Much of the technology available today was little more than science fiction just a few decades ago. And for many of today’s seniors, smart devices, home computers, and the internet can seem foreign and, at times, intimidating. Fortunately, this is just an illusion, and there are many advanced technologies that can help seniors stay up to speed in the 21st century. The best part is that most of it can fit well within a limited budget or fixed income.
Tech Buying Tips
Before you start outfitting you or your elderly loved one’s home with technology, consider how you can save on your purchases. While many things are not out of reach financially, you can almost always find sites to provide you with coupons and promo codes (or even cash back on purchases) to give you a little more wiggle room in your budget.
Something else to consider is purchasing refurbished electronics from stores like Walmart. While many pieces will not be the absolute latest and greatest, most are fully capable of running apps and helping your senior loved one — or yourself — stay connected. And if you don’t mind a few scuffs and scrapes, you can easily save up to 50 percent.
Easy and Affordable
One of the most impactful, affordable, and easy-to-use devices for seniors is a video home assistant; the Echo Show by Amazon is a great example. For less than $100 and a few simple setup steps, the Show, which is voice-activated, can quickly and easily access news, television shows, podcasts, and audiobooks. And, if set up correctly, it allows for hands-free video calling via the Drop-In feature with friends and family.
Another smart home feature to consider is the light bulb. No longer simply a fluorescent or incandescent bulb, smart light bulbs can integrate with the Echo and many other similar devices. Starting at around $9, these unassuming additions can ensure the perfect light all the time, which may help reduce senior falling accidents. The National Council on Aging recommends increased lighting throughout the home, particularly around stairs.
For seniors who live alone, a medical call device can be a lifesaver. While not new — these devices have been around for a decade or more — it is tech that can truly make a difference during an emergency. There are many companies that provide this service, although some are more affordable than others. Alert-1, for example, starts at around $20 per month, while similar products and services may charge up to three times that.
Another potentially life-saving device is a smart, or automated, medication dispenser. These are simple appliances that are set to a timer. Some can hold up to a three-month supply of medications and dispense six times per day or more. These significantly reduce the chances of you or your senior loved one accidentally over- or under-taking vital medications.
Finally, you can also consider smart technology that makes home maintenance easier. Many seniors find it difficult to do things like vacuum since it may involve lifting, bending, and painful, repetitive motions. Robot vacuum cleaners can be programmed only to run during certain hours on certain days. They are simple and affordable additions (as little as $90) addition to a home’s cleaning arsenal that can enhance a person’s independence.
Technology isn’t going away anytime soon, and the more innovations that emerge, the cheaper our smart devices will get. And there are many that seniors can use starting today without a steep price or learning curve. Don’t be afraid to implement new technology into your life or that of your loved one; it may just be the smartest decision that your family will ever make.
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