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Five Tech Must-Haves for Older Adults

elderly people at table in a row smiling and pointing at laptop with cell phones on table

Whether you’re looking for a birthday or holiday gift for your loved one, or you need something they can use every day right now, we’ve got you covered. Here are five affordable tech-based items that can make life a little easier, and even a little more fun.

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. $14.99 monthly plan and activation.

Easy Tech

  • Universal Remote – If your loved one gets frustrated with TV remotes that have too many confusing buttons, try a universal remote. They typically have only the basics – on, off, volume and channel controls. The Doro HandleEasy Universal Remote Control is compatible with all major brands of televisions, DVD players and stereos. You can find it on Amazon for $35.70.

Just for Fun

  • Digital Instant Camera – Sometimes grandparents just want a printed photo to put on the fridge or in a frame. An instant-print camera lets them print quality pictures straight off the camera. The Polaroid Snap Touch Instant Print Digital Camera comes in a variety of colors, and uses adhesive, inkless paper that’s loaded into the camera itself. Available on Amazon for about $170. You can also buy a case, wrist and neck straps, and photo paper packs.
  • Recordable Photo Album – Sometimes the best part of a photo is the story behind it. To help preserve those stories, try a photo album that lets you add speech, sounds or music to each page, such as the Creat-a-Memory Record and Play Family Memory Photo Album. Some users have found that these kinds of gifts are also helpful for engaging loved ones with memory loss. It comes in a variety of colors and has 20 pages, with up to 30 seconds of recording time on each page. Available at Amazon for $24.99 + shipping.

Bonus: Technology in Senior Living Communities

Senior living communities are taking advantage of technology to make life safer and better for residents. The American Senior Housing Association (ASHA) did a survey in 2016, and 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 usage 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.

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