Managing Chronic Conditions at Home: The Role of Smart Tech for Seniors

Author

ComForCare Home Care

For more information about the author, click to view their website: ComForCare Home Care - North Colorado Springs

Posted on

Nov 02, 2023

Book/Edition

Colorado - Colorado Springs

Chronic diseases—like arthritis, diabetes, dementia, and heart disease—affect seniors at an increasingly high rate. According to the National Council on Aging, almost 95% of adults over 65 are living with at least one chronic health condition. Nearly 80% live with two or more. Because these illnesses each come with their own special safety and wellness concerns, many people worry that their loved ones won’t be able to continue living at home in old age. 

But if your loved one has a chronic condition, new technologies are making it easier and safer than ever before for them to age in place while managing—and even optimizing—their health. Whether used alone or as an integral part of an in-home care service, smart technology is shaping the future of elder care for the better.

5 Ways Smart Technology Can Help Seniors Manage Chronic Conditions at Home

Adaptive Smart Home Equipment

Smart home technology isn’t only good for asking a virtual assistant how many ounces are in a cup (although that is a handy feature!). Smart devices can make homes safer for older people in a wide variety of ways, from home security to controlling the comfort of their environments.

Voice Assistants

Voice assistants can help seniors stay current with the news, make shopping lists, order groceries, and more. They can also be paired with other devices, making it easy for seniors to open doors, operate the lights, and do other tasks with a simple voice command. This is especially helpful for those with arthritis, limited mobility, or vision impairments!

For example, voice assistants can be programmed to automatically keep the thermostat at the ideal temperature to manage arthritis. They can also automatically turn lights on when visibility is low, mitigating trip and fall hazards.


Elderly Safety Devices

Technology like video doorbells and smart locks can protect seniors and enhance their sense of safety at home. They allow older adults living alone to speak to unknown visitors before opening the door, monitor packages and delivery services, and more. They can even automatically lock doors at night.

Devices like smart smoke alarms can also defend seniors against fire hazards, which are a significant threat to people over 65. Beyond sounding the usual fire alarm, these devices can automatically call first responders and send alerts to your phone or tablet when the batteries are running low. These features give seniors with physical limitations plenty of time to get help.

Medication Assistance

Depending on the level of assistance your loved one needs, there are plenty of options available for keeping track of medications. Seniors can easily set up daily medication reminders using a virtual assistant. Smart pill dispensers can even be programmed to dispense the correct dosage of medicine at the same time of day for ultimate peace of mind.

Remote Patient Monitoring

Remote patient monitoring (RPM) has been gaining attention recently as a way for health care providers to monitor and manage chronic conditions with fewer hospital visits. But did you know it can also be used to help in-home caregivers promote security, stability, and independence for seniors who live at home?

Using advanced, non-intrusive sensors and Bluetooth-enabled health devices, caregivers can record and track a person’s vital signs remotely and in real time. These devices may include:

  • Wearable smartwatches
  • Pulse oximeters
  • Blood pressure monitors
  • Weight scales
  • Glucometers for blood sugar
  • More

More seniors can stay at home for longer with this kind of proactive approach, which ensures that chronic conditions aren’t progressing. And if anything does change, the person’s entire care team will know to make interventions early on.


Fall Detection and Prevention

The CDC estimates that one out of every four adults over 65 fall each year, and that of those, less than half report the incident to their doctors. Even small falls can have major health consequences, which is why preventing falls—and reporting the ones that do happen—is so crucial for seniors living at home.

Today’s smart home systems can track a person’s usual movement patterns and alert trusted caregivers if they stray from baseline. Artificial intelligence has given us the power to predict when a person’s fall risk increases. Then, caregivers can make safety adjustments to the home environment as soon as possible.

In the event of a fall, these detection systems can alert loved ones, caregivers, and/or emergency services, if necessary, to make a wellness check. The earlier a person gets help after a fall, the better their chances of making a full recovery. 

