How the Internet of Things Can Help Seniors

Arwin Wang
Arwin Wang

The internet can help seniors as much if not more than it helps us. We, as a society, have begun spending more of our lives connected to the internet in ways that we could have never even imagined a decade ago. What once used to be a scientific breakthrough has become an integral part of our lives. The internet, as we know it, has been classified as a utility in various countries around the world.
Wireless access to the internet is not limited to our smartphones, laptops or tablets anymore, as a matter of fact; it has expanded towards our regular daily use household appliances, which have made our lifestyle a lot easier.

The cost of the internet has decreased since it first became available in the early 2000s, this decrease has led towards the skyrocketing development of the ‘Internet of Things’ or IoT.  Internet of things is a concept of connecting any device with an on and off mechanism, to the internet. It is designed to make our lives more feasible by making our everyday chores wireless and therefore, almost effortless. This scientific advancement has led to the creation of smart home appliances, which aims to make our lives better; this is very helpful, especially for our senior citizens and the elderly’s.

An Alexa is an example of virtual assistant that's great for seniors. Just be sure to get them wifi. Then all they need to do is ask her for the weather, news, stocks, or anything else

Virtual Assistants

Virtual Assistants like Google Assistant, Alexa, and Siri have become a tool in our vast array of internet connecting objects. Google Assistant has allowed people of all ages to easily place orders through Amazon and have them shipped to their homes using only their voice. As some individuals are no longer fit to operate vehicles or have a tough time dealing with the crowds at supermarkets, often getting the items you need can be a hassle; because of the Google Assistant, you can order everything from groceries, books and medication all with the power of your voice. It has been tried and tested to work with multiple smart products. It cannot only turn on and off your lights but also call for you and make reservations at fancy restaurants.

Smart Canes

Smart Canes are the latest technological advancement in the field of engineering. It allows the visually impaired and older adults to walk properly. The Smart Cane connects to the internet, and the application on your phone navigates the pathway easily. It detects any distant objects or a person walking, from a safe distance and lets the person holding the cane, know.  It also helps you in finding the cane, if an older person with deteriorating memory forgets where he put it the last time.

Smart watches like the Apple Watch can monitor heart health and watch for dangerous falls. Just be sure to keep it charged and get the cellular model if your older loved on doesn't have wi-fi.

Smart Watches

A typical everyday item, which has received tons of attention recently is the smartwatch. With their built-in heart monitoring functionalities, what was once marketed as a fitness tracking device for young people at the gym, has been recently adopted by the elderly. Their FDA approved EKG monitor measures your heart's electrical pulses. EKGs or electrocardiograms are used in hospitals to diagnose abnormal heart rhythms, which could lead to life-threatening conditions, including heart attacks and strokes. All of this technology is incorporated into a watch and being mounted on your wrist is a huge step forward in healthcare and interconnecting everyday devices with the internet.
Another feature, which may be integral to their users is fall detection. As most injuries to senior citizens happen while doing mundane things around the house, the smart watch’s sensors pick up irregular movements, which may have been caused by a hard fall. The watch then goes ahead and triggers an alarm, which if not deactivated goes and alerts authorities about your whereabouts.

Online courses can be a great way to keep seniors learning new things even during shelter in place.

Online Schooling and Business

From schools like Harvard and MIT to the smaller ones in cities and towns, online schooling has become a staple of the education industry. Due to the ergonomics of laptops and their versatility, they have allowed people from all walks of life to complete their higher education degrees or go back to school for the education they missed in their youth. And at the same time, online business has become a new way of running a successful business these days. With complete access to each and everything such as video conferences, online banking, available software, online money transfer, emails, and voice calls, anyone can sit at home and run their business. Even the elderly who are nearing the age of retirement can work from home; with just the internet and access to a laptop.

Smart Locks

Smart locks are one of the best examples of the ‘Internet of Things,’ with their smart looking design and modern technology, smart locks and home automation are a big hit in the market right now. It is an internet-connected device, which allows the homeowners to give access to third-party individuals entering their house by providing them with a virtual key, which means no more getting up repeatedly to answer the door. It is useful for the seniors, as a walk to the door can be pretty long for them.  

Hence we can see how the ‘Internet of Things’ can help us in our day to day tasks, with everything automated these days; children can make the lives of their old parents so easy by just getting them the internet and teaching them how easy it can make their lives. Technology, along with the internet is a blessing that we all should use to the fullest and teach others to make their lives easier and better as each day passes.  It's a conduit which will outlast us all and will forever be here after we die. The internet of things is the next evolution of the world wide web; it gives us a dynamic input in the virtual world of 0s and 1s.