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Virtual Assistants Enhance Senior Independence

Updated: Jun 13, 2020

Alexa is the newest member of the home care team. Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, or Google’s Assistant can reshape preventative care through virtual assistance which benefit those with cognitive challenges. But like anything, Alexa’s scope and strength must be understood, protected and carefully managed.

There’s an app for that! Do you experience difficulties with...

Writing? - Use talk-to-text to write out a memoir or letters to loved ones.

Reading? - Ask voice assistance to read articles or books aloud.

Hearing? - Hearables have recently introduced a personal assistant aspect. An interesting element is that the device can sense a new acoustic environment (background noises) and adjust between settings for maximum hearing capabilities.

Seeing? - Home security cameras and video doorbells provide extra safety.

Remembering? - Voice assist is capable of setting alarms as reminders.

Stress? - Music therapy lifts the fog and brings your loved one “back” by releasing feel-good hormones which helps with emotional health and dementia.

Fear of falling? - Wearables are products that can be worn on clothing or as an accessory to capture and transmit data. Many wearable devices now include fall detection features. For example, if the smartwatch detects a hard fall while being worn, it sounds an alarm and displays an alert. The newest smartwatches also include: GPS trackers, fitness monitors, SOS emergency buttons, two-way calling, audio monitoring, and health metrics.

Integrating wearables and tracking apps for seniors allows for vitals to be monitored in real-time, increasing accuracy and helping caregivers make more informed health decisions. Cardiovascular health, early signs of illness, and other health issues can be gauged and monitored much more easily by implementing a variety of wearable features, some of which include: fitness levels, stress levels, steps, sleep, blood pressure, glucose, EKG, and identify atrial fibrillation (AFib). More information allows patients to utilize online care, for example, Bryan Health ezVisit can send an online diagnosis or treatment 24/7.

Smart devices can play an integral part in ensuring your loved one is safe at home. Here are some other examples of smart devices that can be beneficial:

  • Multipurpose sensors can close the garage door, monitor doors, control temperature, turn lights on/off, and detect movement. Once you have the sensor you can enable a smart speaker, like a Google Home, to send reminders.

  • Smart locks automatically lock at certain times. Guest codes for certain hours of the day can be added also to eliminate making key copies.

  • Heavy duty smart switches can monitor major appliances, like the oven, to make sure they aren't left on too long.

  • Smart smoke detectors can alert your phone, as well as give direction on where to go during a fire.

As with all digital devices balance is key, technology can give peace of mind that your loved one is safe at home, but there is nothing that can replace the emotional benefits of human connection.

Savvy seniors are starting to use more technology. The Home Care Partners team approach is to enhance independence and keep your loved one safe in their residence. We do this by collaborating with local partners like Simply Smart Homes to find our families the technology resources they desire. For more information contact us today at 402-780-1211.

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