- The latest technological advances are making it easier to age in your own home
- Many health issues can be remotely monitored, rather than relying on in-home help
- Help protect your (or your parents’) accounts with customizable alert technology
There was a time when growing older meant relying on family or hired help to assist with health, cognitive and financial issues. While we may not be leading fully automated lives like the characters in futuristic movies and sci-fi novels, new technological advances are allowing many people to live independently for much longer. Whether you want to stay in your own home or have financial accounts that need monitoring, high tech is here to help.
Here are our top picks for streamlining your lifestyle.
A good first step to maintaining independence involves installing home sensors that sync to a communications network of loved ones and health professionals. Usually wireless and hidden out of sight, the sensors monitor movements to “learn” typical behaviors and alert parties to changes in daily patterns. With side benefits that include enhancing home security and monitoring appliances for safety, you may want to consider installing smart home sensors in advance and then adding updates as needed.
Unobtrusive and even attractive, medical alert watches, pendants and bracelets can send notifications if help is needed. Simply apply pressure to your “jewelry” and a call is immediately made to 911 and/or pre-programmed phone numbers of family members. Many wearables have fall-detection features to ensure others are notified even if the wearer isn’t able to press the button.
Remembering to take pills can be a challenge for anyone — not just the elderly. Medication reminder stations equipped with an alert or flashing light provide a tray inside the device where the pills rotate into position. Simply pull the handle forward and the medication is dispensed, after which the notification turns off.
Seniors lose $36.4 billion each year to financial abuse, according to the True Link Financial’s Report on Elder Financial Abuse (2015). Consider downloading mobile banking apps so you can easily monitor account activity from your phone. Setting up text alerts with your bank to be notified of large deposits or withdrawals is another option. Signing up for online bill pay through your bank will cut back or eliminate the amount of secure information being passed through snail mail, which can be especially vulnerable to fraudsters.
AFL’s JoAnne Reilly
My firm, Ameriprise, has deployed around-the-clock, increasingly sophisticated prevention and detection techniques to identify and stop security breaches. These include monitoring threat intelligence services, maintaining contact with local and federal law enforcement, and using third-party testers to make sure both internal and external environments are secure. Your advisor is an integral part of the monitoring process and can talk with you if you have particular concerns.
That said, if you’d like to participate yourself, you may wish to sign up for text and email alerts. Clients registered for the secure site on ameriprise.com can enroll in the “Text Alerts Set Up” section under “My Profile” in the “Personal Info” tab.