Age gracefully at home
BRADENTON BEACH – Senior Adventures members got some tips recently on how to age in place, or avoid having to leave home for an assisted living facility or nursing home.
Both high technology and simple methods have made it easier for people to remain independent as they age, said Elizabeth McCloskey, an occupational therapy master’s degree candidate who spoke to the group at Annie Silver Community Center.
On the high-tech side, some doctors now offer telecare, using Skype or other two-way Internet connections for patients who can’t travel to the doctor’s office, she said.
Some new stoves have sensors to turn themselves off if chefs forget. Pill boxes light up and sound an alarm when it’s time to take a pill. A smart shoe tells you if you’re going off balance to help keep you from falling. Light switches that control lights all over the house from one place keep you from having to walk into a dark room. Retailers offer online shopping for those who can’t get to the store. Computer programs like Dragon, and other software built into some new computers, allow you to talk to a computer without having to type, good for people with arthritis or vision issues to check e-mail and surf the Web.
Low tech methods include taking photographs of each of your daily pills and copying them onto a sheet of paper, one for each day of the week, then crossing them off as you take them to avoid missing pills or taking too many.
Caregivers have some low tech options, too, like attending a caregiver support group or visiting a caregiver Website, like www.caregiving.com, and some high tech choices, including installing video monitoring systems at a loved one’s home, so they can check in by computer.
For more information, McCloskey recommends a $10 paperback, "The Senior Sleuth's Guide to Technology for Seniors,” and invites questions at 941-224-9653, or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.