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5 Types of Tech Products to Help Loved Ones Age in Place

You don’t need a smart home to ensure comfort and safety

spinner image a house surrounded by different types of tech that work in a house
Clockwise from bottom left, medical alert systems, sensors, pill dispensers, adjustable beds and bidet seats on the toilet can help an older adult stay independent at home longer.
Photo Collage: AARP; (Source: ADT; Arlo; Bloom Flower; Sleep Number; Tushy; Getty Images (3))

Thanks to new technology, older adults can stay independent in their own homes with cherished possessions, established routines and the help of innovative products that make living easier.

Some solutions don’t require Wi-Fi connectivity, while others leverage smart technology to be compatible with other devices. Either way, these tools enable family caregivers who don’t live in the home to be an integral part of the day-to-day activities of an aging adult.

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Here are five types of products that offer safety, convenience and comfort for loved ones and peace of mind for those who look out for them.

1. Home alone? Fall detectors alert others

spinner image different types of alarm systems
ADT medical alert unit and accessories, Mobile Personal Emergency Response System tracker with base and Lifeline HomeSafe landline medical alert system.
Photo Collage: AARP; (Source: ADT;; Lifeline)

Fear of falling and other injuries is a concern for anyone whose balance and gait aren’t what they used to be. Wearable medical devices such as alert buttons, fall detectors and smart watches can notify a live operator, 911 or a list of family numbers within minutes.

While the latest models of several smart watch brands — including Apple Watch, Garmin Forerunner, Google Pixel and Samsung Galaxy — have become adept at fall detection, their drawback is limited battery life. The watches must be taken off every day or day and a half to be charged, and that’s time when a fall can’t be spotted.

Alarm buttons work best in the pendant option

When choosing an alarm button with no fall detection — that a person must press to summon help — wristbands have one big drawback. They may be less noticeable, but if a stroke occurs, they may be unusable.

That’s what happened to my father, who had a stroke paralyzing his right side. He wore his button on his left wrist, like a watch, but could not press it with his left hand.

 Linda Dono

Lifeline HomeSafe Medical Alert System is a waterproof pendant that connects you to a trained care specialist at any time via an in-home speakerphone-like communicator. A more expensive mobile version uses cellular connectivity and works outside the home. From $29.95 a month plus $99.95 setup fee; discount for yearly plan. 

ADT On-The-Go Medical Alert System provides immediate two-way communication with care specialists. Its waterproof wristbands and pendants and wall-mounted buttons have a range of up to 600 feet from the base and operate without a landline. From $39.99 a month; discount for yearly plan. Wellness system is a collection of in-home and wearable devices that can detect falls, determine where someone is in the house or whether someone has left and send alerts to caregivers. A mobile personal emergency response pendant is $150 plus $39 monthly. The app-only is $5 to $10 a month.

2. Dispensers track proper time to take medications

spinner image different types of medication reminders
e-pill Station Pro, Bloom Flower pill dispenser, Hero smart dispenser will automatically serve up proper doses at designated times and give audio and visual alerts.
Photo Collage: AARP; (Source: e-pill Medication Reminders; Bloom Flower; Hero Health)

These convenient organizers dispense the right amount of medicine and audibly or visually alert a person at the prescribed time.

Nearly half of all adults 65 and older take five or more prescriptions a day, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So managing doses and keeping track of medications is more important than ever.

Bloom Flower Automatic Pill Dispenser is a lockable pill organizer and dispenser with sound and light alerts. It can stock 28 days of pills for those who take medicines once a day but allows doses up to six times daily with refills every four days. The device is battery operated. $63.99.

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Hero combines a smart dispenser that sorts, stores and dispenses up to 90 days of as many as 10 different pills with a sound and light alarm. An optional Hero app includes notifications, medication management, refill reminders and 24/7 live support. From $44.99 a month; discounts for prepayment and AARP membership.

e-pill Station Pro has a handle so the proper pills can be tipped into a stainless-steel cup, which can help those with tremors or limited dexterity. The 28-compartment medication tray allows for seven days of pills, dispensed up to four times a day, but it can be adjusted for as much as once every hour or as little as once a day with audio and visual alerts to match. Its locked dispenser prevents double dosing. $695.

