One of the hottest trends in technology last year has been the Quantified Self, and wearable tech to track your daily lives. You can monitor your caloric intake and expenditure, steps walked, how well you sleep, and even compare your results to friends. In the care industry, a lot of these apps and tech have been investigated for use in caregiving. Here’s what you can monitor, from an app on your own phone (or desktop):
- Track amount of movement (i.e. steps walked) each day
- See sleeping patterns (including restlessness)
- A record of food and drink intake*
- Medications taken*
- GPS track (if wandering walks are a concern)
*Requires manual input from user, which isn’t ideal for many seniors.
The main problems with the current market offerings are 1) many seniors (and some carers!) are allergic to technology; and 2) not all systems do everything. For example, the FitBit is arguably the best activity and sleep tracker – but does not offer much else. My Fitness Pal is an excellent site that you can view your loved one’s activity on, but requires manual entry.
There have been some developments in senior-specific tech, but thus far the prices are generally prohibitive. Yet, we remain hopeful for advancements and a competitive market to make caring easier and better.