Technology helps seniors feel more independent

Technology helps seniors feel more independent


The challenges of aging in place may become increasingly difficult without some assistance, especially if you are an aging “adapter” who wants to remain independent in your home. But smart home technologies can help eliminate loneliness, isolation and safety issues.

You may already use or be in need of a motor scooter, standing wheelchair, communication device, safety fence, ramps, bathroom modifications, iPads, smartphone or automatic door opener/locks.

There are many other smart home technologies that can help retain independence. Here are some devices you may have heard about that are easy to use:

Ring lets you see who is at your door without having to physically go to the door — particularly helpful when mobility is an issue, but also provides an element of safety.

Google Nest can set a thermometer, turn lights on and off, control motion detectors, and lock and unlock doors.

Amazon Echo lets you listen to music, news and weather reports, and make phone calls.

Security camera systems have many uses, including to monitor a home when you’re away at work or on vacation. They also can be helpful in situations where an adult is having frequent falls or other safety concerns.

Also consider fall sensors, pill reminders and dispensers, appliance alarms and shopping list managers. All can help create a safe environment, keep people in touch with loved ones, get help when needed and notify emergency responders if necessary.

With technology, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. You can start with just one piece of technology. Learning how to integrate that one thing may empower you to add other items, but at the very least it will help to achieve a better quality of daily living and independence.

These “assistive technologies” can be costly. If you need financial aid, Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation may be able to help with a low-interest loan. PATF provides loans to Pennsylvanians regardless of age, income or ability level. More than 345 Pennsylvanians with disabilities received PATF loans for assistive technology last year, totaling $2.4 million. Another 1,300 residents received counseling from PATF to find other funding resources, like grants and reuse programs. PATF has provided funding to help people with disabilities of all ages live more independently.

For information about assistive technology or funding, click here or visit or call PATF at 888-744-1938.

Click to learn about Home Health or In-Home Services available through Allied Services click here. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: MaryLou Knabel is Vice President, In-Home and Home Health, for Allied Services, and a board member of the Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation and NeighborWorks Northeastern PA.