Life expectancy has been increasing for years. As a result, scientists and engineers are coming up with new supportive technologies for senior living. Of course, social distancing has introduced challenges for older people and care providers. Those needing in-home aid have experienced even more disruptions throughout the pandemic. For lots of older people, voice technology could be the answer.
Medical and care professionals discovered the benefits of voice assistance for seniors at home or in controlled environments. Lots of devices use Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections, as well as the Internet of Things (IoT), to enhance the safety and independence of users. While older people are more tech-savvy than ever nowadays, we know that not everyone feels comfortable with new technology. Luckily, family members and professionals can help elderly people set up their voice technology devices, which are often simpler than you might think. Here are four ways that older people can use voice technology at home.
Eyesight tends to decline as we age. According to a 2020 survey, nearly 60% of people in the UK wear glasses. Among older people, this percentage is even higher. Therefore, reading small text on a smartphone or tablet can be challenging for some older people.
This is where voice technology comes in. Older people can use voice recognition devices to make communication faster and easier. They can use voice commands to navigate their smartphones and send messages. Additionally, many devices can read incoming messages aloud, so there’s no need to squint at small text.
In addition, many doctors have been using telehealth communication to keep vulnerable people safe throughout the pandemic. Older people need not miss out on healthcare for fear of coronavirus. Seniors can ask their smartphone or tablet to video call their medical professionals, accessing real-time assistance. You can also connect a smart home speaker to a smartphone or tablet, helping elderly users read and send messages if they lose their phones.
Voice technology can also help to increase safety at home. You may wish to install a door camera and connect it to a smart speaker. This can help elderly residents identify a visitor without having to open the front door. With the right kind of locks, you can also let a visitor into the house remotely by unlocking the doors using voice activation.
Elderly residents can also install an outdoor speaker, connecting to the camera and relaying messages to guests at the door. If an individual has limited mobility and takes a while to answer the door, the voice activation feature can enhance security and convenience. For example, the homeowner can also let the visitor know that they are coming, which eliminates the need to rush to the front door. As a result, voice technology can actually reduce the risk of falls in the home.
With voice commands for elderly patients and other voice recognition systems, seniors can call emergency support lines if they cannot dial, or do a host of routine tasks, like getting help with setting up appointments.
The ability to call for help in an emergency is so important – that’s why Lifeline24 offers a range of life-saving personal alarms for the elderly.
3. Information Access
Smart devices also connect to the internet, allowing for voice-activated searching. There are lots of ways for older people to use this voice technology. For example, accessing weather forecasts before leaving the house. A central speaker system can also find lost smartphones or devices when synced to other technologies.
Seniors can also verbally create a calendar within their voice-activated devices, reminding them of upcoming doctors’ appointments and more. We can all become a little forgetful as we get older. Voice technology is an easy and convenient way to set handy reminders e.g. “Remind me to buy milk this afternoon,” or, “Remind me to call the doctors tomorrow morning.” This technology decreases stress and enhances efficiency. Most elderly people speak faster than they can type, so voice technology can also reduce the amount of time you spend on your smart device.
Finally, voice technology can increase a senior’s quality of life by improving their independence. When you sync all your smart appliances, you can verbally access commands from anywhere. Individuals can ask their central speaker to turn up the volume on the TV when they lose the remote, for example.
Seniors can also access old recipes and measurement conversions while cooking using voice recognition appliances. Additionally, they can verbally record shopping lists and listen to them while in the supermarket, increasing the ease of shopping. Many elderly individuals rely on younger family members or professionals to remind them of information that is available on the internet and accessible using smart devices. With a voice assistant in your pocket, you won’t need to feel reliant on relatives or friends to look something up for you.
What Next for Voice Technology?
Researchers are developing smart hearing aid technologies, further supporting the senior population. The devices understand the effect of certain noises on hearing and automatically adjust sound levels. They also can connect to an app and help people monitor their ear health and the progress of their conditions.
We can expect smart voice assistant devices, apps, and platforms for older people to become more and more popular in the future. As life expectancy continuously increases, engineers and scientists will continue coming up with supportive technologies like these. The sky is the limit!
If you enjoyed this article, why not take a look at the following posts:
- Technology for Older People: A Simple Guide
- 7 Smart Home Technologies for Older Adults
- Staying Safe at Home: 11 Top Tips for Older People
- Personal Alarms for the elderly can help the NHS