Apps Help Aging Seniors, But Are They Good Alternatives to Human Care?

Woman in Senior CareIn-home care, non-assisted living, independent living, aging in place — these are various phrases that mean the same thing: allowing our elderly to age gracefully without having to move into a healthcare environment.

Since the majority of seniors prefer staying at home when they are older rather than spending their time in a senior home, startups and major tech companies are finding the senior care industry profitable. They are introducing relevant apps and gadgets to address the need for these seniors. The new technologies allow seniors to live on their own while providing family members peace of mind.

While these apps provide undeniable assistance to both the seniors and their families, studies have concluded that human interaction remains important to the elderly. There is still nothing like elderly home care services provided by experienced and compassionate caregivers.

Senior Care Tech Apps

Activity-based sensors placed in different areas in the home eliminate the need for frequent check-ins. The sensors reassure loved ones that their elderly parent is up and about, carrying out his or her daily business. The app alerts the family, the caregiver, or an emergency response service when things are not the way they should be.

Emergency pendants seniors are asked to wear around their necks integrate a “fall detection” feature that notifies a loved one in the event a senior fails to press the button. Users can program the pendant to store numbers of family members or 911 so that immediate help will come during emergency cases.

There are also apps available now that help seniors take their medicines on time and in the right dosage. The device goes off and starts flashing to remind elder members of the family to take their medication. The device is ideal for seniors with dexterity challenges as a single motion will cause the pills into a medicine cup and turn the alarm off.

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No Care Like That of Caregivers

About one-third of seniors 65 years old and older live alone, while half of those older than 85 do. Modern apps, while convenient, tend to decrease human interaction, which is essential to the well-being of seniors.

According to a new wave of research, separation is bad for humans. One study says that isolation disrupts sleeping patterns, and compromises the immune system as well as raises the risk of heart disease by 29%. In older adults, loneliness can accelerate cognitive decline and isolation puts individuals at twice as much risk for premature death.

The presence of caregivers who look after their patients with genuine care can lessen the feelings of loneliness and isolation that are the causes of early decline in seniors.

Take June Barrett, a Miami-based in-home care provider, for instance. On top of monitoring the medication of seniors, caregivers like Barrett prepare dinner and help their clients eat. They help with everyday tasks like going to the bathroom and brushing the teeth, and when they have gone to sleep, caregivers prepare for the next day and makes sure everything they need is in place.

Barrett says she is aware that in her work, she is responsible for people’s lives, and a single mistake can cost her clients their lives. So she goes beyond simply doing her job; she does her work from a place of empathy and love. She provides her clients the kind of care she would like to receive when she is old.