Updated: May 17, 2022
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Staying connected with one another isn't just great for mental health and wellness. If you have aging parents, it can be crucial for their safety too. Fortunately, there are many innovative technologies to help us stay updated about our loved ones even when we're miles away.
But looking for the best senior-friendly devices can be difficult. It has to be user-friendly enough and meet your different needs — do you just want something to communicate more easily? Or are you looking for something to help with safety too? We've done the hard work and used our smart algorithm to scan over 1000 devices to help you find the best ones for your aging loved ones. Not only are they easy to set up and use. They even perform a variety of functions like reminding your loved ones about an appointment when you can't be there physically. Keep reading to discover our top picks:
Quick Comparison: 5 Devices To Help Easily Connect With Your Aging Loved One
Amazon Echo Show: An all-in-one smart home device for easier communication through voice-activation and drop-in features.
GrandPad: A tablet that's created with Seniors in mind — a streamlined user experience with just the essential apps.
Arlo Wireless Home Camera: Have peace of mind knowing you can check on your aging parents at any time with this portable, wireless camera.
Kisa Phone: The best simple phone for seniors with memory or motor weakness that will help them stay independent for longer.
Reminder Rosie: Records your customized voice prompts so you can remind your loved ones about important daily matters without needing to repeat yourself.
1. Amazon Echo Show: Voice Activation Lets You Easily Connect and Drop-In
What we loved about Amazon Echo Show: Voice-activated video calls to easily keep in touch without having to tap or swipe the device.
Drop-in function lets you connect to the Echo Show without your elderly loved one picking up.
Vocal reminders tell your aging loved ones about important daily tasks (e.g. medication or appointments) on your behalf.
Tech-savvy seniors who want a smart home device with multiple functions (e.g stay connected with loved ones, home security, entertainment, and more)
What we liked best about the Amazon Echo Show is the range of functions it has as a smart home device to help with different daily activities. In terms of staying connected, seniors can voice-activate the Echo Show to call loved ones — making the whole process easy and convenient as there’s no need to dial or swipe the screen.
This is also a useful function in emergencies. Imagine if your loved one has fallen and can’t access a phone. With the Echo Show, they’ll still be able to use voice commands to contact you.
And in instances when you're worried about your parents because they haven't answered the phone in a while, you can use Echo Show's drop-in function. You can connect to their device without them having to pick up your call, so you can quickly check if everything is fine. This is useful especially if you have a loved one prone to fainting or falling.
The Echo Show can also take over some of the gentle reminders about daily activities, where it will actually give verbal prompts like, "It's time to take your medication". There are so many other functions like voice-activating smart locks and other entertainment apps. So it really goes beyond just connecting with loved ones.
2. SpaceTalk Life: Simple Smartwatch with all the Functionality
What we loved about the SpaceTalk Life: Voice-activated video calls to easily keep in touch without having to tap or swipe the device.
SOS, location by request, and messaging
Calls over a 4G network, works widely with good coverage indoors and out
Reminders tell your aging loved ones about important daily tasks (e.g. medication or appointments) on your behalf.
Seniors who want a stylish looking watch that’s easy to use, without having to carry their phone, and without being overly complex.
What we liked best about the SpaceTalk is the range of safety functions it has for SOS, Calling, and location by request, complimented by the handy features to have like messaging, activity tracking, and reminders.
The handsfree callback, water-resistance, and safety features such as the use of the App All My Tribe, which can be used by families to all keep track of each other across watches and smartphones.
3. GrandPad: User-Friendly Tablet Without Complications
What we loved about GrandPad:
An easy-to-use, senior-friendly tablet with a widescreen, large buttons, and minimal apps.
The "private family network" lets loved ones change phone numbers, share photos, and update settings on the GrandPad from a centralized portal on behalf of the user.
Essential apps for communication (e.g. texting and calling) plus fun apps for gaming and entertainment.
The sturdy charging dock eliminates the need for fiddling with wires.
Seniors who want a user-friendly device to stay in touch with family and friends.
The GrandPad made it to this list of top devices connecting the elderly with their loved ones because it's specifically designed for senior use. It removes the visual clutter of usual tablets and streamlines everything to just the essential apps. With its video calling and email apps, staying in touch with loved ones is just a few taps away.
Its innovative private family network lets other people change their phone numbers and share updates or photos to the GrandPad from wherever they are! Everything that's shared appears on the GrandPad newsfeed — kind of like what you see on Facebook. Everyone can stay up to date about what's going on in each other's lives.
The physical design is also great for the elderly because the apps are big and easy to press — especially handy for those with impaired vision or motor ability. It also has a sturdy casing that prevents damage from daily use. And instead of fumbling around with annoying cables, you simply place the GrandPad on the provided dock to charge it. 4. Arlo Wireless Home Camera: Pop-by Virtually At Anytime
What we loved about Arlo Wireless Camera:
Check-in on your loved ones at any time with Arlo's HD video streaming on smartphones.
Weather-proof and night vision features allow you to use it as an outdoor camera for intruder-monitoring.
Easily move it around the home as there are no wires e.g. living room, driveway, or front door.
The minimalistic design will match with many home decors.
Seniors who want to continue living independently but also want the security of having others check-in on them easily.
