Gadgets that can help ensure the safety of senior citizens

Jul 13, 2014, 10:28 IST | Harpreet Kaur Sapra

Safety of senior citizens is a matter of serious concern. Here are some devices to help them in times of emergency and make them feel secure and self-reliant

With the increase in the number of nuclear families today, senior citizens tend to live alone and are a vulnerable lot. Hence, their safety is a cause of worry for their children and relatives alike.

Common things such as grab bars in washrooms, anti-slip mats, wheel-chair friendly homes and lifts in the building are things that make it easier for the elders to be independent, but these facilities do not ensure their safety.

What we need is technology that will keep them safe in their houses and alert us in case of an emergency. Here are some gadgets and apps that can make it easier for you to monitor your elders and help them live independently in their advanced years.

D-LINK DCS-933L Day/Night Cloud Camera: (Rs 9,450 each)
Some might call it invasion of privacy but if used prudently, it would help you monitor goings-on as well. Cloud cameras are available over the counter now and with the availability of wireless cameras, it has become a day’s job to connect the whole house. D-Link’s Day/Night Cloud Camera delivers high-quality videos that can be viewed on any smartphone.

They have in-built ICR Filter and IR LEDs, which are capable of getting clear images even in total darkness. The Night Vision Technology coupled with Sound and Motion Censors detect any change in environment — motion and sound, starts recording the video and sends out an instant email alert to the concerned person. The device even comes with an in-built Wi-Fi extender, ensuring that there are no dead zones in the house.

The MyDLink interface allows you to customise settings, control how and when you want to be alerted, adjust volume thresholds and define watch zones. It creates a safe and secure environment for your elders and gives you the assurance that you can see them anytime. 
Available at all computer stores.

GOJI SMART LOCK: (Rs 19,435 approximately)
This device is a bit expensive but worth every penny as it acts like an extra smart guard and allows only you or the people you authorise, to enter. The device is an electronic deadbolt lock with a proximity sensor, accelerometer and ZigBee low-powered device that can transmit data over long distances by creating a mesh network.

It allows you to send out unlimited number of virtual keys, restricted by time and date, giving the holders of these keys access to the house via the Blue Tooth or the WiFi built into their Android and iOS devices. Simply put, it sends a key to your phone, which makes your phone the key to the house, for the restricted amount of pre-programmed time.

When somebody twists the doorknob, the 1 megapixel camera clicks a picture and alerts you of the person’s presence. You can in turn open the door or choose not to.

In case of an emergency, when your parent is unable to open the door, you can simply authorise one of the neighbours to check in on them or give the access to the house to personnel from the emergency services. 
Available on

iBall Senior Aasan2 by Intex: (Rs 2,999)
With smartphones becoming extremely affordable, one wonders why one needs to buy their parents this basic phone. Well, we say buy it anyway, for it has features that are specially designed keeping senior citizens in mind.

The alphanumeric keypad has extra large keys, so they don’t strain their eyes and, in an emergency, they don’t have to fumble with the tiny touch keypads. Secondly, it’s a talking keypad, so they can be sure of dialing the right number even if they are not able to see clearly.

It also comes with a dual SIM. It has an LED torch built for those electricity blackouts, a phone tracker if they manage to forget it somewhere and an Emergency SOS button for unforeseen situations. 
Available online at Amazon and Flipkart

QUIRKY SPOTTER: (Rs 3,250 approximately)
Spotter from Quirky keeps you informed about the happenings in the house with the help of temperature, humidity, light, sound and motion sensors. One can programme the Spotter to send information to your iOS or Android devices when temperature/humidity hits a certain point or when it detects a loud noise or senses movement.

The small portable sensor can be mounted on top of the various gadgets in the house, such as the washing machine, fridge, TV, or simply on the front/back doors of the house. The motion sensor inside the Spotter acts like an accelerometer and detects only its own movement and not of people moving around.

Hence, you can get to know when the gadgets are used, i.e when was the fridge opened/closed, when the washing machine starts/stops, what temperature is your parents room at or if there was an unexpected increase in the house temperature as in case of fires.

Coupled with its App called Wink, all the alerts and push notifications come to you in real time and with the help of an added Pivot Power strip (which talk to the Spotter), you can switch on and off the lights in the house. 
Available at

Making senior citizens tech-savvy
It’s important for seniors to be educated about recent technology. It will help one stay in touch with you. Also, it will make seniors more open to these security measures. Socially connected: Encourage them to connect with their friends and family via social media.

>> Safety: Give them a detailed account of the features of the gadgets you are installing and how it works. Make sure that they do not feel that their privacy is being invaded but is a precautionary measure for their safety.

>> Fitness: Encourage them to exercise. This will help them maintain their fitness levels and it will also make it easier for you to monitor their daily exercise needs.

>> Medication management: There are enough smartphone apps that can keep track of their medication. They will get reminders to eat the right medication on time and go for their routine health
check ups.

>> Health tracking: Use smartphone apps or cloud- based health information tracking systems to keep track of their medical history, physician’s contact numbers and health conditions. This way the seniors can help themselves in case of an emergency.

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