February 1, 2023

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The Best Technology for Aging in Place in 2023

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Sooner or later, all of us are going to grow old, and this process will look different for everyone.

Some people may have physical conditions affecting their daily lives, while others may have conditions affecting their memory, such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

Income level, living situation, and relationships may also affect the overall aging process.

Today, many older adults are incorporating tech into their lives to improve socialization, safety while living alone, and even their physical health as they age.

Here, we break down the best technology-based products for aging in place in 2023.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the term “aging in place” means “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.”

Essentially, it means staying in your home, as opposed to moving into a nursing home or assisted living facility.

Aging in place isn’t realistic for everyone. It may not a good option for people with degenerative conditions or memory issues, who would benefit from having a nurse or aid close by.

There are a few different types of technology that are helpful for aging in place. These include medical alert systems, smartwatches, and medication reminders.

Medical alert systems

A medical alert system will notify a predetermined emergency contact or emergency medical services. Some systems automatically detect issues, such as falls, and send out a message right away. With others, you have to manually press a button or take some sort of action to get help.

Smartwatches

A smartwatch or other wearable device can help people living alone, in particular. Smartwatches include features such as heart rate monitoring, fall detection, and built-in medical alert systems.

Medication reminders

For older adults who take daily medication but may have trouble remembering when to take it, a tech-based medication reminder can help. This device may look like an alarm clock, a smartphone app, or a pill dispenser.

As we looked for the best technology for aging in place, we carefully considered the ease of use for each product or service, making sure it’s simple to use for people who might not be tech savvy.

Because income can often be a concern or obstacle for aging in place, we also picked items to fit a range of budgets. We also read customer reviews to see how these products really work.

Best for emergency contacts

Apple Watch Series 7

  • Price: starts around $270
  • Features: fitness tracker, blood oxygen and ECG apps, always-on retina display, water resistant
  • Who it’s for: people with a higher risk of falling
  • Set up: connects to iPhone

The Apple Watch is now a Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved medical device. It can be particularly helpful for aging in place because it automatically detects falls. It can also detect certain types of cardiac events and immediately send help.

You’ll need an iPhone to use the Apple Watch, and this option is more expensive than comparable smartwatches. But the peace of mind and the thousands of 5-star reviews may be priceless to some.

Best for convenience

Shipt

  • Price: $10.99 per month
  • Who it’s for: people unable to grocery shop or busy caregivers
  • Features: same-day delivery, wide variety of stores to choose from, ability to request preferred shoppers
  • Set up: download mobile app

Shipt is a grocery delivery service, and it may be a great option for people who are unable to grocery shopping on their own or busy caregivers who need the time back.

Think of this service as Uber for groceries: You place an online order at your favorite grocery store, choose a delivery window, and a Shipt shopper will get the items for you and bring them to your door. You’ll then pay through the app.

Shipt reviews state that costs are slightly higher than they might be if you shopped in store. However, users appreciate the ability to communicate directly with their shopper.

Best for safety

Ring Doorbell

  • Price: $69
  • Who it’s for: people whose family members are far away
  • Features: high definition (HD) video and two-way talk, advanced motion detection, and real-time smartphone alerts, compatible with Alexa and Ring Chime, so you’ll know when someone stops by
  • Set up: get professional help with setup or go DIY

The Ring Doorbell may provide you with even more peace of mind. It allows you to see who’s at the front door or keep an eye out if you’re expecting a package delivery, even if you’re away from home.

The optional Protect Plan also offers smarter alerts, including human detection capabilities. While reviews of the doorbell itself are largely positive, users say you’ll end up paying multiple monthly subscription costs on top of the initial doorbell purchase.

Best for managing the home

Google Nest Kit

  • Price: varies
  • Who it’s for: anyone managing a home
  • Features: speakers, displays, streaming services, Wi-Fi compatibility, smoke alarm, door lock, cameras, doorbells, thermostats

With the Google Nest Kit, you can control every part of your home from a single hub. This may be a valuable option for older adults prioritizing convenience. Instead of learning half a dozen new devices, they just need to learn one.

With the kit, you can monitor thermostat functions, door locks, speakers, and more by voice or cellphone, whether you’re home or far away.

Google Nest offers three different packages: Audio Anywhere, Home Security, and Around the House. You can also pick and choose which products work best for you or your loved one.

Best for meal prep help

HelloFresh

  • Price: varies
  • Who it’s for: people who need help grocery shopping or meal planning
  • Features: choose your meal types, delivery timeline, number of meals per week
  • Set up: sign up online

HelloFresh, a meal kit delivery service, is a great option for older adults who want to cook but don’t love the fuss of grocery shopping or meal planning.

