Host of gadgets available to help older adults live independently
Running the tech gamut from low to high, there are plenty of gadgets easily available to help older adults live more comfortably and independently. Check local stores and online shopping venues for the following items:
Grabber tool: Grabber tools can help seniors easily reach items that are stored up high or that have fallen on the floor or in hard-to-reach places like behind the couch. They can also help with yard cleanup, picking up twigs without bending. There are a wide variety available, with different lengths, handle-types and weight-bearing capabilities, that range from about $10-$50.
Garden kneelers and seats: Working in the yard can be easier and less painful on the joints by using a garden kneeler, a portable, padded stool that is strong enough to support gardeners while stooping and standing back up and is light enough to carry. Prices can range from $20-$120, depending on weight limits and amenities like handles and storage pouches.
Item locators: Nothing is more frustrating than not being able to find your car keys or the TV remote. Products like Tile and Esky allow you to place a receiver on commonly lost items. Pressing the transmitter sets off a “beep” that you can follow to locate the item. Prices range from $20-$50.
Doorbell cameras: Technology used in smart doorbells like Ring and Nest allow people to see who is at the door before they open it, adding to their safety. The doorbell cameras send a notification and a photo to a smart phone when the doorbell is pressed. Some, like Ring, also send a notification when movement is detected, even if the doorbell isn’t rung, providing added security and peace of mind. Prices range from $80-230, depending on extras.
GrandPad computer tablet: Tablets provide an easy, economical way to stay in touch with family and friends. The GrandPad is specifically designed for older adults, offering simple voice and video calling, photo sharing and access to email; it does not have a web browser. The GrandPad has larger buttons and an uncomplicated interface, and a subscription service offers a companion app for family to connect to a private network with the senior. The GrandPad blocks unknown calls, protecting users from scammers. If you buy the device direct, it costs $79 per month with a $29 setup and shipping fee, or purchase it through Consumer Cellular for $250 upfront and $40 a month.
Medical alert systems: Seniors who live alone should consider a medical alert device. By wearing a pendant around the neck or wrist, users access emergency help 24/7. Pushing the help button connects seniors to a call center, where they can speak to a trained operator any time of day. These systems vary from basic to high tech and some have features like fall detection or activity monitoring. Prices start at about $30 per month. ∞