One challenge of aging-services technologies is that older adults may be embarrassed to use them. LeadingAge Senior Vice President of Technology and CAST Executive Director Majd Alwan, Ph.D., offered suggestions on lessening the stigma, in a recent article in Forbes and Next Avenue.
Companies often package safety technologies as a single solution and introduce them late in the game, instead of introducing them as part of a comprehensive care plan, Alwan said in "Technology Can Help Us Age In Place, If We Let It."
As an example, Alwan addressed the author's reluctance to use a wearable emergency alert system after heel surgery. “If the physical therapist had recommended a fall-detection device that also had the capability to monitor whether you were doing your exercises right, you probably would have said yes,” he said. “We need to get in early with products that people with active lifestyles enjoy using and find engaging; products with flexible, scalable technology that can add other applications or sensors later, as needs grow and change.”
Alwan also discussed how devices such as the Amazon Echo could integrate with wearable fitness trackers. “Voice-controlled devices could give you health-related prompts to stay physically active and meet your fitness goals, maybe even share recipes or health recommendations with you and your social network.” Voice-controlled devices also could improve self-management of early onset of some chronic conditions, and activity monitors can help older adults continue to live safely at home.
Alwan recommended two resources to help find the best products: the government site AbleData and a new portfolio on safety technologies being added to the LeadingAge website this month. A LeadingAge video shows how technology can bring about quality, coordinated care.