Working in Home Care, delivering services in Winchester and surrounding areas in Hampshire, we can see that the need for more gadgets is needed, particularly in the UK where there is an increase in the number of elderly people without there being on-going funding available. Relatives of the elderly can be time constrained but still need to be reassured that their loved ones are safe, turning to technology may be one way of keeping relatives informed about what is going on or being assured that the elderly are living comfortably.
There are now products from amplified telephones and listening systems for televisions to devices for fall detection and remote monitoring. The technology industry is said to be responding to a growing demand for products specifically designed for today’s aging population.
Innovative gadgets and modern technology are helping people to deal with daily living. There are, also, some low tech devices around to help make daily tasks easier, including soft-handled or large-grip cooking and eating utensils, swivel cushions that make getting in and out of a car easier, and various assistive devices that eliminate the need to bend over when putting on socks, stockings or any other garment that you need to pull up over your feet.
We are hearing from America that high-tech assistive technology for aging adults is “nearing science fiction territory”. Examples being reported include shoes that help you keep your balance, a scanner that “reads” text aloud, and a voice-activated wheelchair knows its way around your home.
Other products are wearable devices that can automatically detect falls and send alerts to loved ones over the internet, there are devices that monitor heart-rate and body-temperature changes with the information being sent real time to centres where clinicians are based to monitor the data. To detect falls there are motion and floor-vibration sensors, devices that detect abnormal walking and pressure pads to put in beds to detect whether someone has got out of bed.
In reality, as we know with technology, it is expensive to be an early adopter so we expect that the more “science fiction” the products are the harder they are to find and the more expensive they are.
The more down to earth products that can be found today, bearing in mind that we are not recommending or endorsing any of these products because there are others on the market, are:
Amplicom ring flash 100 phone call amplifier, can be switched to 'T' mode for hearing aid wearers around £20. Glow flow temperature controlled basin light, fits most taps with an adapter, illuminates the water with blue for cool and red for hot (over 32 degrees C) around £15 Light switch illuminator for standard single gang light switches to enable to be found easier in the dark around £7. Doro big button cordless phone around £40. Powertel 49 plus home desk phone with large buttons around £40. Powertel V 100 vibration pillow to put under a pillow or cushion to alert you to calls around £20. Lutall big button mobile phone with SOS button, works on all networks except 3, around £35. Sen Cit fall monitor that detects when a person has stopped moving and sends a message to someone remote to take action £198. Geemarc wireless TV listening device, basically a wireless headset and a base station that plugs into the TV around £150.
Just some of the products available.