3. Bidet toilet seats make cleanup easier

spinner image different types of bidets
Tushy Ace 2.0 Electric bidet seat, Moen 5-series eBidet seat and Bemis Assurance Personal Wash Bidet.
Photo Collage: AARP; (Source: Tushy; Moen; Bio Bidet)

Originally used in tandem with toilets, today’s bidet seats replace the usual seat on a round or elongated toilet and draw a clean stream of water from the commode’s supply line.

If reaching back to clean up after going to the bathroom becomes awkward, these devices can eliminate that problem and cut the use of bathroom tissue. Ones with customizable water temperature can soothe hemorrhoids.

Bemis Assurance Personal Wash Bidet is a raised 3-inch toilet seat with rails on each side for users to grip, and the rails can each hold up to 350 pounds, even as a person shifts around. Users can control water pressure and flow, but the water temperature is the same as what’s delivered to your toilet. $249.99.

Tushy Ace 2.0 Electric Bidet Seat has a remote control to easily adjust water temperature, angle and pressure. Its heated seat has five temperature settings, the water nozzle cleans itself, and air drying afterward may mean you need no toilet paper at all. Installation requires a nearby grounded electric outlet. $599.

Moen 5-series eBidet has a remote control, heated seat, hot and cold massage options, adjustable water temperature and pressure, warm air dryer and a dim light in the bowl for nighttime trips to the bathroom. It fits only elongated commodes and requires a nearby grounded electrical outlet. $692.30.

4. Sensors help loved ones keep track without intruding

spinner image different types of emergency alerts
Arlo Home Security System home base, sensors and app; Eufy Motion Sensor; Wellness chair sensor and panic button.
Photo Collage: AARP; (Source: Arlo; Eufy;

Also called activity sensors and presence sensors, these devices let family and caregivers monitor an older adult’s daily activities, such as getting out of bed, entering or leaving a room or leaving a door to the outside open.

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Eufy Motion Sensor, triggered within a 100-degree radius and up to 30 feet away, sends a message through its smartphone app when presence is detected. You can tailor the sensor’s sensitivity to detect humans only, not pets. The sensor includes an integrated battery that lasts up to two years. $29.99.

Arlo Home Security System’s all-in-one sensors let aging adults and their loved ones monitor and protect their home against eight different threats, including temperature changes, water leaks, window and door openings, and alerts from carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. If an alarm is triggered, the system sends a notification to a caregiver’s smartphone. From $129.99; additional services available. Wellness sensors turn on lights when you get out of bed or enter a dark hallway and track daily activities to send an alert to family or a caregiver if, for example, the refrigerator hasn’t been opened by a specified time, a chair is being occupied for too many hours or another change occurs in a loved one’s daily routine. Hardware is $399, not including installation; additional services available.

5. Adjustable beds curb back pain, swollen feet

spinner image different types of beds
Saatva Solaire Mattress, Tempur-Pedic Ease power base with compatible mattress, Sleep Number i8 Smart Bed and adjustable base.
Photo Collage: AARP; (Source: Saatva; Tempur-Pedic; Sleep Number)

Never underestimate the importance of a good night’s sleep. Adjustable beds may not be new, but they’re a valuable investment for those who need to keep their feet elevated or alleviate a sore back, thanks to custom positioning and firmness.

Tempur-Pedic Ease Power Base allows multiple ergonomic positions, including a zero-gravity mode that elevates head and feet to closely simulate weightlessness. Higher-end Tempur-Ergo Smart and ProSmart bases are equipped with the Sleeptracker-AI app that tracks your sleeping habits, automatically adjusts the base when snoring is detected, provides personal analytics and offers tailored tips for better sleep. From $899; compatible mattress from $1,699.

Saatva Solaire Mattress is an adjustable six-layer air-pumped mattress that offers 50 adjustable firmness options via remote control and virtually no motion transfer. Other features include a massage option, under-bed lighting and up to three programmable positions. From $3,295; adjustable base from $1,045.

Sleep Number i8 lets you adjust firmness and support on each side via your given Sleep Number setting. The bed will identify your sleep quality with a personal SleepIQ score on the Sleep Number app. From $3,549; adjustable base from $1,799.

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