Wearable Technology Can Help Preserve Health of Older Adults

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By Chris Holbert

Baby boomers are retiring in droves. Only 23.6% of Americans age 65 and older remained in the workforce by the fourth quarter of 2016 according to reports from Bloomberg. But older Americans are not ready to just sit at home and pass time on the porch. People are staying active, engaging in new hobbies, traveling to wish list destinations and living life to the fullest. 

Retirement lends people the freedom and time for activities and interests that was not possible while they were working, however, the reality is boomers bodies are aging. At 65 normal daily activities might be easy, but by their mid-70s many people start noticing problems with balance, arthritis, and a loss of strength. Tasks that used to be simple may seem more challenging and more accidents begin to occur. An active lifestyle can be hampered by the risk of falls and other health issues. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention one in four adults over age 65 falls each year. As people age they are also more likely to develop symptoms caused by diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and dementia. 

The good news is, older Americans have no reason to limit their activities or to worry that they will not be able to enjoy retirement in the comfort and security of their own homes. And, studies show that most seniors would prefer to be able to age in place versus moving to an assisted-living facility. A recent report by AARP found that 90 percent of retirees want to stay in their homes as they age. 

New technologies are enabling people to live more fulfilled, healthier lives by keeping them in touch with loved ones and emergency medical response teams should an emergency occur. Many people are already familiar with fitness wearables that track their steps and caloric burn. But as the years go by, there is another technology to consider, mPERS (mobile personal emergency response system).

While most people have smart phones with them at all times these days, they are not always the best option for reaching help if an emergency does occur. Typically, a smart phone only has enough battery life for a few days of use at best and unless a specialty application or feature is enabled on the phone, it cannot be used to locate a person easily. Finally, smart phones cannot detect if an accident like a fall occurs and if a debilitating incident does occur it can be difficult to unlock the phone, open a phone book application or dial a number in order to call for help.

 mPERS devices are not only to detect a fall, they go beyond the capabilities of a cell phone and are able to auto-dial family or a response team for help if a fall occurs. The battery life of mPERS devices is far superior to smart phones, lasting up to 30 days in sleep mode. Most devices feature an SOS button that can easily be pressed in an emergency without the need to focus on dialing numbers. People with dementia can also be put at ease that if a situation occurs where they forget where they are or how to return home, the mPERS device can be relied on to accurately provide their location to family members or a caregiver, all with a simple press of a button.

mPERS devices are not something to consider purchasing too late. They are not the outdated “senior” technology many people are familiar with, the button you wear and push if you cannot get back up. This type of technology only works inside the home and operates using a central call box in the home. If a person falls in the yard or needs navigational assistance away from the house this technology cannot be activated to call for help. On the other hand, a mPERS devices are designed to work anywhere and feature two-way speaker. They are the all-in-one solution that deliver peace of mind, improve security and quality of life for aging adults. 

When comparing mPERS devices that are available on the market today be sure to discuss with the device provider how issues like technology and security upgrades are handled. As cellular networks are updated over time from 3G to 4G or even 5G, devices will need to be upgraded to maintain ideal performance. Make sure that a provider will be making new devices available over time and that you will not be stuck with an underperforming legacy device. 

mPERS should be viewed as a tool that can enhance life, not make a person feel old and feeble. Anyone with a heart condition, or other risk factors like Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease or simply a wearing out of the body that is causing a loss of balance or lower body strength should consider investing in an mPERS device.

Chris Holbert is the CEO of SecuraTrac. As the CEO, he is responsible for leading the company’s vision of developing, marketing, and selling a suite of mobile health and safety solutions that bring families closer together and improve employee safety through state-of-the-art location-based services and mobile health technology. He is a dynamic business leader with a proven track record of building companies through the integration of business and technology.

He has served as a CEO, COO and CIO for privately held and publicly traded companies. Prior to starting SecuraTrac in 2008, Chris was the COO and CIO of LaunchPad Communications, served as the CIO for North American Scientific, Inc. and held senior consulting positions for Ernst & Young, LLP and American Management Systems, Inc.

Chris has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Theory from the University of California, Los Angeles and a Masters in Public Finance from the University of Chicago.

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