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Mother-in-law Suite Provides Technology to Assist Seniors

Aging-in-place technology facilitates independent living. More than 95 percent of seniors citizens prefer their homes or relatives’ quarters over assisted living options, and their decision to age in place will generate enormous consequences as baby boomers retire and live longer lives due to medical advances. Loving children can create a comfortable environment for their parents by adding supportive technology to a mother-in-law suite, guest apartment, or even in their parents’ homes.

Aging-in-place Technology Facilitates Independence

Technology presents a double-edged sword for many older people. Although the potential benefits clearly favor technological advances, many retired people have never acquired the essential skills to utilize modern services effectively. Many products and services have sprouted to assist seniors, but nursing homes and assisted living facilities often drag their heels when it comes to implementation. A great deal of tech inertia confronts the senior market. Competitive companies concentrate on the most profitable demographic sectors, leaving senior citizens to sink or swim. This attitude demonstrates incredible shortsightedness, because retired citizens live longer lives and make extremely loyal customers.

Current Technology for Senior Living Accommodations

Children can help by providing current technology to their aging parents. Four current technologies provide substantial senior benefits, and a fifth should be developed due to its potential usefulness.

  1. High-speed Internet Access The difference between high-speed browsing and dial-up access makes Internet use much more intuitive and useful for impatient senior citizens. Waiting on page loads and downloads frustrates users, and a quality connection can make it so much easier to enjoy online resources. Senior rooms, homes or guest apartments should feature this essential living-in-place technology.
  2. Skype and Video Conferencing – Skype can help families get together for special occasions such as holidays, birthdays, graduations and anniversaries. The ability to see and hear events as they unfold enhances family togetherness and can provide crucial access for senior citizens to keep them involved among all family generations. The video record could become priceless in the future, allowing unborn generations to meet their ancestors during family gatherings. Families should provide patient senior instruction so family elders can log on successfully. Thoughtful children should also choose assisted living facilities on the basis of the assistance these places offer to facilitate technology connections.
  3. PERS and GPS Locator Technology – Seniors that suffer mild Alzheimer’s or have other medical conditions benefit when someone can locate them easily. Seniors could become forgetful or get lost while on an outing, even when adequately supervised. Families can instruct their relatives in how to use GPS to find their way, and a PERS or GPS locator allows relatives to locate senior citizens wherever they go. The only downside involves encouraging independent people to wear the devices whenever they leave their residences. Creative persuasion will ensure elderly family members always carry their locators with them.
  4. Kindle Reader – Kindle Reader offer affordable technology for a world of entertainment for seniors living at home or in assisted living housing. Relatives should furnish these devices to help seniors find productive ways to spend free time. If relatives live in nursing facilities, them people could provide several readers for the community area, so relatives and their friends could enjoy thousands of books, magazines, and newspapers.

Urgently Needed Technology

Medication Management. Seniors must often take an astonishing number of pills each day. Pillboxes with daily dosages might provide some assistance, and nurses often supervise dispensing medicines in assisted living scenarios. Keeping these records takes valuable time away from duty nurses, who could be offering personal assistance to residents instead of counting pills. Aging-in-place technology should develop a system that tracks medication and warns people when a dose is missed. Seniors taking multiple medications could easily lose track of which pills they have taken and which remain. Compartmentalized pill boxes require accurately dispensing medicines into the right compartments, and they do not allow for differences in time of day when pills should be taken.

Share your comments and experiences with aging in place technology below!

About the Author

Tom BillsTom Bills is a Realtor/Broker with TBillshomes.com as well as the President of T. Bills Construction Co. since 1979. Tom is dedicated to helping people with buying, selling, or remodeling their homes and properties in the best way possible for each familie's unique needs. Read more about Why Tom and his wife Barb started In-LawSuite here. Find him on Facebook and TwitterView all posts by Tom Bills →

  1. George
    George03-07-2012

    It is perfectly obvious to anyone that technology has a lot to offer to seniors. Obvious to everyone except seniors , that is. MY 85 year old mother dug her heals in and refused, so we started her off with a cheap Tracfone SVC phone. We told her that we would only phone her on that phone. She grudgingly adapted and we have now got her onto sending e mails as well. It just takes perseverance and a slow introduction to technology.

  2. Tom
    Tom03-07-2012

    George,

    Thank you for your thoughtful comment and for sharing your experience! You are definitely right, it should be slowly introduced and sometimes it can be hard to remember that your parent came from a different generation, one in which they might not have even had a TV for much of their lives, much less all of the complex technology we are now asking them to embrace.

    Thanks again,

    Tom

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