Growing old isn’t what it used to be. Thanks to modern science and technology, people are living longer than ever before — and smart wearable tech is strengthening that trend.
Senior wearables can make life easier for both wearers and caregivers. These advanced models of healthcare technology go beyond basic step trackers — they can monitor daily activities, send alerts, and even prevent falls.
If you have an aging friend or family member, you understand the importance of ensuring both their safety and comfort. Here are five new and upcoming wearables that can help improve your loved one’s quality of life and give you some peace of mind.
Currently Available Wearables:
1. Lechal Insoles
Owned by the India-based company Ducere, Lechal offers a line of smart shoe inserts to help visually impaired wearers more easily navigate the world at large. These smart insoles provide directional assistance in the form of gentle vibrations and phone notifications, giving seniors a greater degree of independence. The associated app also allows for location sharing, letting you keep tabs on your loved one no matter where they are.
List price: $159.99
2. Withings Pulse Ox
The Withings Pulse Ox is a great wearable for seniors who value their autonomy. This dynamic fitness tracker can monitor users’ activity status, heart rate, blood oxygen levels, and sleep quality. Because the Pulse Ox works with its companion app via Bluetooth, the tracker isn’t optimized for sharing data with caregivers — however, it does give its wearer more control over their own health and fitness. As long as the user gets into the habit of monitoring their personal statistics and vitals, it’ll be easy for them to recognize potentially hazardous deviations, like an abnormally low oximetry reading.
List price: $99.95
3. CarePredict Tempo
Unlike a lot of senior care products on the market, the CarePredict Tempo monitors the wearer rather than the surrounding environment. Worn as a wristband, this sophisticated sensor monitors motion, sleep, location, personal care, and daily activities. After learning the routine patterns in the senior wearer’s life, Tempo can alert family and caregivers whenever there’s a change in normal behavior. Additionally, Tempo was designed to be easy for seniors to use — it charges without a cord and features a helpful call button that can be used to summon assistance.
The Tempo is currently slated for global release to care facilities later this year, and should be directly available to U.S. consumers in early 2017.
4. Active Protective
Even small falls can be fatal for a senior — Dr. Robert F. Buckman saw this firsthand as Director of Trauma at St. Mary’s. There he recognized one of the most solvable healthcare crises facing hospitals worldwide: hip fractures in elderly patients. He invented Active Protective — a belt that deploys airbags over the hips when its wearer falls — as a way to reduce those painful hip injuries. The device’s 3D sensors can detect a fall as it’s happening, automatically deploying airbags within a fraction of a second.
Active Protective is undergoing final design adjustments but doesn’t yet have a firm release date.
5. GreatCall Lively
GreatCall’s sleek Lively — which doubles as a watch and pendant — was created to be a care device that seniors would want to wear. The wearable is waterproof and easy to use, and the long-lasting battery allows for up to 6 months of continuous use. Lively also comes with a monthly monitoring package, in case you can’t be available to keep an eye on the wearer 24/7. The urgent response button on the device connects the user directly to a 5Star agent who can take appropriate action based on the situation — whether that’s contacting an emergency medical team or giving family members a call.
GreatCall recently announced that the watch should be available for purchase midway through 2016.
Wearable technology is becoming an ever more important element of daily life — for the elderly as much as for anyone else. Start investing in health and accessibility wearables today to help ensure that the senior you love stays safe and happy, even when you can’t be with them.