Wearable technology can provide ways to increase safety, encourage active living, and improve senior health care – from alerting users to an issue with their heart or respiratory rate to delivering medication reminders and sharing vital information with their health care professionals. If you or your parent are looking for ways to better manage their health at home or on the go, wearable technology could be the answer.
Wearable technology is a rapidly expanding industry that is increasingly focused on improving the lives of seniors across the globe.
Active Living Improves Senior Health
According to a report from the University of Wisconsin, active living promotes productive aging and increases longevity as well as overall quality of life. Active living includes both physical activity and social interaction. Activities that combine both will have your parents feeling healthier both physically and mentally as they age.
Outdoor yoga classes, community gardening, mall-walking, and group water aerobics are all ways for seniors to reach their weekly exercise goals while increasing social interactions. Building social capital improves emotional health, helps maintain cognitive ability and mental acuity, and can produce lasting positive psychological benefits.
Maintaining an active lifestyle not only contributes to reduced pain, increased mobility, and enhanced immune systems for seniors but it can also have beneficial effects on mental health by reducing stress and increasing their overall sense of general wellbeing. A strong, healthy body and mind leads to more rapid recovery following surgical procedures or hospital stay, helping patients to “bounce back” more quickly.
Improving Senior Safety and Wellbeing
If your mom or dad still enjoy going out on their own and prefer to live as independently as possible, it can sometimes be challenging to find ways to ease your mind about their health and safety. With a piece of wearable technology that can reach you or emergency assistance with the push of a button, you can work together as a family to ensure and celebrate their self-sufficiency, no matter where they are.
Ways That Wearable Technology Improves Senior Health
Cardiovascular and respiratory issues can often get brushed aside by many seniors, who may assume their symptoms are simply side effects of getting older. Likewise, testing and monitoring of blood glucose levels or cholesterol can become erratic, allowing warnings signs to slip by unnoticed. Wearables that track things like resting heart rate, rising blood pressure, and shifting glucose levels can catch changes as they appear and provide reminders for seniors and their families to follow up on care for chronic conditions.
Wearables also can transmit vital health data directly to authorized health care personnel if required. Ongoing data such as daily activity, heart rate, blood pressure levels, sleep patterns, and brainwave activity can be fed into your parent’s patient file. This provision of on-going data is extremely beneficial to health care practitioners who are building a complete picture of someone’s overall health to create a long term treatment plan.
Top Wearables and Apps for Active Seniors’
Helping mom or dad pick out a wearable should start with research, include some test runs, and end with a device they feel comfortable wearing – and which everyone knows how to operate.
- The Apple Watch is one of the most comprehensive health-based wearables available. When equipped with various apps from the App Store, it can track daily physical activity and sleep cycles, help build healthy meal plans, detect if the user has fallen, and even send out an SOS alert if required. It can remind wearers to check blood sugar levels, monitor heart rates, alert the wearer to unusual heart activity and even generate a rudimentary ECG. Finally, the Apple Watch can easily store all of your parent’s health data and transmit it to a physician if needed – or allow emergency medical personnel quick access.
- Pill Monitor Pro for IOS can help provide reminders to take medication and a create an ongoing log to track medication taken. Alerts can be set by you, your parent, or their doctor, with logs forwarded to their physician on a regular basis to promote compliance. Don’t have an Apple Watch or iPhone? Medisafe’s Pill Reminder and Medication Tracker for Android does the same thing.
- The Fitbit Charge 3 was designed with seniors in mind, helping them plan healthy, safe physical activity. It suggests a goal-based activity, introduces breathing exercises, and monitors heart rate. It’s waterproof and the battery lasts seven days without recharging, making it a good choice for an active senior who enjoys swimming or other water activities but might not remember to charge their device every day.
- Carezone, available for both iPhone and Android, is a health information organizer aimed at keeping family members and caregivers in the loop. It provides an easy way to sort and store medical information by keeping data about medication, allergies, insurance cards and ID cards in a single app, and also allows users to create to-do lists to keep track of appointments and medication times. Wearable data can be delivered to the app to build a clear health profile, which can be handed off to medical personnel in case of an emergency.
Any one – or all – of these pieces of wearable technology can be combined with an active living approach and a commitment to senior health for a better quality of life for your parent. Mom or dad can stay independent, and you can have peace of mind knowing that technology is helping to keep them safe.
If you’re considering assisted living, we invite to come to Kensington Place and see for yourself how we enjoy fulfilling our promise to you: to love and care for your family as we do our own.
Schedule your visit to Kensington Place today. Experience the difference our family makes in the lives of your family.