Aging with grace and vigor is challenging. Being a caregiver for an aging loved one maybe even more challenging. Here are some innovations to help those you love are able to care for themselves and lengthen their independence.
The Cassia Learning Lab director, Kate Ingalls-Maloney, suggests listing your concerns and then deciding, with some help, which technologies fit those situations. For example, is there a concern about leaving the oven or a burner on? Perhaps there’s a worry about falling in the shower. On occasion, are daily medications forgotten? Be very honest with yourself and your family about what causes hesitation or concern. Then make your list.
The top two reasons people move from their homes are medication errors and falls. Insurance companies may be more likely to cover home modifications and medication management devices that are designed to prevent these two situations. Waivers and private pay are other ways to obtain home adaptations or devices, and some vendors offer a “try before you buy” policy.
Innovations to support seniors’ independence and peace of mind for their caregivers.
Medication management systems There are many different medication reminders and dispensing systems: From a simple flip-top dispenser to a lockable electronic dispenser that can give alerts to both the person taking the meds and to his/her remote caregiver.
Fall prevention innovations Easy to install lighting, with or without motion detection, can be affordable and very effective. The adhesive-backed LED motion lights can easily mark a trail to the bathroom at night and provide a safe path. Other strategically placed night lights or touch lamps also help to avoid falls.
Grab bars systems In the bathroom, grab bars can be installed according to the user’s mobility needs. Newer models incorporate towel bars and toilet paper dispensers. Note: It’s important to consult your physical therapist when installing grab bars. Non-skid flooring is another great way to help prevent bathroom falls.
Wearable pendants or watches There is a variety of these on the market. They can detect falls automatically or be triggered to summon help if a fall occurs. In addition, there is now a wearable (but not noticeable) tracking device that inserts into a shoe or boot so that someone who tends to wander can be located using GPS technology.
Safety in the kitchen There is no need to fear to leave the oven on if you have an automatic appliance shut-off sensor system. They can be installed in both electric and gas ranges.
“My mother is 93 and has very arthritic hands. I’ve been clipping her nails for her. (I bought her a ClipDifferent Pro) and it will allow her to be independent when it comes to doing her nails.” – Nancy
Fingernail care For self-care, the ClipDifferent Pro automatic fingernail clipper provides a way to safely and independently clip fingernails with no risk of harm or mess.
Home voice activation systems Whole-home voice activation systems like Amazon’s Alexa or Google home, when installed correctly, can be very helpful for controlling thermostats, lighting, doorbells, TV, or calls for help.
To see these products, visit The Cassia Learning Lab, Hopkins. Please call for an appointment at (612) 554-2317 or visit www.thelearninglab.org