Relatives of Older People Bear a Great Burden

Since health and the whole body becomes more and more fragile with increasing age, older people need more support – medical, and also in their everyday activities. Usually, older people prefer to stay at home as long as possible instead of moving to a nursing home, where they would have all the support they need on a daily basis. Even if they are still vital and able to manage most of the daily life activities themselves, they often need help with certain things and someone who looks after them once in a while. In many cases, the relatives, mostly the children, assist their beloved ones to enable them living in their familiar environment. Depending on the vital status of older adults, daily support can be highly demanding. Moreover, even if older people still manage to do a lot of things themselves, their younger relatives often are worried about their well-being because fragile health as well as decreasing physical and mental abilities can always provoke unexpected emergency situations. Therefore, smart assistants for older adults do not only help them as users themselves but can also relieve their relatives.

Smart Systems Detect Irregularities

Due to their own obligations or because of physical distance, many people cannot look after their older relatives every day. To make sure that everything is alright, they can only call them regularly and they often are seriously concerned when an older relative does not answer the phone, even if there is usually a plausible explanation. For this reason, AAL systems that recognize irregularities have been developed. These systems detect if an older person does not get up in morning, use the shower or toilet, open the window for airing, operate light switches, etc. If an older person does not seem to be following his or her daily routine, relatives or other contact persons are informed. This way, relatives can make sure that they learn as soon as possible that their beloved ones are in an emergency situation, not giving any vital signs. Fall detection systems fulfill the same function. With the help of different forms of sensors, depending on the model, they recognize when a person has fallen at home. Informing the relatives and/or the rescue service, they allow an appropriate reaction as soon as possible. By detecting irregularities and cases of emergency these systems provide older people living alone with security and also reassure their concerned relatives.

Smart Assistants Fill the Memory’s Gaps

Older people tend to forget several things, especially with incipient dementia. While forgetting some things is not grievous, there are certain tasks that are important to remember. Therefore, relatives can be seriously worried knowing that their beloved ones regularly forget to take their vital medicaments, do not switch off the stove after cooking or do not close the windows when leaving the house. Even if they know that their older family members do not always think of these vital things, they cannot always make sure themselves that they do remember. Therefore, in order to facilitate the daily life of solitary older people and to reassure their younger relatives, smart assistants that fill the memory gaps have been developed. There are systems which remind users to take their pills, shut off certain devices when the resident forgets and alert if a window or the door has remained open for too long.

Attention of Loved Ones Makes Happy and Healthy

A lot of older people who live alone suffer from little social interaction and feel isola. Since isolation can lead to a decrease of mental and physical health, regular visits of their loved ones can counteract and contribute to older people’s well-being. However, long distances or additional burdens like children and work only allow rare visits. Knowing that a phone call is a poor substitute and that older relatives would profit more from regular visits of their children and grandchildren, a lot of people might have a bad conscience not being able to do so. The solution can be a smart TV provided with LAN and USB port, which can be used for Skype calls. Skyping via TV is usually more comfortable for older people than using a computer for this kind of communication. Whereas older people may not be used to handling technological devices, they often know how to operate a TV. Therefore, a smart TV enables them to see their loved ones with only a few keystrokes right from the couch.

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PC Magazin: Intelligente Technik für Senioren