We’ve all seen that commercial with the tagline “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up” before—it’s a classic. However, while people use that line for jokes and memes today, the commercial itself was for a gadget that was vital for older people who lived on their own to have. It was an SOS button that called 911 if they couldn’t get to a phone or were unable to speak for some reason.
Now that you remember that commercial better, you’ve probably realized that you don’t see it as often anymore. That’s because modern technologies like smart devices have made those rather obsolete. While some older folks still aren’t into the idea of having a smartphone, more of them are open to trying out a smartwatch instead. If you’re interested in getting one for your older parents, then you’ll want to keep reading this guide on what to look for in a smartwatch for the elderly.
SOS Button and Fall Detection
The modern version of the SOS button still works in relatively the same way as the old one, except now the user can either call 911 with it or a live agent who can help them with non-emergency-related problems. The fact that it’s on a device they probably wear the majority of the time means it’ll always be available to them.
On top of that, these smartwatches can also detect if the user has fallen. Upon falling, the watch can contact the same services as it would have if the fallen senior had pressed the button. This is helpful in cases in which they have been knocked unconscious or if they’ve broken a bone and can’t reach the device.
Vital Signs Monitor
Another key feature that sets this apart from the SOS buttons of old is the vital signs monitors. These can track things such as heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and blood oxygen levels. These can also be tracked using an app on the smartphone, which will allow loved ones to be alerted if any of the vital signs drop to dangerous levels.
Sleep Pattern Detector
While this feature is popular with all age groups, knowing how sound you’re sleeping is something that can be very useful for older people. Aging bodies have trouble getting restful sleep throughout the night, so if an elderly person knows how often they’re waking up each night, they can relay the information to their doctor so they can receive better treatment.
Call and Text Without Smartphone Hook-Up
As we mentioned earlier, many older people are resistant to getting a smartphone. If you’re able to convince them to get a smartwatch instead, you’re going to want to make sure it doesn’t need a phone to operate properly. Luckily, many variations that are made for the older generation don’t.
This is excellent since your parents will likely want an easy way to call or text you and your loved ones. We know it’ll be difficult for them to say no to an easy way to stay in contact with their beloved grandkids. Plus, most smartwatches can have their text sizes enlarged in case elderly users have trouble reading the small screen’s fine print.
Since everything has to be compact on a smartwatch due to the screen size, it can sometimes be challenging for your parents to find what they’re looking for even if they enlarge the font. That’s why getting them a smartwatch with voice commands is essential for them to use it effectively. A voice assistant will be able to help them set reminders easily, find apps, and call loved ones without having to fumble through various menus.
An additional feature to look for in a smartwatch for your parents is GPS functionality. If they still drive, it would be helpful if they had a GPS guidance system telling them how to get to their destination. Even if they don’t, they can use it to get to various locations while on foot.
The GPS can also be useful for you and your loved ones in another way. For example, if your parent has a habit of wandering off or leaving the house when they shouldn’t, you can set it up to notify you when they do. This will help you keep tabs on their location even when you’re not around—and when you use the app and see that they’re at home, you won’t have to worry.
For those who are trying to stay fit in their old age, something that keeps track of their movement will be pretty handy. Whether the senior goes on a walk or a run, smartwatches can use the built-in GPS or the wearer’s arm movements to determine how many steps they take and how far they travel.
If they like to swim, these watches can keep track of that, too. You’ll just have to make sure you get one that’s water-resistant.
Now What Should You Do?
Since you now know what to look for in a smartwatch for the elderly, it’s time to determine which features are the best for them. We’re sure you’ll know which ones they’ll appreciate, but if you’re not trying to surprise them with it, ask them to give their input on what they’d prefer. Then, after you’ve compiled a list, it’s time to start shopping.
We know that looking through all of the smartwatches on the market can be quite tedious, even if you can specify that you want one for an older family member. That’s why you should start with checking out our health monitor watch for seniors. It has almost all of the features we have mentioned here, so if you want to get them one that can do it all, this is the watch you’re going to want to get.