Communication Devices and Home Automation Tools Perfect for Seniors
Posted on November 07, 2014
11:33am | Alert1 recognizes that an increased US life expectance means the
senior care industry faces a significant shortage of
caregivers. Our research has shown that providing
regular care for a senior has significant financial, emotional, and health
related challenges for the caregiver. Alert1 believes new technology will
help support caregivers so that they can deliver the level of support seniors
deserve. But in spite of the explosion of new products over the past few years,
few of them have seen wide-spread adoption.
Alert1 is prepared to support the
senior care industry in accepting this new technology. In this article we will
discuss products for the home that will help both seniors and their caregivers
communicate and move around the home.
Communication and mobility are key
ingredients to a senior’s feelings of independence. New developments in
accessible devices help seniors interact with their environment safely and in a
more fulfilling manner.
Captioned Telephones for Seniors
Captioned telephone by Captel®
For seniors with limited hearing
it is difficult to use phone. Cell
phones present an even greater challenge for seniors with their complex
functionality. This can severely limit their communication with their loved
ones and lead to feelings of isolation. Captioned telephones allow seniors with
impaired hearing to catch every word. They work exactly like a normal
telephone, with the addition of a large, high-contrast screen that displays
every word callers say. Even if the senior cannot hear the amplified phone,
they can read what is being said and respond as normal.
The phone is the easiest way for
seniors to contact their caregivers and for caregivers to check in on their
charges. It is essential for seniors to keep in touch with their caregivers to
schedule appointments and communicate their needs. For many seniors, the phone
is the primary
means of communication with their Circle of Care which includes close friends
and family. Without it they cannot keep in touch, which can lead to
feelings of loneliness and isolation. When they do attempt to use the phone,
there is frustration on both ends of the line when the senior cannot understand
the caller. Closed caption call makes the entire process smoother on both ends.
They allow smooth communication without embarrassment or misunderstanding.
with medically recognized hearing loss, captioned telephones are provided for
free by the FCC as a
provision of the
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. For those who need captioning services
without medically recognized hearing lost, captioned telephones can be
purchased with prices running from $70 to $200. For those with hearing loss,
these telephones are invaluable. They are reasonably priced, and installation
is as simple as any other phone.
believe these telephones are suffering from a lack of recognition
by the senior care industry. Many seniors struggle with phones but are
unaware there is a simple solution. We predict the adoption rate will be high
on these phones once consumers become aware of their existence.
Seniors Friendly Emails
Computerless Email by Presto®
Computerless email allows
communication with seniors who are unwilling or unable to use the computer, or
who never check their email. A loved one can send emails to the senior and the
message automatically prints out in letter format in the senior’s home. This allows
seniors to keep in touch with their family without using the computer.
These devices can even print out news and crossword puzzles, functioning like a
are dependent on smart technology in and around the home. A senior may
never hear from their grandchildren by phone but receive regular emails from
them. Event invitations sent by email might never be seen in an unchecked email
inbox. Computerless email devices mean seniors will not miss out on important
information that is sent by email.
In April 2012, the Pew Research
Center found that for the first time more than half of adults 65 or older were
internet users. This number is only increasing. Nevertheless, older adults face
unique challenges when it comes to technology. Seniors
with arthritis challenges, those skeptical about the benefits of technology,
and those who need assistance learning to use new technologies are all
significantly less likely to use computers and the internet. Many older adults
who do use the internet never check their email and do not realize they are
missing important information.
We predict that these devices are
most often purchased by loved ones and given to seniors. These loved ones want
to communicate by email and are frustrated that the older adult does not get
their messages. By 2015, eMarketer® forecasts there
will be over 26 million senior internet users in the US. We believe that
adoption of these devices will slow as the older population becomes more
Senior Mobility and Automatic Door Openers
Automatic Door Opener by Skylink®
Automatic door openers are a
staple in commercial establishments thanks to the Americans with Disabilities
Act, and now they are available for the home. These openers allow any kind of
swinging door to be opened using a motion sensor, key code, or wearable button.
safety features include automatic locks and sensors to prevent the door
from opening if there is an obstacle in the way.
Automatic door openers allow
seniors with restricted mobility to move around their home without hassle.
Automatic locks and opening mean seniors do not have to maneuver keys, locks,
and handles. There is no need for strength or leverage to push or pull a door
open. These openers let seniors independently move around their home while
keeping the privacy and security of their current doors.
We predict automatic door openers
to be adopted quickly once they become widely available. They are priced at a
couple hundred dollars for several doors. The price does go up the more doors
that are covered, but we expect that these prices will go down as these openers
become more popular. Overall these openers are reasonably priced, quickly
installed, and very useful to those who struggle to navigate around their
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Smart Lights for Bright Seniors
Smart lights by WeMo®
Seniors who cross dark rooms to
turn on a light switch are at increased risk of falling and injuring
themselves. This is especially pertinent to
help battle the percentage of seniors who slip or fall during the night. Modern
lights can be turned on from anywhere in the room. Some lights can be
controlled with a smartphone so that they can be turned on from anywhere. Other
lights have handheld controls that can control all the lighting in the house
from one remote. These smart lights have sensors so that the lights dim when no
one is in the around for energy savings. WeMo®
The CDC recommends improving the
lighting in the home to reduce the risk of falls. As seniors age their eyes
need more light to see. More lighting means tripping hazards are illuminated.
Seniors with limited mobility to reach light switches are ideal candidates for
this technology, but smart lighting is an amenity that everyone can use in
their home. Caregivers should always
be sure the home is well lit for aging eyes.
We predict that smart lighting
will dramatically increase in popularity for seniors and in all markets. The
convenience and energy savings make it an attractive option. New constructions
are already beginning to feature smart lighting, and we predict the adoption
rate will only increase.