Arlo wireless home camera is a great way for you to see if your elderly loved one is fine even when you can't be there physically. Its main feature is that it streams a video recording to linked smartphones, but it has many additional functions. Movement sensors, two-way talk, and text alerts let you stay connected in a variety of ways.
Another great benefit of the Arlo is its wireless design. Your loved one can bring it outside with them while they're working in the garden, or keep it at their bedside if they're ever feeling ill. It will be like you're still next to them even when you can't be physically present.
With added accessories like floodlights and solar-powered chargers, you have many options to suit your needs. You can also connect it through WiFi or your mobile network.
What we loved about Kisa phone:
A user-friendly, basic phone for seniors who don't want anything too complicated.
It's also a great phone for those with conditions like dementia, arthritis, or visual impairment.
No need to swipe through confusing menus or remember phone numbers.
Names in large font and faces of contacts are clear and visible.
You can track your aging loved one's location through GPS on the phone.
SOS button for emergency services at the back.
Great for seniors who want to stay in touch while on the go.
Kisa is the best phone for seniors who want a simple cell phone that has all your basic needs. It has a single menu screen with all important contacts (up to 10) immediately available so there's no need to swipe or remember numbers to dial. You can even add images of contacts which serve as a great prompt for those with memory impairment.
It also comes with a charging dock that you can simply slide the phone into. So there's no need to fiddle with troublesome wires.
If you ever worry about your elderly loved one getting lost, you can also easily track him or her down using the phone's GPS. And they can also press the clear SOS button at the back to call emergency services. This is a useful resource for seniors in the early stages of memory, motor, or visual impairment and want to continue living independently with some support from technology.
6. Reminder Rosie: Talking Reminder Clock That Records Your Voice
What we loved about Reminder Rosie:
Record reminders (e.g. medication) for your loved one with your own voice so you can be there to help even if you're not physically present.
Supports seniors living independently with their daily tasks.
Can be entirely operated by voice-operated so your loved one doesn’t have to press any buttons.
Large numbers are easy to read.
Seniors who need help remembering daily activities and find comfort from familiar voices.
The Reminder Rosie is a simple but powerful device to help your loved ones keep track of the things they need to do. What we found unique about it was how you can record your own voice to give the verbal prompts that are activated at set times in the day.
This is great for loved ones with any memory impairment who still feel comforted by the familiarity of the voices they know. And you can also be "present" for the little reminders without the effort of constantly repeating yourself. It's also completely voice-activated so your loved one can simply say, "Rosie, what time is it?" or "What do I have to do today?" and Reminder Rosie will gently tell her all the information she wants to know. All this can be done without fiddling with buttons.
This simple device may be all that you need to help your aging parents to stay independent for longer, while also giving you the peace of mind.
How to Choose the Best Device For Your Elderly Loved One
Everyone has different needs, so it's really important to think about what the devices can do for YOUR situation. Here are some questions you might want to ask yourself before purchasing any of the devices we've recommended:
Is the physical design of the product suitable for your aging loved one? If your loved one has arthritis or impaired motor skills, you may need a device that is purely voice-activated or accommodates these needs.
Do its functions serve the needs you're looking for? Do you need something that is purely voice-activated?
What are the ongoing costs? Don't forget to research if some of these devices need WiFi or mobile network connections which will incur additional monthly costs.
Does your loved one prefer more complicated or simple devices? Some like a ton of functions so it can be a one-stop-shop for their needs. While others like 1 device to do just 1 thing.
Does the home have additional tech capabilities needed for the device to work? Some need to be linked to a smartphone app or WiFi to work.
Does it blend in nicely with the home? Most of our recommended devices have simple, unintrusive designs. But individual tastes differ, so it might be good to talk to your loved one about how they feel about it.
How to Talk to Your Aging Parent About Using New Technology Some elderly folks are really on board with using technology, while others may be more resistant. If you've got an aging parent in the second group, we get it — sometimes we're resistant to change too or may not see a need for new things. Here are our top 4 tips when discussing these ideas with your loved one:
Highlight the benefits of the device: If the person can understand the improvements that the device will bring to their life, they're more likely to use it. You can tell them, "This tablet can help us stay in touch more easily while you continue to live alone. Plus, you'll be able to see new photos of the grandkids whenever you want!"
Share your concerns honestly with them: It's good to be honest about your own reasons for wanting them to use the new device too. You can share that it would help ease your worries if you could check that they're fine with this new device.
Listen to their reasons for not wanting to use it and acknowledge their feelings: Perhaps they're concerned about their privacy. If that's the case, tell them you understand how they're feeling and would like to find a solution to the problem. Maybe you need to choose a device or assure them you will only use it in emergencies.
Don't pressure them into it: If you're met with a "no", your first reaction might be to feel disappointed or angry. But try not to let this become a point of friction as it will only create more resistance. Let the issue go, and you can always try again down the road.
Use Technology to Stay Connected to Your Aging Loved One
There are many devices out there that can make it a lot easier to stay in touch with your aged parents or loved ones. Many aren't just communication devices — they can even help to ease some of your responsibilities as a carer (e.g. medication reminders). If you're still having difficulties choosing the right technology for your needs. Click the button below and fill in some details about your situation and our smart algorithm will present you with a free list of top products specifically tailored to your needs!
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