These days, there seems to be wearable technology for everything and everyone.
Want to track physical activity or sleep patterns? There’s a wearable for that. Want peace of mind that someone will respond in the event of a fall? There’s a wearable for that, too.
With many different devices on the market, it may be difficult to determine the best wearable technology for seniors. It also may be tough to find wearables optimally designed for seniors.
But the advantages involved in tracking health data and encouraging safety via wearable devices are certainly clear.
Benefits of Wearable Technology for Seniors
Often, when considering wearable technology for seniors, thoughts immediately go to medical response systems like the Lifeline call button. Such wearables allow for independent living. And over the years, these devices have evolved to detect sudden movements and falls, alerting authorities if someone can’t access the button themselves. Some even monitor for carbon monoxide and smoke and include GPS functionality for protection when seniors aren’t home.
Beyond alerting emergency personnel or loved ones about a fall, wearable technology for seniors goes so far as to empower them to advocate and monitor their own health. If they notice a change in sleeping patterns, heart rate or blood oxygen levels, or if their loved ones do, wearables can promote early intervention and proactive health care. Likewise, physicians can turn to the data to pinpoint health concerns, stabilize chronic conditions and prevent major issues.
Other wearable technology for seniors has very specific uses. A smart shoe insert gently vibrates to guide in the right direction, while a special belt deploys a pillow similar to an airbag when a fall is detected to prevent injury. There’s also wearable blood pressure monitors, stress-level indicators and more. Some of these devices are currently on the market, while others are in development.
However, many wearables today aren’t necessarily designed with seniors in mind. Their needs are drastically different than millennials and those in middle age, specifically when it comes to hearing, mobility and vision. For example, a complex interface with small buttons may be easy for a 20-something to maneuver, but it may deter someone with arthritis and limited vision from enjoying and regularly using the device.
As such, the most popular wearable technology for seniors typically includes simple interfaces, voice recognition and automated fall detection.
At any rate, there’s no denying the potential of wearable technology for seniors. And with time, such technology will likely only become more prominent in daily life.