Assistive Technology Makes Great Gifts For Grandparents

Assistive technology is a recent term referring to a wide range of devices, tools, software programs and services that help individuals enhance their capabilities, from young people with autistic challenges to workers on the job, to seniors leading more independent lives who want to get older more gracefully

Assistive enhancement is especially important for seniors as they get increasingly frail. From physical robot companions to the disembodied Alexa and Siri helpers, and from wearable devices such as a medical alert smartwatch or hearing aid, to a smart wheelchair or an entire smart-home makeover, technology designed to interact with humans to make their lives easier is a booming field.

And the great news is that a lot of this technology is packaged in small, affordable gadgets that are begging to be made into gifts for loved ones. Here are some ideas for your grandparents.

Assistive Technology for Seniors

For seniors, a little help can be a lifeline, allowing them to maintain their independence, stay connected with loved ones, and navigate their homes and communities safely. The technology, both low and high, available for seniors can be broadly categorized into the following areas.

  • Communication aids ─ Devices such as smartphones or tablets, along with specialized communication apps, can help seniors stay connected with family and friends, as well as access information and services online.
  • Mobility and transportation aids ─ These include mobility scooters, wheelchairs, stairlifts and vehicle modifications to make transportation more accessible.
  • Home adaptations ─ Home modifications like grab bars, ramps, and smart home systems can enhance safety and convenience within the home environment.
  • Personal care and health ─ Products such as medication management apps, wearable health monitors, and medical alert systems help seniors manage their health more effectively.
  • Vision and hearing aids ─ These traditional devices are getting smarter by the minute, with multiple smart features being incorporated into these miniature devices. Hearing aids, vision magnifiers, and voice-activated devices can assist seniors with visual and hearing impairments.
  • Daily living aids ─ Tools such as reach extenders, dressing aids, and adaptive kitchen utensils make it easier for seniors to perform daily tasks independently.


Affordable Gifts

  • Large-button phones ─ These phones have oversized buttons and simplified menus, making them ideal for seniors with visual or dexterity challenges. Some models also feature amplified sound for those with hearing difficulties.
  • E-readers ─ Lightweight e-readers with adjustable font sizes and built-in lighting offer a comfortable reading experience for seniors who enjoy books but struggle with traditional printed text.
  • Smart speaker ─ Voice-activated smart speakers like Amazon Echo or Google Home can help seniors control their home environment, play music, set reminders, and access information using natural language commands.
  • Tablet stand and stylus ─A tablet stand and stylus can make using touchscreen devices more accessible for seniors, allowing them to browse the internet, read e-books, or play games more comfortably.
  • Medication management apps ─ Apps like Medisafe and PillPack can help seniors keep track of their medications, set reminders, and even arrange for prescription deliveries, reducing the risk of missed doses.


Pricier Gifts

  • Wearable health monitor ─ Devices like the Apple Watch and Fitbit offer features like heart rate monitoring, fall detection, and activity tracking, helping seniors stay on top of their health and wellness.
  • Voice-controlled home automation ─ Smart home systems that can be controlled with voice commands can make daily tasks easier for seniors, from adjusting the thermostat to turning on lights.
  • Hearing aids ─ High-quality hearing aids with noise-canceling features and customizable settings can greatly improve the quality of life for seniors with hearing impairments.
  • Mobility aids ─ Invest in a mobility scooter or a lightweight wheelchair to enable your grandparents to move around more freely both inside and outside their home.
  • Personal emergency response system (PERS) ─ A PERS device connects seniors to emergency services with the press of a button, providing peace of mind for both seniors and their loved ones.
  • Companion robot ─ Advanced companion robots can provide companionship, assist with tasks, and monitor a senior’s health, helping them maintain a higher level of independence. They vary in complexity and range widely in cost.


Larger Investments for Aging in Place

  • Home remodeling ─ If your grandparents plan to age in place, consider investing in home modifications such as widening doorways, installing ramps, and adding grab bars in the bathroom. These changes can enhance safety and accessibility.
  • Stairlift ─ Stairlifts can be installed on staircases to help seniors navigate multiple levels of their home with ease, eliminating the need for potentially risky climbing.
  • Home elevator ─ For multi-story homes, installing a home elevator can be a significant investment, but it provides unmatched convenience and accessibility for seniors with mobility challenges.
  • Smart home system ─ Comprehensive smart home systems can integrate various features like security, lighting, heating, and even health monitoring into one easy-to-use platform, allowing seniors to control their environment effortlessly.
  • Telehealth services ─ Telehealth services offer seniors the convenience of remote medical consultations and monitoring. They enable healthcare professionals to assess and address health concerns without the need for in-person visits. This technology is particularly valuable for seniors who may have limited mobility or live in remote areas, ensuring they receive timely medical attention and advice from the comfort of their homes.
  • Emergency alert systems ─ Emergency alert systems are crucial for seniors’ safety. These systems include wearable devices or home-based units that can be activated in emergencies. They instantly connect seniors to emergency services, allowing rapid response in cases of falls, accidents, or health crises. Such systems provide peace of mind for both seniors and their families, ensuring prompt assistance when needed.
  • Digital assistants with health features ─ Digital assistants like Amazon Echo or Google Home can do more than just control smart homes. They can integrate with health monitoring applications, helping seniors manage their health effectively. These devices can provide medication reminders, track vital signs, and even offer information about specific health conditions. This integration enhances seniors’ ability to stay on top of their health and wellness in a user-friendly manner.
  • Community resources ─ Seniors should be aware of the various community resources available to support their well-being. Local senior centers, support groups, and organizations can provide social engagement, mental health support, and access to valuable services. These resources foster a sense of community and offer opportunities for seniors to connect with peers and receive assistance tailored to their unique needs.

End Note

In conclusion, assistive technology presents a wealth of opportunities to enhance the lives of seniors, offering them increased independence, safety, and convenience. From communication aids to mobility devices, and from health monitoring to smart home systems, there is a broad spectrum of options tailored to meet the diverse needs of seniors.