Innovative Products for Aging Seniors and their Caregivers

Sub-Title: 
(Part 1 of a 3 Part series)
Source: 
ECareDiary.com
Published: 
01/16/2010

A broad range of innovations for seniors were debuted at last week’s Consumer Electronics Show(CES) in Las Vegas, from automatic fall detection devices and brain exercise software to iPhone applications and new health websites. Without question, cutting edge technology for seniors is emerging quickly and becoming more user-friendly.

This being my first time at CES, I came away amazed and overwhelmed after 3 days of walking through 3 major exhibit halls that each seemed larger than football stadiums. With over 2,500 exhibitors and over 125,000 attendees, this was a candy store moment for the techie in all of us.

This conference was so vast that I am addressing it in 3 parts beginning with this post. Part 2 of this series will address lifestyle technologies for boomers and seniors and in Part 3, I will write about the Silver Summit, a conference on aging and technology that took place during CES.

Since eCare Diary is dedicated to seniors and caregivers, I will focus this review on new technologies relevant to managing care for aging loved ones.

1) Wellcore’s new Personal Emergency Response System is a new lightweight, wearable, and wireless clip-on device that monitors movement, especially a fall. If your parent or loved one falls, an email or SMS text message will alert you immediately without their having to push a button triggering the added step of an operator making a phone call. The base unit with one clip-on device retails for $199 along with a monthly service fee of $49. An additional clip-on is $99. The product will be available for purchase in March. For information, visit www.wellcore.com.

2) CloseBy Network and GrandCare Systems are 2 home monitoring systems that enable families and caregivers to keep track of aging loved ones living independently. They offer home automation through sensors, online or text communication and software to monitor and assess general health. They are sold through dealers. The GrandCare System retails for $7,995 with monthly service fees; www.grandcare.com. For pricing on CloseBy Network, visit www.CloseByNetwork.com.

3) Dakim Brain Fitness is a fun and challenging brain training system that helps seniors combat dementia. Their system is supported by research published in numerous medical journals stating that frequent participation in cognitive activities substantially reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s/dementia. Dakim has been around since 2002 mostly in senior living facilities and is now offering their software program to consumers at a retail price of $499 plus monthly service fees. They also sell a laptop style unit including the software for $2,299 plus $19.95 a month. www.dakim.com

4) Jitterbug Cell Phone – Jitterbug has been around since 2006 offering a simplified cell phone with larger buttons and bigger numbers for seniors and baby boomers. In partnership with Samsung, they just launched Jitterbug J, an enhanced version with a package of new services including LiveNurseTM which gives customers 24/7 access to a live registered nurse. They have a 30-day return policy and their plans start at $14.99 a month. For information, visit www.jitterbug.com.

5) EasyHealthMD.com – is an online medical plan provider. You can connect to an expert physician 24/7 and have a live video consultation online or through video phones. According to their brochure, “No more lines. No more unnecessary trips to the clinic. EasyHealthMD.com simplifies healthcare.” They offer 3 different plans dependent on your healthcare needs; the one discussed with me was a monthly plan at $29.99 that covers unlimited consultation for 1 month for 2 individuals in the same household. www.EasyHealthMD.com

6) Dr. Marion’s iPhone Apps - Dr. Marion Somers, a gerontologist known for her caregiving tips both on her website www.DrMarion.com and her book Elder Care Made Easier, has launched new iPhone apps called Elder 411 and Elder 911. Elder 411 offers on-the -spot caregiving tips on a full spectrum of issues, while Elder 911 is specifically for emergency situations like a fall or sudden illness to help caregivers navigate the complexities of a crisis situation. Elder 411 is available from the iTunes App Store for $1.99, with Elder 911 available as a $0.99 download.

7) TabSafe is a medication dispensing device that promotes medication adherence. It provides reminders and alerts if medications are not taken. The modular design allows expansion of unit and multi-dose cartridges. The device feeds information on medication adherence to reports that can be retrieved online. www.tabsafe.com

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