The "Great Graying" of American society that we hear so much about is already happening. By 2060, there will be about 98 million seniors, which is more than twice the senior headcount in 2013, according to the U.S. Administration on Aging. Seniors who were 65 years or older accounted for 14.1% of the population in 2013. But by 2040, they'll likely represent 21.7% of the population.
There's probably an aging parent or other senior loved one in your life. So how can you best help them to age in place and be as autonomous as possible? Consider these affordable services.
Here's a system with no monthly monitoring fee
A lot of seniors have a landline in their home. If that's the case for your loved one, you might want to check out AssistiveTechnologyServices.com.
You buy this pendant, which sells for between $280 and $320, and there is no monthly fee ever for use. The device can be set up to call up to four numbers -- typically that would be three relatives and the fourth number would be 911 -- in the event a senior needs help.
Another nice feature is that the senior can answer telephone calls right through the pendant!
The unit is water resistant so it can be mounted in a shower. This communicator runs on 4 standard AAA batteries and can operate in standby mode for over a year without changing batteries.
If money matters, this is a good way to have an alert system with no monthly fee.
This option is cheaper upfront but has a monthly fee
We're all familiar with that commercial that goes, "Help, I've fallen and I can't get up," right? Those kinds of devices generally only work in conjunction with a landline phone in a home. But what about when a senior is away from home?
From the makers of the senior-friendly cell phone Jitterbug comes Splash, a waterproof device that works without a landline. The Splash ($49.99) allows two-way communication over Verizon's network with a response agent at the touch of a button. You can even be GPS tracked via triangulation if you're not able to speak. Basic service starts at $19.99/month once you purchase the device. Visit GreatCall.com for more details.
Try this for peace of mind if you have an aging family member or friend.
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Stylish safety watch for 24/7 medical alert
Lively enables older adults to remain independent, safe and connected to family and caregivers. It uses an in-home hub with built-in cellular network connectivity to offer emergency response coverage up to 1,500 feet around the home or yard. No home Internet connection is required.
Whenever the safety watch help button is pushed, Lively’s 24/7 Monitoring Center steps in to reach the user by phone before calling their emergency contacts and if needed, dispatches emergency services.
Lively also includes passive activity sensors for use around the home that measure healthy living patterns and give family members insight when something may be amiss, like missed meals or decreased physical activity. When a daily routine pattern shifts, Lively notifies a designated circle of family members and caregivers via email, text message or its mobile app.
Silver Mother offers a completely different approach
The Silver Mother ($299) is a remote monitoring solution that lets seniors live a healthy and independent life in their own homes while providing peace of mind to caregivers. It offers the ability for you to remotely check on them from your phone or computer.
Each Silver Mother comes with four multipurpose sensors and a main hub (the "mother") to which they report data. You assign each sensor a monitoring task.
So for example, you could place one of the sensors on a regular pill bottle. Then it will analyze movement to let you know if your elderly loved one forgot to take their pills. If the lack of movement suggests a missed dose, the Silver Mother will send a call to the elderly person to remind them to take their medication. (You'll also get a message that they missed their medication.) After three missed doses, if no action is taken, the issue is escalated and a third party like a doctor can be automatically notified.
The sensors are reusable. You can reprogram each one based on whatever your loved one's needs may be. For example, you could put one on a fridge door to make sure they eat, or a walking stick to make sure they're walking or on regular water bottles to make sure they're staying hydrated.
Initial setup is easy too. Simply plug Silver Mother into a power socket and then into an Internet router and you're ready to go! Cookies will send the data within 65 feet of the mother.
For more money-saving advice for the seniors in your life, see our Health section.