TODAY   |  February 06, 2013

Tech gear to help seniors stay independent

There are more than 40 million people age 65 and older in the U.S., and helping them remain independent and safe in their own homes has gotten much easier thanks to new assistive technology products. “Savvy Senior” columnist Jim Miller shares telephone systems, pill dispensers, and more.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> new products for seniors to make their lives easier. jim miller is the editor of the syndicated column. good to see you.

>> you, too, al.

>> we've all seen the commercials, i've fallen and i can't get up. we all joke about it, but it's a serious issue.

>> it is.

>> you have a loved one who is older, living at home alone .

>> exactly.

>> you don't know what to do. so we've seen these. how have they improved over the years?

>> amazingly. the technology is really amazing to help seniors stay home longer. the first device is a medical alert device, lifeline. the senior wears the pend ant around their neck. they can push the button to call for help if they need it. this has an extra feature where there are fall detection sensors built into the pendant button.

>> so the senior doesn't have to press it?

>> that's right. if they fall and become disor disoriented, which is very common, this summons help for you.

>> what does this go for?

>> about $40 a month.

>> you have it, want peace of mind but spend a little less.

>> two big-button senior-friendly phones. and the pend ant button that the senior wears around their neck. you can make and receive calls right from the pendant or backside of the pendant. it has two emergency contacts you can program in if you fall and you're in a jam.

>> what is this one?

>> mobile alert twice for anywhere you happen to be. if you are out taking a walk, you press one button. the operator comes on the line to find out what's wrong. it has gps technology so they know your exact location to send help.

>> wow! these more home based, this one, anywhere.

>> anywhere you want to be, yeah.

>> we come to something more sophisticated.

>> this is the grand care system. comprehensive home monitoring system that has a lot of different technology products include i including this sensor here that goes in your loved one's home t tracks and learns the routines and behavior. so if something out of the ordinary happens, like a fall or they didn't get out of bed at their usual time, the system would recognize that and then call for help . it also has a social component, al, that allows you to reach out to your loved one. this goes in your house. it's a senior friendly computer, has video chat capabilities. you can send them messages, pictures, all kind of stuff.

>> i always worry about my mom taking her medication.

>> very important. this is the med minder, computerized pill box that flashes like you see here and beeps to remind you to take your medication. if you don't take it, it will call you on your phone to remind you. if you still don't take it, it will call your loved one to let them know you haven't taken it.

>> what do we have here?

>> it dispenses the medication in these cups, uses verbal reminders.

>> how does something like that go for?

>> $75 a month.

>> that's not bad.

>> gps , to take care of your loved ones , especially that have dementia, gps in the heel. track your loved one.

>> little unsteady on their feet?

>> the hurry ane. it has a pivoting head for extra stability. stands up on its own real convenient.

>> i think i'm really close to needing that. jim miller ,