What is Wearable Technology?
A common stereotype about older adults is that they are not known for being early adopters of new technology. You may not have been the first one in your family to get a smartphone or develop a social media addiction, but neither of those tech products were made with you in mind.
With the next big trend in tech products, that’s about to change. Wearables is the term applied to a range of tech items that the user wears throughout the day (and sometimes throughout the night). They provide a number of different functions, but most are focused on tracking your actions and physical symptoms related to your health.
While a number of athletic 20-somethings have jumped on the wearables bandwagon, let’s be honest, a tool that constantly monitors your body for potential health issues is of more use to your average 65-year old than her grandkids.
Recognizing this, the wearables industry has created a few products designed specifically with the needs of seniors in mind.
Wearables Helpful for Seniors and their Caregivers
Not all of these are used for the aforementioned purpose of tracking health issues, although many of them do. They each provide features that will either make your life easier, or help protect you in a worst-case scenario.
Lively offers wearable products with a sleek and subtle design that provide users with:
- An emergency button in case you need to call for help and aren’t within reach of a phone.
- A reminder system for when to take your medicine each day.
- A step tracker to help you gauge how much movement you have in a typical day.
All of these are useful for seniors who want to keep up a level of independence in their daily lives without putting themselves at risk in order to do so. You can go about your day-to-day life and even challenge yourself to increase your activity level, all while knowing you’ll get help quickly if any sudden health problems arise.
BodyGuardian is a useful solution for any senior that’s had cardiac problems, but is sick of constant doctor’s visits. The wearable device constantly monitors your heart as you go about your daily life, giving you and your physician early notice if there’s anything irregular (and letting you off the hook for check ups the rest of the time).
BeClose is a larger tech system that includes a wearable component. It’s designed for seniors still living on their own, but whose families or caregivers want a way to tell quickly if something starts to go wrong. It can track things like how much movement a person is making, whether they take their pills, or if they’re skipping an activity they usually love (which could be a sign of depression).
Any caregiver of someone suffering from Alzheimer’s knows the fear of their loved one wandering off. The GPS Smartsole offers a different take on the wearable concept. It lets you slip a portable GPS-enabled sole into your loved one’s shoe, so that you can always find them if they wander away.
While these are the main wearable products made with seniors in mind, many seniors would benefit from use of other wearables on the market. Products like Jawbone and FitBit can help you track how well you’re sleeping and if you’re getting enough activity in your day. And there are a number of more health-care focused wearables for tracking things like blood pressure and heart rate.
Wearables can minimize the likelihood of emergencies and the fears that come with them in a way that seniors have never had access to before. Even if you’ve been hesitant to embrace other popular forms of tech, this may be one to check out.