Gadgets for a Greying Generation

Here’s an article from the FT about technology and older folks.

It covers a few key areas:

1) Electronic medication dispensers
Both Philips and Vital Link have designed phone- or internet-connected pill boxes or dispensers. The Philips device looks much like my mom’s kitchen appliances. A blender-sized tan cylindrical canister that holds seven days’ worth of medications, it is programmed to sound a vocal alert when it is time for the patient to take them. If this and subsequent warnings were ignored, the device would send me a phone message to let me know.

2) Home health monitors
Several kinds of devices, including Bluetooth-enabled weighing scales such as those made by Withings, which beam daily readings from the scales to the internet, blood pressure cuffs for assessing hypertension and glucose meters for monitoring diabetes, can transmit daily health readings directly to the internet so family or medical personnel can monitor measurements remotely and study graphs of monthly or annual readings to look for changes over time.

3) Personal emergency response
Companies such as Mobile Help and Active Care make these devices, which are worn round the neck or clipped on to a belt, and feature a single button that the wearer can push to notify a family member or a call-centre in the case of a fall.
But Hughes Telematics, a vehicle technology company, and American Medical Alert Corp, a health technology company, are planning jointly to introduce a new, personal emergency response device that can be worn like a wristwatch, called the Lifecomm. It will include a GPS location tracking system and an accelerometer, the device found in smartphones that detects when a person is holding their phone upright or sideways and adjusts the screen view accordingly. The accelerometer can detect a sudden fall and the GPS tracker helps send emergency personal assistance to the wearer’s exact location, without them needing to take action. For people who do not want to wear a device, an alternative is to install sensors in the home, such as GE’s QuietCare system.

4) Communication
Care Innovations Connect system, a simple touchscreen computer with only a few options to choose from that allows the user to send a message or share photos easily. No messy mouse scrolling and no pop-up ads to confuse. See video.