Virtual Telehealth & Caregiver Check-Ins

Sometimes, older adults with chronic health conditions don’t need a great deal of assistance with personal care and daily tasks. However, they could still benefit from regular check-ins with their medical team and qualified caregivers. Telehealth makes it easier for these seniors to remain independent while still receiving the care, attention, and social support they need.

With daily virtual calls, seniors can build real relationships with knowledgeable and understanding caregivers. They know they’ll always have a partner in their ongoing wellness and someone to talk to when they need it. Research suggests that this kind of social engagement can prevent chronic conditions from worsening, which can translate to more years spent independently at home.

How Connected Care from ComForCare Can Help

Connected Care is ComForCare’s remote patient monitoring program, which offers proactive, preventative care interventions through tools just like these. Perfect for a range of diverse needs, our unique and robust support fosters engagement, empowerment, and connectivity that allows people to embrace and extend their independence.

As a next-generation senior care service, Connected Care can help seniors even when a caregiver isn’t physically in the home. Whether it’s used as a standalone service or as part of an in-person care plan, Connected Care can support seniors with:

  • Fall detection
  • Wellness monitoring
  • Daily virtual calls
  • Chronic disease management

Learn more about Connected Care here and contact our team to find out if this service is available near you!

Make Home a Safe Place to Age Gracefully

Most older people want to continue living at home for as long as possible. And as technology advances, it becomes increasingly safe for them to do so. Smart devices, AI, and other advancements can be powerful tools for caregivers as they seek to empower the people in their care to feel dignified and independent in their golden years.

Still, technology is no replacement for skilled, dedicated, and compassionate care. If you’re interested in learning more about how ComForCare can help you make your loved one’s home environment a safe and healthy place to age, check out our comprehensive in-home care services. And if you have questions, help is always available online or over the phone!

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Tips to Help Seniors Find New Hobbies

Retirement offers a unique opportunity for seniors to enrich their lives by exploring new passions, hobbies, and interests. However, in some cases, health challenges and mobility limitations can create barriers to pursuing these activities. In these situations, the experienced in-home senior care providers at Gentle Shepherd Home Care in Colorado Springs can help.Our caregivers understand the importance of fostering engagement and independence for seniors and strive to assist them in discovering and pursuing new hobbies and passions.7 Hobbies to ConsiderBelow, we will explore 7 hobbies that seniors should consider pursuing in retirement:Consider Past PassionsMany times, past passions can provide valuable clues to what may bring joy in the present. Consider activities enjoyed in the past. Is there a hobby that was once loved but never had the time to pursue fully? Revisiting these interests can reignite passions and provide a sense of familiarity in trying something new.Explore CreativityWhen it comes to creativity, there is no such thing as an ae limit. Consider pursuing artistic pursuits such as painting, photography, pottery, writing, and more. Many communities have a senior center that offers classes tailored to seniors, providing a supportive environment to nurture creative talents. In addition to providing mental stimulation, these activities also offer a therapeutic outlet for self-expression.Physical ActivitiesPhysical activity is critical for maintaining overall health and well-being, especially as we age. Consider exploring a variety of exercises that cater to personal interests and physical capabilities such as yoga, dancing, tai chi, swimming, and more. These activities can help seniors stay active and energized. In addition, group classes and/or clubs can foster a sense of camaraderie while staying fit.Volunteer ActivitiesVolunteering is a great way to give back to the community, while also staying socially engaged. Consider volunteering with organizations that align with personal interests and values. Regardless of passions, there are plenty of organizations within the community that are looking for volunteers. Volunteering offers a variety of benefits including providing a sense of purpose and fostering meaningful connections.Embrace LearningLearning should be a lifelong pursuit. Consider exploring educational opportunities such as attending lectures, joining discussion groups, enrolling in online courses, and more. In some cases, local community colleges and universities offer special programs for seniors to expand knowledge in areas ranging from history and literature to science and technology.Connect with NatureSpending time outdoors can provide a variety of physical and mental benefits. Consider connecting with nature through activities such as gardening, birdwatching, nature photography, and more. Check with the local community center to learn about nature clubs and organized outings to explore the local parks, botanical gardens, and trails with others who share the same passions.Cultivate Social ConnectionsBuilding and maintaining social connections through retirement is critical for overall well-being. Look for opportunities to connect with others who share the same passions. Join groups within the community that are tailored for seniors. In addition, consider attending community events, cultural activities, religious gatherings, and more to connect with others and forge meaningful relationships.How Gentle Shepherd Home Care Can Help Seniors Find New HobbiesThe in-home elderly care experts from Gentle Shepherd Home Care in Colorado Springs can help seniors find new hobbies. We understand that everyone is unique and take the time to get to know our clients to provide personalized support and companionship, as well as encouragement and motivation. In addition, we can help seniors research and access community programs, classes, and events that align with their interests. Contact us today to schedule your care assessment with one of our highly skilled caregivers.

