Maybe it’s getting a little more difficult to run the vacuum or uncork a bottle of your favorite wine, but every day, developers are working to make tasks easier, life safer and just a little more fun for seniors. Here are seven gadgets that can enable seniors to be independent and active for longer.
1. 5 Star Responder
Remember, as a kid, when we were told to use the buddy system? As older adults, we can’t always rely on a buddy to be nearby. The 5Star Responder is an electronic buddy, a small unit, like a cell phone, that clips on to your belt or pocket, a keychain, or backpack, and uses GPS technology to locate and connect you with a certified 5Star Agent at any time. With the push of a button, you’ll reach an agent who will identify and locate you, assess your situation, conference in a family member or friend, send help if necessary, connect you with a live, registered nurse or contact 9-1-1, in an emergency. With a 5-second hold of the button, you can also bypass the agent and connect directly with 9-1-1.
Other features include the ability to program personal details including emergency contacts, doctors and medical conditions. The service, available in 100 languages, is $14.99 a month with no contract or cancellation fee, and a one-time activation fee, discounted if you activate online. First month is free for Amazon customers.
2. Hands-Free Vacuum
Some of the high-end vacuum cleaners these days are lightweight and deft, but still require you to push them. The iRobot is a smart, self-guided vacuum cleaner–no need to push! As it scoots around the house, the iRobot’s improved fine-filtration system traps dust, pollen, crumbs, pet hair and dirt, automatically adjusting from carpet to tile, linoleum and rugs. Armed with an anti-tangle technology, the unit will reverse when it encounters rug fringe or cords, and the built-in cliff sensors ensure that it won’t tumble down stairs or off other steep drop-offs. Return it to the Home Base dock when the job is done for a re-charge, or when the battery is low.
Smart is not an overstatement. The iRobot scans a room before getting started, taking in the dimensions, obstacles and dirty spots. The user can set up virtual walls if an area of the house is off limits. Then with just a quick push of a button, the self-navigated sweeper is on the job.
3. Automatic Pill Dispenser
There are many automatic pill dispensers on the market today, some as much as $800. But not all tech gadgets need to carry a high price tag to be effective. The Med-E-Lert Automatic Pill Dispenser comes in around $40 on Amazon.
Some of the main features of the Med-E-Lert Automatic Pill Dispenser include a large capacity of one week’s supply of pills up to four times a day, 28 compartments that hold up to 18 Aspirin-sized pills and a long duration buzzer that persists until the pills are removed.
4. Large Print Keyboard
Featuring bright yellow keys and black letters, a large-print keyboard is ideal for people with visual impairment or low vision, or for folks working in low-light situations. The Keys U See Large Print Keyboard offers the largest typeface available on a full-sized keyboard, making computer use easier. Plus, it maintains the standard 104-key layout, so there’s no need to re-learn how to type, and hot keys jump you directly to search commands, the Internet or email functions.
5. Digital Handheld Emergency Alert Radio
The state of today’s world can make anyone anxious, and feeling cut-off from emergency news and alerts heightens that sense of anxiety. A digital handheld emergency alert radio is a small, useful tool to include in an emergency preparedness toolkit. Made by Oregon Scientific, the WR202 Digital Emergency Radio includes an alert function directly from the National Weather Service that issues Imminent Weather or Civil Emergency warnings in your area. A hand crank and solar panel provide alternate energy to keep the LED flashlight, siren and radio powered up. The handy unit also includes a USB-compatible cell phone charging port.
6. Electronic Corkscrew
Physical limitation shouldn’t keep you from enjoying a good glass of wine with a fine meal. An electric corkscrew makes uncorking a bottle quick and easy. Designed to fit all traditional wine bottles, the Oster Electronic Bottle Opener includes a foil cutter and a simple one-button operation to gradually remove the cork. The cordless corkscrew is lightweight and ergonomically designed to be comfortable to handle. It rests in a charging base when not in use and comes in three colors to jazz up your kitchen space.
7. Hands-Free Game Console
Difficulty holding onto a controller or manipulating buttons may take the fun out of gaming. With a hands-free system, seniors can join the action without having to work a small controller. The Kinect by Microsoft gets you up and moving, whether you’re playing a game of golf, tennis or learning a new low-impact fitness routine in your living room. The system works off the Xbox platform, directly out of the box. No difficult programming or wiring necessary.