Incredible New Technologies
for Caregivers and Families:
Our Report from CES 2011

This article also appeared in the Beverly Hills Courier, January 2011.

Attendees at the recent Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas noted an increase in the number of products offered to seniors, caregivers and families for increased safety, connectivity and peace of mind. This is an encouraging development for our seniors. Here are just a few examples we’d like to share. 

E-Readers & Tablets should become a huge success with seniors due to the large screen, resolution, and the ability to magnify fonts. Kindle, Nook and iPad from Apple are being joined in the category by Sony and Velocity, among others.

Emergency Response Medical Alert Systems, such as Wellcore’s Personal Emergency Response System (PERS), are wearable and automatically detect falls. Wellcore’s device also sends out reminders if not being worn and keeps loved ones informed.

The pricey but simpler new generation of Digital Picture Frames from Kodak allows friends and relatives to email pictures directly to the frames, bypassing downloads.

The Wellbeing Monitoring Systems category now includes Sonamba, the equivalent of a Swiss Army Knife for independent seniors. It sends wellbeing status alerts to caregivers, includes a PERS, offers medication reminders, provides social communications and games, has a user-friendly touchscreen, and built-in cellular connectivity.

When it comes to Brain Fitness, we recommend DAKIM for well-designed, easy-to-use software or with a plug-and-play touchscreen. They also have products for loved ones suffering memory loss.

Finally, there are a growing number of free and inexpensive Smartphone Apps available through the iPhone, Android or Blackberry. Here are two that have gotten good reviews and serve very specific purposes:

Remember, seniors may resist change one moment and embrace it the next. Don’t be afraid to try new technology. We’re sure to be seeing seniors using tablets and devices in the near future in ever-increasing numbers—making life safer, easier, and more satisfying.

Jack C. Merrick is the co-owner and co-executive director of Good Company Senior Care, an independent, in-home caregiver service with offices in Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties.