Aging in Place: Improving our Chances

As you may know I’ve been living cellphone-free for the past 2.5 years. Just recently, I rejoined the cellphone world mostly to be better connected with my girlfriend who was tired of having a hard time reaching me. And just as I made this life change I received an invitation to review the CarelineTM Home Safety Telephone System from VTech via the BOOMbox Network, a group I’ve written for in the past. 

Careline Phone

Careline

So, just like life – out with the old and in with the new, right? As I send my landlines back to GoodWill and and Re-Run (an excellent place to consign things such as the rotary phone I bought from them as a joke…) into my life comes this new telephone system! How cyclic!

We’re all aging, it’s how life works. Aging in place is all the rage.  And this phone system may be for you or your parents or their parents. To me, even thinking of ever needing something like this for myself is pretty scary. But perhaps that’s part of being an adult – you face the scary stuff, sit with it, reflect on it and in my case, report back to my readers.  In the case of the Careline system, it’s not something that I’ll personally be using for a while, but I can easily think of many family and friends who might benefit from using it.

I watched a TED talk recently that talked about a life strategy of reducing the risk in one’s life so that our lives can continue with as few tragic developments as possible. In the speaker’s talk the example was sleeping under trees in the New Guinea forests and how one would want to avoid that as they tend to fall down and kill people.  In the case of Careline what they’re doing is providing a service for older people to turn something where minutes count (such as a heart attack or fall) into an event with a more positive outcome. Even though we’re more and more connected these days, this doesn’t always mean that the people we’re connected to know when something happens to us.  Careline’s system aims to increase the odds that when something happens it’s easy for the injured to reach out and alert others.

From the VTech press release:

“Studies show a strong correlation between staying connected to others and the health of older adults. A Harvard University report said odds of mental decline doubled for seniors with no social ties compared to those who had frequent contact with relatives and friends or participated in social activities. Researchers in another study found individuals with a rich social network lived at least 1.6 years longer than their peers. CareLine is designed to support the need to stay connected, linking seniors with the people they can trust to help them age in place independently.”

So, will this device help you or someone you know prevent a tragedy from happening? Probably like any tool it will help once the user knows how to operate it and has some practice with it.  As we baby-boomers continue to age I’m happy to know that companies are thinking more and more about our generation and how to improve our life experiences.

Staying connected with others seems to be of key importance in helping us live longer and thrive while doing so. I watch constantly as I see older people struggling to stay connected. One of the issues is that their friends die off. But there are great ways to stay connected these days that didn’t exist in the past – one example is the Facebook events feed = instant social life. If all of the tools at our disposal are used perhaps we can make aging a more fun and enjoyable time for folks rather than a period of isolation and challenge.  If you’re thinking about an elder, please learn about this tool and others and report back when you find something that works!  Thanks!

Here’s a video that explains how the system works.

I wrote this blog post while participating in a campaign by the BOOMbox Network on behalf VTech Communications, Inc. and received payment for my participation. All opinions stated within are my own.

Comments

  1. Wow. 2.5 years without a cell phone. It probably helped you concentrate for longer stretches but limited your social contact. There’s always a trade off with choices we make. Here’s to your (our!) healthy, active aging.

  2. Hi Albert
    Your point is well taken, i.e.”We’re all aging, it’s how life works. … And this phone system may be for you or your parents or their parents.” So while Careline may be suggesting it is a balm for caregivers who live under so much stress in doing what they have to do, I welcome something like this in a darkened room when I cannot see my phone. I still have my landline although for the money I am ready to kick it to the curb.

  3. sunbonnetsmart says

    Hello there, Albert! What an informative post. Contact with friends and relatives is important at any age, but when the deamnds of life lesson and one has more time to themselves, the ability to get to the phone before it stops ringing can be a problem. With the CareLine system being so portable, I am encouraged that by having the CareLine phone nearby when walking in the house or yard, connection is never lost. This is a big comfort. Thanks again for sharing, Albert, Much Love, Fondly, Robin

  4. I like the features that each of these units have. Very valuable tool to own.

  5. Thanks for your excellent, personal perspective on aging in place and how technology can help! Connecting to others is a big deal for all kinds of people no matter their age. This phone system is about knowing how to get help, staying on top of daily schedules, and setting a means reach out when help is needed without major expense — all really important things!

  6. There have been tests to find out what was the most important change possible we could do to “reverse” senility in the elderly. It was found that seniors that had hearing loss from ear wax and age did not hear enough to be able to participate in conversation at some point and after that they went downhill fast. Restoring their hearing or ability to communicate was invaluable in bringing them back to an active healthy mental and physical life. Seniors that had not participated in conversation in a while from hearing loss had the most remarkable “reversals” in their aging process when they were able to interact and participate again. Our brain is a psycho-social tool and listening to our old familiar music or the sounds of the voices of people we love to hear, make the quality and experience of life enriching and wonderful. Thank you Albert.

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