Gadgets that help seniors stay independent
With retirement lasting 20 or even 30 years these days, high-tech devices can streamline the job of checking in on an older relative -- and help a parent or grandparent retain their independence.
According to a study conducted by the Knowledge Network in 2007, older adults and family caregivers are willing to use, and learn about, these new technologies as they age -- but both groups are concerned about the costs associated with these devices. Below, find a sampling of products in a variety of price ranges.
And for more high-tech devices, check out these gadgets featured on the AARP's website. For more caregiver resources, visit www.aarp.org/caregiving
Please note that NBC News does not endorse the use of any of the following products.
BeClose wireless monitoring system
The BeClose home monitoring system includes motion sensors and a panic button. And a bed sensor allows caregivers to monitor movement and sleep patterns. A package that includes a base station and three sensors costs $299 and the 24/7 monitoring service is $49 a month. Learn more at http://beclose.com/
Aside from BeClose there are several other kinds of monitoring systems out there including Medical Alert, GrandCare, Care Innovations, HealthSense, Sonamba and Y-Cam. Another company, Medtronic, offers a remote pacemaker monitoring device.
Telekin.com provides an easy way to keep in touch with family and friends. The all-in-one computer features a large-print keyboard, video chat, free updates and a DVD/CD player for $699. For seniors who have trouble accessing email, a company called PawPawMail simplifies the process with large icons, a high-contrast interface and spam filters.
Epill medication reminder
Epill.com offers a variety of devices that help people remember to take their medication ranging in price from a $24.95 weekly pillbox that has four daily alarms to a $789.95 automatic pill dispenser. Learn more at http://www.epill.com
These shoes -- available in a variety of styles and designs -- use GPS technology embedded in the base of the right heel. It sends a signal to a central monitoring station that provides location information on a website, acting as a tracking device designed for people with Alzheimer's. Each pair costs $299.99 plus the cost of any additional monthly service tracking plans which range in price from $34.99 to $39.99. Learn more at http://www.gpsshoe.com/ and to check out other kinds of GPS tracking devices, visit ecaregps.com
This easy-to-use cell phone with large numbers, a long-lasting battery and a loud speaker retails for $99. The phone uses GreatCall's wireless service and features medical apps displayed on a big bright screen, as well as an urgent response service. There are no contracts or cancellation fees and nationwide coverage plans start at $14.99 a month. For more information visit http://www.greatcall.com/
BeClose™ is a breakthrough remote home monitoring system designed to allow people to age in place independently while giving their family members and caregivers the peace of mind of knowing that they're safe. The system of wireless sensors is fully customizable and tech - friendly. The system is based on a research and development partnership with Alarm.com, the nation's leading in-home wireless monitoring system, serving more than 400,000 homes and businesses nationwide. By leveraging the patented alarm.com technology platform, BeClose can scale usage on a proven system that processes more than 25 Million security and safety events every month. BeClose headquarters are outside of Washington, DC. For more information, visit www.beclose.com
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