loss, a telephone with a screen that displays what a caller says word for word can be a lifesaver. Similarly, smartphones or tablets can provide face-to-face communication.
"It's important that if somebody has some mobility limitations and can't get out, that they're connecting to their family, that they're connecting to an online bridge club, because it keeps them engaged," Markwood said. "Being able to connect with somebody on Skype is a great alternative if you can't have somebody in your room."