THE BLOG

Aging in Place: When Technology Can Help

05/15/2015 12:15 pm ET | Updated May 15, 2016

It's not always easy to change habits and your lifestyle, even if it's something you need to do. In the case of helping a parent or loved one to continue living at home while recovering or aging, there are tools at hand that can ease the burden of a child and a professional caregiver.

Technology is not only about searching for information or games. It connects us in a million ways, including children, grandchildren and your medical support team.

"Using assistive technologies can extend the length of time an individual can stay home," says Laurie Orlov, an aging in place technology expert. Technology is getting easier to use and incorporating it into a home and senior's life makes sense. When we introduce new technology, families should encourage this use as a motivation to stay at home for as long as possible.

Trying new things can be fun and expand the mind. Technology is one way to stretch the brain as well as support someone who wants to live at home. You want your loved one to be safe while you encourage their independence.

As a caregiver, using the technology tools available make their role easier. Being an effective caregiver requires specialized training in home care technologies.

How Can Technology Help?

Technology does not replace a caregiver. It functions as a support in conjunction with a caregiver.

What Types of Technologies Should We Use?

Keep it simple. Use the minimal technology for maximum results. Think about specific areas where there are struggles. How can they be simplified and what can technology do to make it easier?

There are specific technologies for medication reminders and personal emergency response monitoring systems for every room in the house.

What about a webcam? It can feel invasive, however it can also be a great tool to stay in touch like with video chatting on Skype.

There are applications for taking blood pressure, check glucose levels, get glasses prescription or monitor a heart rate.

Technology Is Not Enough. Technology is a great support and a way to learn the brave new world of the Internet, but it doesn't have all the answers. Caregivers can greatly benefit from technical assistance and engage their patient in the use of the applications and programs.