Apple's New Homekit and Watch Can Help You Care for Your Loved One

Are we moving closer to having a StarTrek Tricoder? 
Guest Post by Beth Kelly

Old age brings with it a variety of health concerns and difficulties, such as the necessity to frequently take prescription meds and reduced personal mobility. Many of the elderly must rely upon family members or other caregivers to help them with their daily lives — especially caregivers who work full-time. 

This situation may significantly change in the coming years because of developments that are taking place in health care apps and the “Internet of Things.” New hardware and software solutions are poised to make it easier for seniors to monitor and attend to their own health, reducing the amount of involvement needed from a loved one. No one wants to feel dependent. Its all about maintaining ones dignity.

Apple Watch + Health Kit - Tracking & Control for Seniors Use

The new Apple Watch, in combination with their Homekit app (available in September 2015), could make a big difference for seniors. Manufacturers can get their devices certified for use with Homekit, which means that they'll be compatible with the Apple Watch. Learn how Homekit works. Instead of struggling with multiple interfaces for each smart home product they use, people will instead be able to access a broad range of functionality, across many devices, simply from the watch on their wrists.

Help for Those With Limited Mobility

The watch will be particularly useful for patients with limited mobility. For example, when a senior wakes up in the morning, it could be possible, with the touch of a button, to have the Apple Watch direct the home to increase lighting levels, raise the ambient temperature and turn on the radio or TV. The device can also interface with automated home security systems like ADT. This means that an Apple Watch could be used to activate alarm systems or lock doors.

Nutrition Monitoring & Reporting

Other products aim to make the collection of health-related data painless. Some apps track nutritional intake by scanning the barcodes of food items while others can monitor daily exercise and calories burned. Because the information is saved and can be accessed at any time, usually with a smartphone. Caregivers and doctors can get an accurate picture of the metrics being tracked. Some elderly people have trouble remembering to do their exercises or eat at the proper times, and their families now have a way to see if this is a problem for their loved ones.

New Google Contact Lenses Measure Glucose Levels

Some of the capabilities of modern health monitoring technology seem like something straight out of science fiction. Google is developing contact lenses that can use sensors to measure blood glucose levels, ideal for diabetes sufferers. Meanwhile, digestible sensors, the first of which was approved by the FDA in 2012, allow doctors to receive information wirelessly from inside the patient's body.

HealthKit: Tracking & Reporting Vitals

With the integrated platform represented by the Apple Watch, developers and consumers will be able to benefit from the use of a single system to control health care devices. Apple has rolled out a new HealthKit app, which is designed specifically to enable uses to collect all their health data in one place and allow trusted applications and devices to have access to it. This will make it convenient for regular people as well as health care professionals to identify trends or spot causes for concern within the data.

In the future, we can expect to see wearable technology work even more closely with people and homes to deliver truly seamless solutions. Right now, there's a lot of configuration and setup that must be performed before being able to access all the features of smart home and health monitoring technology. In coming years, we could see comprehensive solutions properly configured and ready to use right out of the box.

The Apple Watch and Homekit app, by bringing together the functionality of disparate products, will make sophisticated health apps and technologies more user-friendly. As this trend continues, we can expect the older segment of the population (and their family caregivers) to increasingly rely on these devices to make their lives more comfortable and healthy. The technology will improve while getting cheaper, driving mainstream adoption by millions of people.

Further Reading: 

Elderly Caregiving. Choices and Challenges

5 Tips for Balancing Full Time Work & Your Family Caregiving Role

Resolving Mobility Impairment Issues with a "Smart Home"

Attention Caregivers: FREE Nutritional Assesment App for the iPhone

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About The CareGiver Partnership. The CareGiver Partnership helps caregivers and their loved ones with answers to their caregiving questions, including information about home health care products and supplies, from our Wisconsin-based team of Product Specialists who are all current or former caregivers. The company’s Web site provides the largest online library of resources on subjects most important to caregivers — from arthritis to assisted living, and Parkinson’s to prostate cancer — as well as access to more than 3,000 home care products for incontinence, skin care, mobility, home safety and daily living aids. The CareGiver Partnership was founded in 2004 by Lynn Wilson of Neenah, Wisc. Visit to learn more or call 1-800-985-1353.


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