As we age, we can all benefit from some additional support inside and outside of our home. One of the ways we can find tasks easier is if we have additional equipment or devices that can assist with our daily life. Modern technology has made it easier to cope with certain aspects of a daily routine, while specialist equipment can often be the difference when it comes to remaining independent at home. Because Helping Hands work closely with you to provide exceptional elderly care in your own home you won’t ever have to worry that you won’t be able to remain in the place you love. We will learn how to help you use your technology so that you get the most out of what you have at home – that way you retain your independence and get the support you need, every single day.
If you take regular medication our carers can be on hand to administer your prescriptions, but if you would rather manage your own tablets there are devices available that will help you to remember when they should be taken. Pill reminders can be standalone gadgets consisting of a digital alarm and containers that will hold your medication, or you can utilise an app on a smartphone to remind you. Certain models of phone even contain an inbuilt medication alarm, so it’s worth checking if yours does too.
Communication being made as simple as possible is essential, regardless of the condition you’re living with. Communication devices can include adapted telephones, with larger buttons, a bigger screen, and louder ringtones. Cordless telephones can also have a locator button on the base, to find a misplaced handset, and mobiles can have an emergency button in case assistance is needed. They don’t need to be electronic devices either – for people who struggle to verbalise, picture cards could also help convey meaning.
Personal help alarms
According to Age UK, their AgeCo personal alarm service has helped many people to remain safely in their own home: over 76,000 people in 2021 alone. Personal alarms work by means of a button that the user wears as a bracelet or pendant, so that if they need assistance, they can press it and speak to an operative. Some alarms also have a two-way speak function so that the person can say what they need, or the operative will call the person’s emergency contact. This is reassuring for both the person wearing the device and their loved ones in the case of an emergency.
Lights are available that can switch on automatically when a person enters the room, meaning you’re not stepping into darkness and reaching for the light switch unseen. There are also devices that can respond to a noise, command, or a light touch to the base to turn on, such as table lamps, as well as plug socket timers that can be set so that they switch on plugged-in devices at certain times. This isn’t just a good safety device to light rooms and help prevent falls but can also be an excellent security measure to make a house seem as if it’s inhabited by more people. These can also be used when you’re not at home to deter intruders.
Older people are particularly prone to loneliness and isolation and Age UK estimates there are currently 1.4m chronically lonely older people in England. According to Ability Net, “Technology can be part of the solution, connecting people at a distance and providing access to essential services online.” While not all devices will be suitable for older users, there are some which are explicitly designed with large icons and uncomplicated interfaces that better suit dexterity difficulties or sight impairment, such as the GrandPad or KOMP. Large key mobile phones are also helpful for a senior who wants to keep in touch with their tech-savvy family, and some may be suitable for people living with dementia due to their straightforward connectivity. Companies such as Doro and Nokia manufacture handsets that don’t contain all the complications of modern smartphones, and you can read more about some of these here.
Remembering specific tasks can be difficult at times, which is where motion sensor memo reminders can be extremely useful. In addition, if you are living with dementia and your loved ones are worried about you while alone, a personalised message can be recorded on the device, such as asking you not to leave the house if it’s dark outside. This provides reassurance for both you and your family until they can check on you the next morning. Traditionally mounted by the front door, the device can be put in a place that’s most convenient for you and will be triggered to play the recorded message by someone walking past it.
If you are living with more complex conditions, you shouldn’t have to miss out on viewing family photos or seeing the latest updates from friends. Digital photo frames are excellent devices to keep a display fresh and lead to conversation starters, which is especially valuable for someone living with dementia who may need additional visual stimulation. There are also apps available on smartphones that are designed specifically for talking about the past or for organising photographs, and these can be used in conjunction with your loved ones to make sure that you have important memories to hand. This is where our live-in carers are also indispensable, as they can be with you around the clock to make sure that your technology works in the very best way for you. But live-in care from Helping Hands isn’t just there to support you with tech, as we’ll do those essential tasks such as housework, meal preparation, personal care, and providing indispensable companionship. We’ll also be happy to help you to access the latest technology that can keep you in touch with loved ones further away.
If you’re in the habit of misplacing things such as your glasses, wallet, or mobile phone, then you may find a locator device beneficial. Locator devices work through sensors that you attach to your items so that they can be ‘found’ via a remote-control transmitter, up to approximately 45 meters. This ensures that no matter where your items are in the house, you should always be able to find them, reducing stress levels or confusion, especially when you’re trying to go out.
We all get more forgetful as we age, that’s just one of the ways our brains handle information differently, however there are certain scenarios where becoming more forgetful can actually impact on our safety at home. Cooking is an enjoyable pastime for many people but forgetting that the stove or oven is on creates a real risk of fire. Stove alarms can be utilised so that leaving your cooker on and unattended won’t become a danger. There are also more advanced ones on the market that will ‘learn’ how you use your cooker, so that it won’t trigger false alarms while it’s still in use. They will also monitor oven temperature so that it doesn’t get too high.
Smart assistive technology
Smart technology has made its way into so many households across the UK, being utilised for everything from switching on heating, reordering groceries, and catching up with loved ones. Devices such as Facebook portal can be used to have video conversations with family and friends, whereas Amazon Alexa and Google assistant can play music, let you watch TV, and set timers. They can also update you on deliveries and help reorder essentials when they’re running low. Home security is also extremely important, especially when you’re living alone, and a video doorbell system that lets you answer the door without leaving your chair is helpful. Ring doorbell is a video doorbell system that can connect with smart speakers and devices so that you can talk to the person at the door from anywhere you have connectivity. You could be miles away from your home or having a lie-in, but you can still view and talk to the person at the door, issuing them instructions to call again, leave a delivery, or wait until you’re able to open the door.
In addition to all the assistive technology that’s on the market, our carers can come to your home from just an hour a week to ensure that you have everything you need. They can help you to make the most of the technology that you or your loved ones have bought, showing you how to set it up and connect it effectively. Talk to our friendly customer care team about visiting and live-in care in your area, or have a chat with us online, seven days a week. You can also request a call back for a time to suit you or pop into your local branch.