Help your loved ones stay confident in later life and out of harm’s way with the aid of these clever devices

Australia’s ageing population is consistently hitting new milestones; for the first time there are more  than 450,000 people in the 85-and-up club. What’s amazing is that most of this group lives at home, many by themselves or with one other family member. If your parents happen to be among them, you might be wondering how to help them live their best life, especially how to stay safe when you can’t be there. You may even have received the dreaded call when someone you love has experienced a fall or a medical emergency and want to prevent it from happening again.

“With older people, the major issues revolve around falls, medication and mobility concerns,” says Melanie Vann from Safety and Mobility in Sydney, which supplies assisted technology equipment to individuals, hospitals and nursing homes. “With the right devices, people can be more confident about their safety in their own home.” That’s good news for all concerned – independence for them, peace of mind for you. Here are some of the new high-tech solutions to consider.

YOUR CONCERN: I travel interstate for work so can’t be there for my folks

SOLUTION: SOS Mobile Watch, $598, or $49 per month for 24 months, from mCareWatch, is a combined smartwatch, mobile phone (complete with SIM card), location finder and personal emergency alarm. Worn like any other wrist watch, it’s waterproof and has both microphone and speaker for hands-free calls.

When the SOS button is activated it automatically dials three contacts (carers, friends, family or a professional monitoring service) using pre-programmed numbers. “If the wearer should ever be in an emergency situation they can activate the SOS button and speak to their carers for help, anywhere at any time,” says mCareWatch founder Peter Apostolopoulos. “They can retain their freedom and independence whether they’re socialising, gardening outside or shopping.” The watch comes with a free app for up to five carers so they can access the wearer’s location as well.

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