Technology for seniors is becoming more mainstream every day. In fact, an AARP survey estimates that by 2030, 132 million Americans will spend around $84 billion per year on technology products. Even if your aging parents aren’t quite that tech-savvy yet, there are plenty of helpful tools they can start using now to improve their quality of life. Here are some of the best technology devices and apps for seniors in 2020:
Help for Mom or Dad
- Reminder Rosie – You can find medication reminder apps that will send notices via your parent’s smartphone. But not everyone has a smartphone or is comfortable with the technology. For them, and for seniors with memory loss challenges, a voice-controlled reminder system can be helpful. Reminder Rosie looks like a digital clock, but family members can record and program custom reminders like, “Mom, it’s time to take two of your yellow pills and one blue pill. Love you!” Once the medication is taken, Mom can either say, “Reminder off,” or touch it to turn it off. $119.95 + shipping. Find it at Reminder-Rosie.com.
- Lively Wearable – This urgent response device also has a fitness tracker, family links and fall detection. Lively can be worn on the wrist, like a watch, or around the neck, like more traditional emergency response devices. Pushing the urgent response button connects the person to a service that can send help, get roadside assistance or contact family. It also acts as a pedometer, tracking daily steps. If worn around the neck, it can detect a fall and contact an urgent response agent. The Link app lets family members check activity, find your loved one’s location, receive emergency alerts, check the device’s battery power, and more. Available at GreatCall.com – $49.99 for the device. Plans start at $24.99 per month.
Lost and Found
- Tile Mate + Tile Slim – If your loved one regularly misplaces items, this bit of simple tech is a must. Attach the Tile to an object, then they can use their smartphone to make the Tile ring when it’s nearby. They can use the app to track where they’ve been and where they left something behind. If they have Alexa, you can purchase voice control to help make finding things that much easier. $75 at Amazon.
- Roku Streaming Stick+ – Streaming their favorite shows is easy with this media player. It comes with all the major video-streaming services, and all you have to do is plug it into the TV’s HDMI port and make sure it’s connected to the internet. This bundle comes with a long-range wireless and voice-controlled remote that lets them search for programs by speaking. It costs around $50, and you can find it on Amazon or at most major retail stores.
- Zvox AccuVoice AV203 – If hearing problems make watching TV difficult, this soundbar could be very helpful. It’s based on hearing aid technology and has six levels of sound boosting. It helps dialog come across more clearly, and it levels out sound for loud commercials. It’s small, easy to use, and comes with a remote that has large buttons. You can buy it from the manufacturer, Amazon or Best Buy for around $200.
Bonus: Technology in Senior Living Communities
Senior living communities are taking advantage of technology to make life safer and better for residents. A 2016 survey conducted by the American Senior Housing Association (ASHA) found that communities are upgrading their technology in everything from better Wi-Fi, resident communication tools and integrated fitness systems, to resident monitoring, emergency response and even fall detection.
One high-tech creation you can find in some communities is a therapeutic robot. (Yes, you read that right.) PARO was created to look like a baby harp seal by a National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology and Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab research fellow. In a study that documented its use with memory care residents, it was found that PARO produces calming effects, helps increase social behavior, improves moods and appetites, and helps reduce the need for medications. Just one more way that technology can improve the lives of the seniors we love.