Aging In Place

12/11/2023 | By Kari Smith

Technology can enhance your well-being and safety and provide hours of enjoyment. Despite some people’s assumptions that technology and seniors don’t mix, nearly 75% of adults in their 50s, 60s, and 70s use technology to stay connected, and many older adults have adopted technology for health care and safety at home, too.

Try these technologies for uses both practical and fun.

Enlist a personal assistant

Alexa has become a household name, and why not? With the ability to wake you up, tell you the weather, play music, remind you of calendar events, and more, she’s a pretty handy gal. Place an Alexa anywhere in your home or go a little crazy like me, and have several scattered around the house. Alexa can even facilitate conversations with friends and family.

Those who prefer Google Home products can opt for Google Assistant instead.

You can integrate your personal assistant with safety by adding features such as SmartCompanion care, enabling you to call for emergency help or initiate a video chat simply by speaking.

Although my almost 80-year-old dad was skeptical about using an Alexa device, I bought him one as a gift last year and completed the initial setup for him. Soon, he was reporting incredulously to me which obscure older song Alexa was able to play when he asked. When I asked him for gift ideas this year, he requested a second one for upstairs!

Suggestions for seniors using Alexa


woman in a wheelchair at home using her laptop, on a video call. Image by Robert Kneschke, article on technology for health, safety, and fun

Staying connected is vital for emotional health and well-being, especially for homebound individuals who live alone. Video chat platforms such as Zoom facilitate virtual communication with friends, family, and health care practitioners. Apple product users with iPhones, iPads, or Mac computers can use the FaceTime app to instantly connect with friends who also have an Apple device – even if they are halfway around the world! This software can also be used to connect to more than one person and is my easy go-to app for video chatting with my four sisters simultaneously. Since interaction is beneficial to us in so many ways, this makes virtual communication a useful technology for health, too! Alexa users with eligible mobile phone plans can link their mobile number to Alexa to make and receive calls on their device.

Stay safe!

Technology that supports senior safety can ease your worries and your loved ones’ concerns. This is especially true for a senior aging at home, when family lives far away, or when health issues increase the risk of health events. Home safety technology, medical monitoring, fall alarms, and other home safety technology can help ensure efficient response to emergencies.

Safe at home

Many of today’s home security options are wireless with simple, affordable DIY installation. They offer standard window and door sensors as well as indoor and outdoor cameras. The cameras can easily be viewed on a smartphone, and instant notifications can alert you, family members, or a security service to an event that may be suspicious.

Smart home lighting, such as Philips Hue, allows you to turn on lights without having to find the switch. Since insufficient lighting is a recipe for falls, this can be especially helpful for older adults. In addition, you can set a timer for turning lights on and off, dim them or change colors, and create the illusion you’re home when you’re not.

Home sensors help caregivers monitor loved ones from afar. StackCare learns a person’s typical daily pattern and then monitors their activity, alerting a caregiver of changes in patterns that could indicate a problem. Caregivers can tap into data via an app or web portal.

Similar sensor suites from Caregiver Smart Solutions use artificial intelligence to detect changes in usual patterns. Other sensors monitor room activity for potential falls and automatically contact emergency help.

BoundaryCare works with Apple Watch and iPhone to alert caregivers to hard falls, location, seizures, and other important information. It also provides reminders, de-escalation protocols, and health data.

Health matters

Technology for health offers great promise for improving the lives of seniors – and others!

At-home heart monitors provide accurate EKG results and a wide range of arrhythmia detections. Devices by Kardia range from a six-lead personal EKG to a credit card-sized single-lead EKG and can detect up to six of the most common arrhythmias.

Many smartwatches double as health monitors, including Apple, Garmin, and FitBit devices. Some can track heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature. They can also assist with fall detection and send an alert in case of a fall, as can wearable alert systems like Life Alert.

Several recent Apple Watch models provide data that can help detect and monitor serious heart conditions. For example, irregular rhythm notifications can be suggestive of atrial fibrillation (AFib). The watch can capture an ECG of rapid or skipped heartbeats and irregular rhythms. It also records a wearer’s AFib history, providing lifestyle insights and long-term tracking.

Smart medication reminders remind adults when to take their meds, noting correct dosage and providing other guidance, such as “take with food.” Options range from smartphone apps to pillboxes with alarms to high-tech devices that provide caregiver alerts and 24/7 support, for a monthly fee.

Have fun!

A plethora of entertainment awaits, right at your fingertips, through games and apps that can be played not just for fun but also to reduce stress and exercise your mind. You may also choose a game, such as Words with Friends, that allows you to interact with others as you play. Choose classics such as Solitaire and Uno or enjoy a newer game such as Sudoku, Wordle, or Elevate. Learning is fun with apps such as Duolingo, which can help you learn a new language and connect you with others who are learning, too. Most of these games and apps can be played on your phone, tablet, or home computer.

Although changing technology can be challenging for folks of any age, once you get over the initial learning curve, you will likely be grateful for the convenience, interaction, safety and health benefits, and enjoyment these gadgets provide.

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Kari Smith

Kari Smith is a frequent contributor to Seniors Guide, helping to keep those in the senior industry informed and up-to-date. She's a Virginia native whose love of writing began as a songwriter recording her own music. In addition to teaching music and performing in the Richmond area, Kari also enjoys riding horses and farming.

Kari Smith