What To Look For in a Wearable Senior Monitor

The best wearable senior monitors have come a long way thanks to the ongoing ‘smart’ revolution. As wearable devices become lighter and offer more features, particularly health-monitoring functions, they’ve fast become a potential alternative or supplementary upgrade for the more traditional medical jewellery.

Let’s dive into the essential need to know for the core components of today’s wearable senior monitors.

What is a wearable senior monitor?

As you might’ve guessed from the name, a wearable senior monitor is a product designed for older adults that can monitor various health factors. Also, it’s wearable, which means it can be fastened to the wrist, clipped to a belt, or worn around the neck on a lanyard.

Wrist wearables look a lot like watches, or they can even be smartwatches, some of which have advanced health-monitoring features. Depending on the wearable monitor, you may be given multiple wearable options. For instance, the LifeLive Alarm and Medi Alarm come with these three wearable configuration options, which let the user switch it up or stick with the wearable method they prefer.

In terms of what a wearable senior monitor does, the extended range of features may vary, but there are some basics to consider. Fall detection and an SOS button are key inclusions. GPS location tracking or sharing and geofencing are additional features worth having. And other advanced features include health tracking on a variety of metrics—the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, for instance, has TGA-approved electrocardiogram (ECG) monitoring—while mobile reception is also a plus.

How much do senior monitors cost?

Best smartwatch for seniors
Apple Watch SE
Starts at
$427

Price is accurate as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

Wearable senior monitors have different costs depending on the type of product and whether there are ongoing costs to factor in. For example, the Apple Watch SE (which functions a "regular" smartwatch and not just a senior-oriented device) can be bought outright from $427 for the cheaper model, but also can have ongoing fees if you buy the upgraded version with inbuilt GPS and cellular functionality. Independent functionality for a GPS and cellular smartwatch means paying for a compatible eSIM plan.

Meanwhile, the NutTAG 4G Watch is purpose-built for older adults but must be paired with a BYO SIM mobile plan to offer full functionality. Dedicated wearable alarms for older adults tend to attract an upfront cost (hundreds of dollars) and then incur ongoing costs, either weekly, monthly, or annually.

Can you get a free senior monitor from the government?

Depending on what you’re looking for in a wearable senior monitor, you may be able to get one for free. The Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) is designed to assist older adults with entry-level support services for independent (and safe) home living. Visit the CHSP website to apply for an eligibility assessment.

If you’re eligible, you may be able to receive a wearable senior monitor at a reduced cost or for free. Alternatively, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is another potential funding option for older adults after a wearable senior monitor. Speaking of insurance, it’s worth chatting to your health insurance provider about potential reimbursements for health wearables.

What features do I need in a wearable senior monitor?

The answer to that question really depends on what will provide the greatest peace of mind. Fall detection and an SOS button are great base considerations. The option to easily call or be called from the wearable is also worth considering. Where applicable, a large screen is a great inclusion but, generally, a wearable that’s easy to use is recommended.

Battery life is also a key consideration. Smartwatches may have additional health-monitoring functionality, but they may need to be recharged daily. Other wearable senior monitors can recharge in under an hour and provide days of battery life.

GPS and/or geofencing are also nice-to-have features. A wearable that includes GPS functionality can let the user notify others of their location. Geofencing allows a wearable senior monitor to notify preset contacts when it detects a person has moved outside of a defined area.

For wearable senior monitors that use a mobile network for full functionality, you should consider the network coverage of your area. The Telstra network is the largest, the Telstra wholesale network is the second largest, while Optus and Vodafone rank behind those. You can save money by opting for a Vodafone or Optus plan, but check that the coverage is available in your area.

Since most monitors only require calls, texts, and a small amount of data (if any), you can pair them with cheap SIM-only plans. The list below has popular SIM-only plans under $15 across the different mobile networks in Australia.

FAQ

Our pick of the best health-monitoring smartwatch is the Apple Watch SE. The cheaper model needs to be paired with a compatible iPhone for full functionality, but the upgraded model with GPS and cellular features can offer a lot of features without the need to pair with an iPhone.

Wearable senior monitors can include alarms, reminders, or a pedometer. There are also wearables that can monitor health metrics like heart rate and even blood pressure.
A lot of this is personal preference. Ideally, you want a wearable located where it’s easy to access. Smartwatches have smaller screens and require on-screen interaction to get the most out of them. Pendants and belt-clipped monitors may be easier to access and tend to have physical buttons.

Disclaimer

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time of publish and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the retailer’s website at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. SafeWise Australia utilises paid affiliate links.
Nathan Lawrence
Written by
Nathan Lawrence

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