As people get older, they may find it difficult to face losing autonomy due to health concerns and other issues. Their friends and families worry about them living alone – and considering the dangers that older people can face from falls and other medical issues, those fears are understandable. Fortunately, there’s a happy medium now in wearable technology for the elderly.
New wearable sensors are making it possible for seniors to maintain their independence and autonomy while also giving them and their loved ones some peace of mind.
What Is Wearable Technology?
Simply put, wearable technology is any piece of technology that you can wear on your body. Examples of wearable technology might include shoes, belts, rings, watches, and other items.
Many of the options in wearable technology are surprisingly fashionable. You might expect them not to be, but as electronics have become smaller the possibility of creating sleek and wearable garments and accessories has become a reality.
Another way to look at wearable technology is to view it as the perfect marriage of fashion and technology. In fact, the theme of 2016’s Met Gala in New York was “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Celebrities attended wearing fashions that incorporated technology in a variety of ways. One of the most stunning ensembles of the evening was designed by Zac Posen and worn by actress Claire Danes. The dress appeared to be sky blue under bright light, but in the dark it was revealed to be made of fiber optic LED fabric that glowed like the night sky.
Of course, some wearable technology is mostly decorative, like Posen’s dress, while other options combine fashion and function.
What are the Benefits of Wearable Sensors for Elderly People?
The benefits of wearable sensors for elderly people are clear. They allow older people to balance their need for autonomy with protecting themselves in the event that they need help. And because technology has advanced, they can be fashionable while doing it.
Wearable sensors can do everything from monitoring heartbeats, respiration, and sleep patterns to helping people who are vision impaired avoid obstacles in their paths. They can also be connected to Wi-Fi or Bluetooth technology, allowing the easy transmission of biometric information to caregivers and family members.
What might amaze you about the wearable technology for the elderly that’s available today is that it is so sleek that you have probably seen people on the streets of London wearing it without even realizing what it was.
That’s helpful because for some older people, the thought of losing dignity by wearing a clunky monitor is not an appealing one. The new items available are far more unobtrusive than such sensors were in the past – and that means that it may be relatively easy to convince your loved one to wear one.
Examples of Wearable Technology for Elderly People
To give you an idea of how fashionable and functional wearable technology can be, let’s look at a few examples.
The NFC Smart Ring from Ringly has a sleek black design that belies its multiple functions. This ring operates in conjunction with a smart phone, keeping personal information (such as payment information or unlocking technology) on the underside of the ring and the things that need to be easily accessible, like your email address, in the top.
The ring itself never needs to be charged, making it ideal in the event the person wearing it is unable to reach their smart phone. Communication with the ring is simple, requiring only a whisper.
If you want a piece of wearable technology to track your activities during the day and your sleep at night, the Misfit Shine Fitness + Sleep Monitor can help. The technology in this band, which looks like a high-end watch and can be worn on the wrist, shoe, bra, or even around the neck, goes beyond a simple step counter. It can track any physical activity and also keep track of your sleep cycles.
The Misfit Shine has a sleek black band and a gold-toned face. It can be worn with almost any outfit from casual to dressy.
Monitoring your heart rate can be important both as a measure of fitness and as a way of alerting you to potential problems. The Jawbone UP2 Teal Cross Heart Rate Activity and Sleep Tracker keeps track of your average heartbeat throughout the day.
At night, this device transforms into a sleep monitor. It monitors REM, light, and deep sleep, and it also includes a silent alarm that will wake you silently at the ideal place in your sleep cycle.
As both technology and fashion continue to evolve, you can expect to see more products with wearable technology for elderly people. These products can provide peace of mind and real-time monitoring while also making a fashionable addition to anybody’s wardrobe.