Phil Chandler loves to find solutions to help people. For more than 30 years, he worked as an executive at aerospace engineering firms, which merged his love of technology and creative problem solving. Today, Chandler owns Right at Home of Ventura County, California, where he continues to put those problem-solving skills to work while helping people in the process.
As a self-proclaimed “technologist,” Chandler partners with senior care technology companies as an additional service to his customers who are struggling with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The demand for high-tech devices that assist dementia and Alzheimer’s patients is still relatively small, but Chandler has developed a reputation as an assistive technology expert in and around his community.
Ventura County reached out to Chandler for advice after a man wandered off in a rural area that was filled with lemon and avocado groves. Because of the potential danger of the situation, the county dispatched a helicopter to look for him. Chandler was able to provide the family of the wandering man with a smart watch that locked around the wrist to ensure that if he wandered off again his family would be able to find him easily and without the help of the county. Chandler not only provided the man’s family with more peace of mind, but he was also able to reduce the public costs associated with the helicopter search.
Nothing for Seniors to Fear From Technology
When it comes to technology, many older adults are skeptical about embracing it and uncomfortable learning how to use it. However, once seniors begin to use and integrate technology into their everyday lives, it can have a positive impact. Recent studies on seniors and technology from the Pew Research Center found that 59 percent of adults aged 65 and older go online and 77 percent use a cellphone. According to Pew, once seniors embrace technology, it can become “an integral part of their daily lives.”
The Center for Technology and Aging, a joint endeavor between the Public Health Institute and the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interests of Society at the University of California, has found that there are major benefits for seniors who make technology a part of their daily lives. They believe that “emerging technologies will enable both older adults and their caregivers to address a comprehensive range of medical, health, social and functional needs.”
And Chandler agrees. In fact, he’s such a big believer in the benefits of technology for seniors that he offers his tech expertise as a complimentary service to his clients who need it.
“My only goal is to help people,” says Chandler. “When we have clients whose loved ones have been diagnosed with dementia and can no longer afford the level of care needed to keep them protected, well, that’s where technology can come into play and really make a difference.”
Technology for Seniors With Dementia and Alzheimer’s
Chandler has found several targeted applications that can be used to help seniors who have been diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. His top picks include:
- Smart Watch. The same watch that Chandler recommended for the wandering man locks to the wrist of the wearer, so it cannot be removed. The watch has a built-in GPS tracking device for Alzheimer’s patients, making it easy to find a loved one who has wandered off.
- Smart Sole Insert. Similar to an insole insert that you can buy at a drugstore, the smart sole insert is inserted into the shoe and forgotten about. Should your loved one wander, the smart sole will send both a text message and an email to caregivers to alert them. They can then track their loved one’s exact location thanks to the GPS technology in the insole.
- Medication Apps for Smartphones. Chandler also sees the value in apps for smartphones and tablets. Apps that provide medication reminders can help prevent mishaps and dangerous injuries.
“I’ve been able to demonstrate to my clients and their families that this type of technology really just brings more tools to their toolkits,” says Chandler. “I always want to do what’s best for my clients.”