Home Care for Independent Seniors

Most seniors today prefer to remain in their own home for as long as possible. They dont want to give up their independence by moving in with family or into an independent living facility. This is known as aging in place and can be a viable option for seniors who need little to no assistance with activities of daily living.In-home senior care services from Gentle Shepherd Home Care in Colorado Springs can make this possible. Our caregivers are trained to handle an array of elderly care services from companionship to meal prep to medication reminders to transportation and more.In this article, well explain some of the benefits of in-home care for independent seniors.Who Needs In-Home Care Services?Gentle Shepherd Home Care offers a variety of in-home care services for all ages and needs. However, most of the time, patients who need home care are elderly. If youre unsure if your loved one needs in-home care, consider the following questions:Does your elderly loved one hear the phone when it rings?Do they understand how to safely store food and toss it when it has gone bad?Are they able to cook and clean up after eating?Are they attending social/family gatherings?Can they do their own laundry?If the answer to any of these is no, your loved one may benefit from in-home care.4 Benefits of In-Home Senior CareWhile it can be difficult to accept, nearly everyone will require some type of assistance after the age of 65. If the thought of moving in with relatives or a nursing home/assisted living facility is unappealing for your loved one, in-home senior care can help them age in place.Four benefits of in-home senior care include:Household MaintenanceThere is a lot of work that goes into keeping a household running smoothly. Caregivers can help stay on top of household chores such as laundry, handyman services, housekeeping, and more. They may also help with financial and healthcare management, as well as appointments and financials.TransportationFor many seniors, transportation is an issue, especially at night. Unfortunately, public transportation is not always safe- especially for elderly people. However, one of the services offered by caregivers includes transportation.Personal CareMany seniors need assistance with activities of daily living including meal prep, bathing, dressing, and more. In-home senior care providers can be in the home to help with these activities.Health CareAging usually brings a variety of health concerns as well. Some caregivers are trained to help with these concerns including taking blood pressure, blood glucose readings, medication reminders, and more. Many times, health insurance will cover a portion of these services.Schedule Your Care Assessment TodayIf you believe that you or your loved one may benefit from elderly care services, schedule a no-obligation care assessment. Gentle Shepherd Home Care offers care services for all ages and needs. We can offer companionship for your loved one, and many of our caregivers are able to provide medical care as needed.

