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High-Tech Aids for Aging in Place

7 7 22

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Heidi Wilson, 69, loves to watch British television shows with her husband, but the accents and her hearing impairment made it difficult to catch all the dialogue. “I was always interrupting to ask him to repeat what the characters said or to turn up the volume,” she says in an email.

Then several months ago, Wilson, a retired lawyer in Wayzata, Minn., got a pair of Starkey Livio Edge AI hearing aids that she controls with her smartphone. An app helps her filter out background noise and adjust volume to hear better.

“Now I usually hear the accents well enough to understand, and if I can’t, I use the app to turn up the volume,” she says.

For older adults willing to embrace it, wireless technology is a game changer, making a bevy of sophisticated products—from smartphone-managed hearing aids to home sensors that communicate with distant caregivers—possible. In many cases, the technology is helping older adults live independently at home longer, with baby boomers a rich consumer market for the devices. Boomers are interested in the technology not only to improve their own quality of life but also to help care for elderly parents, who are just as adamant about remaining in their own homes.

Technology, of course, is no substitute for human caregivers, but it can stretch a budget for in-home care with remote monitoring and other safety devices.

“They don’t replace the capabilities you get in assisted living,” says Laurie Orlov, principal analyst with Aging and Health Technology Watch in Port St. Lucie, Fla. But “some of these technologies can be useful for people who........

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