As people age, they need more care. This is a natural part of life, and it comes with its own challenges, one of which unfortunately becomes safety. Falls, medications, there’s a host of worries for the children of an aging parent. Despite the increase in health concerns, a lot of aging individuals desire to remain independent and live in their own homes. From that wish, an industry has sprung up surrounding health and safety devices, to ensure you can have peace of mind while they enjoy theirs.
This article is going to overview some of these handy devices, to highlight those that can help your parents stay in their home and give you peace of mind.
Concern: What if they can’t reach me when they need help?
Safety device? A mobile phone with large buttons.
While a lot of people’s minds naturally reach for mobile phones in an emergency, it’s important to be considerate even in this decision. Mobile phones have gotten smaller and smaller, and with each size decrease seems to come an increase in complexity (at least from the perspective of a senior). That’s why we don’t recommend buying just any mobile, we recommend buying a mobile phone with particularly large buttons.
Concern: My parents just can’t keep the house up any more
Safety device? Robots.
That’s right, you heard me, robots. While this may sound like a fantasy, recent technology has reached this level of assistance. Consider the following robots: the iRobot Roomba, the Looj, and the Scooba, to be your dream cleaning team.
The iRobot Roomba is a small, easy to use vacuuming robot that is capable of handling several of the day to day jobs that can crop up with floor maintenance. The Scooba picks up where the Roomba leaves off, washing floors at the touch of a button, and the Looj actually cleans their gutters for them.
These robots cost between $120 and $500, but still tend to wind up saving you money because of saving you the cost of hiring some one to come in. They also allow seniors to really feel independent about keeping their own home clean, something that can give all of you peace of mind.
Concern: My parents often burn themselves with a shower or bath
Safety device? Temperature activated flow reducer.
These handy little devices are affordable, lightweight, and take care of any chance of burning yourself by turning off automatically when the water gets too hot. They simply screw on to the existing faucet, and voila. For under $40 you’ve reassured yourself that your parents’ skin will go unscathed by overly hot water.
Concern: My parents have a hard time managing their own medications
Safety device? Pill reminders.
With age seems to come medication, it’s a simple reality of life. But, unfortunately also true, is the fact that with an increased amount of medications there often comes an increased risk to forget a medication, or to take it in the wrong dosage. Seniors often end up hurting themselves with these mistakes, and they can all too regularly result in a nursing home placement.
Thankfully, the story hasn’t stopped there. Technology has advanced to develop pill reminding devices, ranging in sophistication from your basic day of the week box to one that automatically electronically reminds your parent when to take their pills (and how much to take).
These devices vary in cost, but may well be worth looking into if you’re concerned about medication management.
Concern: I’m worried about my parents and cooking
Safety device? Safe-T element Cooking System
This device is amazing, it actually limits how hot a burner can get and shuts it off at certain programmed points. No more worrying about your parents burning themselves, or overheating the stove and causing a fire. It’s hard to imagine being able to buy peace of mind from that, but thanks to technology we can do it.
Prices range widely on these types of devices, so don’t forget to do your research to get the best possible deal!
Concern: What if they fall and no one’s home?
Safety device? Personal Emergency Response System (PERS)
As the name suggests, a PERS is designed for just such a situation. These devices come in the form of jewellery, often a necklace or a bracelet, and have a single button on them. If the button is pushed, a signal will instantly be sent to a ready and waiting call centre that is prepared to contact you and emergency services. The best part about this is that the device is literally on their person at all times, so you can rest easy knowing that your parents can get help at any time of the day, whatever the circumstance.
Be aware that on top of purchasing the PERS, there is a monthly fee involved for keeping it activated. These fees vary depending on the degree of monitoring that is needed, but typically range from between $15 and $50 each month.
Concern: They don’t notice the door or even the phone when some one is trying to reach them
Safety device? Flashing light signal devices for the door and the phone.
This is particularly helpful when people start to lose their hearing. These devices will safely alert your parent to the door (or the phone), and can be hooked up to use existing lamps if so desired.
These devices tend to cost $70 for one (doorbell or phone), and $110 if you want both.
Concern: I keep wanting to check on them, but I can’t always be there
Safety device? Monitoring devices.
There are several types of monitoring devices that vary in both cost and sophistication level. The most sophisticated are able to not only monitor, but also to deliver a report to you or emergency services in the event of a perceived emergency, even detecting temperature and running appliances.
An example of a contact situation would be the following: If your parent goes in to the bedroom for a nap, but hasn’t been seen in several hours, the system may well contact you to check in on them. Or maybe the stove has been running for an hour now, and they want to notify you or your parent.
The primary downfall of these systems is that your parents may or may not feel comfortable being watched all of the time. This is something you need to talk about, and be open with them about, to really get them cooperating.
Whatever their preferences, do your best to respect their wishes as much as possible (while balancing it with their safety of course).
What I hope we’ve learned today is that technological advances have really given us an opportunity here, an opportunity to indulge the desire to be independent that remains in so many of us – even as we age.