Senior citizens are quickly embracing all kinds of technology to better manage how they go about their lives, whether the innovations relate to health care or assistance around the home.
Don’t take our word for it: A 2019 survey by Environics found that 74% of Canadians 65 and older feel comfortable using technology, not far behind the 80% of 50-to-64-year-olds who said the same thing.
Also, the survey revealed that seniors wanted to be more open with the new devices available: 61% of those 65 and older said the impact of tech on society is positive with only 15% saying it is negative.
In the US, a 2019 technology survey from AARP revealed that one in seven people over 50 own a home assistant or smart speaker product such as Microsoft Cortana, Apple HomePod, Google Home or one of Amazon’s suite of Echo products.
That goodwill towards gadgetry opens the door to a new era of devices and services catering to elderly folks who want function blended with style.
Below are three innovative tech gadgets turning heads for invigorating a sector of hardware in desperate need of a 65-plus makeover:
What’s often disappointing about the looks of products for seniors is how bland they are on the outside. Walkers barely go beyond monotones and rarely sport any flair, while canes, especially for the visually impaired, haven’t undergone any redesigns that would turn any heads.
That’s until the WeWalk came along. Resembling the iPhone of canes, WeWalk is GPS- and voice technology-enabled and can tell seniors what’s around them—if they’re passing a grocery store, they’re at a certain exit of a subway station. An ultrasonic sensor can spot objects at body or head level and then offer a warning vibration.
WeWalk users pair the cane with their smartphones and then access the cane’s touchpad to harness features like a voice assistant or navigation maps. Before leaving home, they can plug their destination into Google Maps and receive spoken directions as they walk.
Developed by Toronto startup MonkeyJabber, a new type of watch is attracting attention for how it’s become a vital assistive device for seniors who may need to be monitored remotely. NurtureWatch pairs with a smartphone to connect wearers to other devices, in case family or friends want to know where they are.
It’s loaded with other applications too: a gyroscope to detect if the senior has fallen; geofencing to alert others if the wearer has left a certain area; a heart rate monitor; SOS button for emergencies; and an alert system to notify the wearer when to take their medication. NurtureWatch says its battery lasts about 48 hours in standby mode.
We’ll likely see more gadgets such as WeWalk and NurtureWatch working seamlessly with smartphones as many seniors recognize the opportunity in this new era of Bluetooth-enabled devices that upgrade a regular ol’ product to a high-tech assistant.
Often, the most useful technologies slip under the radar and even under our power plugs. Many elderly folks have a tough time navigating dark hallways at night, or finding the light switch in the bathroom. That’s why these small SnapPower Guidelights are so smart: the LED lights slip under anything around the home, or fit along the wall, to help guide people around their home at night or early in the morning.
These lights are also safe for children because LEDs don’t heat up like standard night lights, and Guidelights don’t come with any open bulbs or glass for kids to burn and cut themselves on.
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