Each day in the United States, 10,000 people turn age 65; by the year 2050, 88 million Americans will be over age 65, representing 20% of the total population in the United States.*
Living longer has it perks – many older adults have far more leisure time to spend with friends and family, travel to new destinations and participate in favorite activities. Growing older comes with its challenges, too, the obvious ones centered around physical and mental capabilities.
Fortunately, many companies are tapping into the burgeoning older adult population and developing technology designed to make life easier for them. Many of these technological advances weren’t imagined 5 or 10 years ago, so it will be interesting to see what will come down the pike in the coming years.
Here are a few favorite tech tools for today’s seniors:
We all misplace our keys, can’t find our sunglasses or have a hard time tracking down our phones from time to time. Fortunately several tech companies have addressed this issue and come up with clever solutions. Tile offers affordable Bluetooth trackers that can be attached to keychains or inserted into wallets for an easy find. Apple AirTag just recently introduced its tracker designed specifically for iPhones. Then there’s the Chipolo, which also has a nifty buzzing feature to alert you when you’ve left your keys behind.
Voice Controlled Appliances
Devices such as Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home and Nest can do so much more these days than report on the weather or play music. More and more manufacturers are integrating voice-driven technology into their appliances and plug-ins, enabling people to perform simple tasks such as turning lights on and off and shutting the blinds, to executing more complex tasks such as starting the washing machine, preheating an oven or making a cup of coffee.
GPS Tracking Devices
The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that almost 13 million Americans will have Alzheimer’s or some form of dementia by the year 2050. Caregivers of these individuals can feel more at ease if they can integrate GPS trackers into the elderly loved one’s life. They come in the form of tracking bracelets and watches such as the Freedom Guardian alert watch, devices that can be inserted into clothing and pockets by AngelSense, or key chain based devices such as the PocketFinder. One of the cleverest ones, the SmartSole shoe insert, can be inserted discreetly into a shoe and is water-resistant.
Wearables for Pain Relief
Aging is usually accompanied by some aches and pains, but tech companies are figuring out how to address that too. One such company is Kailo, which makes a wearable patch that uses nanotechnology to ‘fool’ the brain into thinking that the pain isn’t there. Another device is the Sports-Z DC stimulator which uses electrotherapy to promote circulation, healing and muscle recovery.
While having a robotic dog or cat might sound far-fetched, studies have shown that having a low-maintenance companion can do a lot to ease loneliness and serve as mood-boosters. There’s Buddy the Robot, who can help seniors with reminders for appointments and deliveries as well as detect falls, and Joy For All companion pets that come in the form of fuzzy, lifelike kittens and puppies. It should be noted that the robots are not substitution for the real human interaction.
Where to Get Affordable Technology Help
It should be noted that setting up new technology isn’t always straightforward. In the San Francisco Bay Area, the Community Tech Network’s Home Connect program offers assistance to older adults in need of technical assistance.
*Source: The Washington Post