In recent years, there has been a boom in technology designed to help older people and others who may require assistance and support. This includes technology to help people live more comfortably or to detect and warn of health problems. Below are some of the new tech currently on the market or coming soon.
Personal Alarms have been around for a while but they have advanced in recent years to include telecare monitoring systems – digital activity monitoring using sensors throughout the home. Much like sensor burglar or car alarms, telecare monitoring systems only sound the alarm when they detect something out of the ordinary or wrong. If an older person doesn’t leave their bed in the morning, hasn’t shut the front door, or has a fall, a 24/7 monitoring team (or a carer via an app) are alerted and a neighbour might be asked to check up on them. There are a number of these systems on the market.
Forgetfulness is a natural part of the aging process and not necessarily a symptom of dementia. There are many systems out there to remind older people of daily tasks, such as automated pill dispensers.
KOMP: a one-button computer for seniors
KOMP was developed by No Isolation, which aims to “bring people together through warm technology.”
No Isolation co-designed KOMP with older people, and it is explicitly designed to enable seniors to videocall with loved ones.
The KOMP resembles an old-style television or radio with a large screen about 17 inches across and just one button. The simplicity of KOMP makes it accessible to all, particularly those over the age of 80 because people’s fingertips can become dry and leathery so touch screens won’t work. KOMP allows loved ones to initiate a video call remotely. https://www.noisolation.com/komp
Labrador System’s Retriever
The Retriever looks like a robotic bar cart and offers assistance to people with limited mobility. It’s aimed at people who can live independently but offers a helping hand when needed. The system can carry around 12kg and can be used to move items such as meals and drinks or heavier items, such as laundry around the house. It has a retractable tray system that can move objects onto the cart from the countertop. Underneath there is additional space to store food or medication and also ports for charging phones or other devices. The system can be controlled by voice via Alexa. https://labradorsystems.com/
Sengled Smart Bulbs
Sengled’s latest smart bulb offering is capable of taking health readings, including temperature, heart rate and tracking sleep. It uses radar sensing to measure changes in the user’s body to passively monitor health rather than requiring the user to wear a smartwatch or wrist band. This could offer some potentially useful applications for elderly care. Sengled also offers a number of other smart bulbs, including a monitor detector bulb which turns off automatically and a WiFi connected bulb controlled by phone or Alexa/Google Assist. https://eu.sengled.com/en/