HelloFresh ships ingredients and recipes to your door each week. Plans are highly customizable and can be adjusted to fit any dietary needs. Reviews state the meals are fairly easy to prepare, but you’ll need to have the dexterity to chop ingredients.

Best for cooking safety

FireAvert

  • Price: varies
  • Who it’s for: home cooks
  • Features: 24/7 management of smoke events and stove activity, learn of hazards before they happen, execute work orders remotely, save on insurance
  • Set up: FireAlert provides an instruction video to help you set up your device

FireAvert is a cloud-based monitoring system that helps protect your home from cooking fires via automatic stove shutoff technology and cloud-based stove and smoke alarm monitoring.

Through FireAvert, you can purchase a fire safety device for an electric stove, a gas stove, or a microwave. Your stove will turn off automatically if there is a kitchen fire. There are four different products available depending on what type of smoke alarm you’re looking for. The prices start at $28.95 and go up to $79.95.

According to reviews, the device is effective, but it’s too large to fit conveniently behind the stove.

Best for accessing medical care

Secure Telehealth

  • Price: varies depending on insurance
  • Who it’s for: people who are unable to drive or who want more flexibility with doctor’s visits
  • Features: 24-hour hotline for tech help, HIPAA compliant, cyber safe

Secure Telehealth is a HIPAA-compliant video conferencing software that you can use on a Mac, PC, or mobile device. It allows you to meet with your doctors without leaving home. This service is a safe, secure way to schedule and host telehealth appointments.

According to reviews, you don’t need any specific software to use the service, and it’s user-friendly even for people who aren’t tech savvy.

Best for connecting with loved ones

Zoom

  • Price: free
  • Who it’s for: people wanting to maintain connections with family and friends
  • Features: HD video and audio, collaboration tools, chat functionality, enterprise cloud phone system
  • Set up: download app and create login

Maintain relationships with friends and family using a video conferencing service like Zoom. Sessions under 40 minutes are free for all users.

Many customers state that Zoom has become a necessity in their life, helping them stay in touch with loved ones via face-to-face video calls.

Buying for a loved one

If you’re looking to purchase technology for a loved one, have an honest conversation with them about what they actually need. Listen to their feelings and needs and give suggestions on different types of tech that may help.

Offer to set up the new technology and help them learn how to use it. If they decline, step back and allow them to figure out the device themselves.

Buying for yourself

If you’re buying tech for yourself, look for items that can support the routines and habits you already have in place. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. If you have routines that are already working, your goal should be to enhance them, not change them.

Consider asking a family member or friend to help you complete tasks such as grocery shopping or laundry. Another option is to hire an aide for a few hours each week.

If this isn’t within your budget, connect with community service organizations or government services in your area. Your county may offer free or low cost public transportation for older adults. If your home needs modifications like grab bars or a ramp, a state program may help cover the cost.

You can find resources by searching services like Eldercare Locator, the National Council on Aging, or USAging.

Many grocery stores and drugstores take orders over the phone and deliver straight to your front door. Meal delivery services can also be a great option if you’re unable to go grocery shopping.

A local senior center, place of worship, library, or other community establishments can connect you with additional resources and provide you with a place to socialize and maintain relationships.

Finally, make sure to keep up with doctor appointments and with any medications, diet changes, exercise plans, or treatments your doctors recommend. The healthier you are, the easier it will be to continue aging in place.

How do I know if I need assistance with daily activities?

You may need assistance if you have difficulty with the following activities on a daily basis: bathing or maintaining personal hygiene, dressing, eating, staying continent, and being mobile.

What does aging in place mean?

Aging in place means staying in your own home as you get older, rather than moving to a nursing home or assisted living facility. While aging in place may not be realistic for everyone, it can be a good way to retain independence into old age.

Is an aging-in-place specialist a real thing?

Yes. If you need help with aging in place, look for a certified Aging In Place specialist in your area.

This is a trained professional — often a healthcare worker or home remodeler — who has gone through the work to receive the certified Aging In Place specialist designation from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Remodelers Council.

How do I become an aging-in-place specialist?

You can become a certified Aging In Place specialist by completing the training necessary to receive this designation.

You’ll need to complete three courses: Marketing and Communication Strategies for Aging and Accessibility (CAPS I), Design/Build Solutions for Aging and Accessibility (CAPS II), and Business Management for Building Professionals.

After that, you’ll fill out the paperwork that’s necessary to complete the program. To keep up the certification, you’ll need to do at least 12 hours of industry-related education every 3 years.