Identifying Medicare Scams

Research shows that seniors are common targets of scammers. One of the most common ways that criminals try to get information is through Medicare scam calls. In fact, your Medicare number is often more valuable for criminals than your social security number or credit card numbers/banking information.The caregivers at Gentle Shepherd Home Care in Colorado Springs can help you identify these scams. We offer a variety of in-home senior care services from companionship to medical care.In this article, well explain what you need to know about common Medicare scams.Does Medicare Ever Call Recipients?There are only two reasons that Medicare will ever call you, according to the Medicare website:Health/drug plan provider may call if you are already a member or the agent who helped you join may contact youCustomer service representative may contact you if youve left a message or received a letter stating that you will receive a phone callTop 7 Medicare ScamsFraudsters are getting smart with their scams. However, if someone calls you claiming to be from Medicare with the following pitches, its a scam.Your old Medicare card is invalid- you will be getting a new cardThis is one of the most common Medicare scams. The fraudster will inform you that in order to issue a new card, they will need your social security number and/or your Medicare card number.Truth: Medicare will not call you if there is an issue with your card. They will send a letter to arrange a phone interview.Your Medicare plan is about to be canceledThe caller will claim that in order to prevent your Medicare from being canceled, you will need to verify your current Medicare number, full name, address, banking information, birthdate, and social security number. This is also a common Social Security scam.Truth: Medicare representatives have your Medicare number on file- they will never ask for it. Additionally, Medicare representatives never ask for details such as your social security number to verity your identity.You are eligible for early access to vaccinationsThe COVID-19 pandemic spawned many pandemic-related scams such as being sent at-home testing kits or special access to vaccinations. These offers require that you provide information such as your Medicare number, social security number, and other personal details. Most of these start out as text messages or robocalls. The caller will offer you special access if you pay out of pocket.Truth: Medicare will never ask for you to pay out of pocket to get special treatment.You must confirm your appointment for genetic testingIn some cases, scammers will call offering free genetic testing to screen for a variety of health conditions. When you agree, they will steal your information and will bill Medicare for the test. In some cases, you may be sent an at-home test to complete along with a request for your information.Truth: Medicare will not call or send an at-home kit to offer you testing that you have not requested.You are eligible for free medical suppliesIf a scammer is aware of a specific health condition, such as diabetes, they may offer you free medical supplies or medications. They use this offer to get your Medicare number and other personal information as well as your credit card number so that you can pay for shipping. Your information will be used to over-bill Medicare.Truth: Medicare is not likely to call you to offer free medical supplies/medications. They will never ask for you to pay for shipping or provide financial information. Never pay for anything without seeing an invoice that can be confirmed with Medicare.You overpaid and are due a refundOne of the most common scams fraudsters use is to contact you via a phone call or text offering a refund on overpayment.Truth: Medicare will not call you to verify your personal financial information before issuing a refund. If you are due for a refund, a paper check will be sent out or it will be sent to the bank account on file.Youve been pre-approved for a cheaper/better planSome scammers will try to convince you that you are eligible for a cheaper/better plan than you are currently on. These are most common during open enrollment.Truth: Medicare will not call you without sending a letter first. You should never follow up on any unsolicited calls, visits from people claiming to be Medicare reps, or brochures.What to Do if You Are ContactedScammers can be persuasive, aggressive, and even threatening. However, its important to stay calm- they wont be able to do anything if you dont give them your information.Also, keep in mind that Medicare will not cold-call you. They will contact you via postal mail first to set up a phone interview.If you or a loved one is contacted by a fraudster:Never give out personal informationHang upReport the scam to MedicareWarn loved onesIf you or a loved one is in need of in-home elderly care, contact Gentle Shepherd Home Care in Colorado Springs. We offer a variety of services from simple companionship to medical care.

Local Services By This Author

ComForCare Home Care - North Colorado Springs

Home Health 7608 North Union Boulevard, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 80920

If age, illness, or accident is threatening your loved ones independence call us. We can provide the exact amount of personal home care services your family needs to help them live the best life possible, for the longest time possible - at home.Our private-duty nursing services help people of all ages who need a higher level of care due to physical restrictions, illnesses or chronic medical conditions. During the initial visit, our registered nurse (RN) will complete a comprehensive RN assessment with you and your loved ones, including an in-depth review of all the medications you are currently taking. The RN will then assist in developing a care plan along with your input that is specific to meet your needs.

ComForCare Home Care - North Colorado Springs

Non-Medical 7608 North Union Boulevard, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 80920