Making sure that an elderly relative stays safe in their home can be stressful - if you're not living with them, you can't be around 24/7 to make sure they're OK, and making constant phone calls and visiting them can be draining for you both.
We've compiled a list of the best gadgets for the home to make sure your relative is well taken care of - and that you can sleep at night without worrying.
Big button phones: If your relative is visually impaired and finds using phones a hassle (tiny buttons can be frustrating to use), a phone with larger buttons can help - especially if they need to get hold of you in a hurry and they're prone to panicking. BT's Big Button 200 can be linked up with hearing aids, has easy to use volume controls and an easy grip handset. If they suffer with anxiety if they don't know what day or time it is, there are a range of clocks which display the date, the time, and whether it's morning or evening.
Wrist and neck alarms: Worn on the body, these alarms are great for elderly people who might be prone to falls and tumbles. Age UK currently sell a button pendant that, when pressed, connects the wearer to a telephone operator within seconds. The alarm transmits its location, so the wearer can be easily found, and the phone operator will have a list of numbers they can call to let family and friends know the elderly person is in trouble.
Digital door viewers: Elderly people are often at risk of being scammed due to failing mental skills and bad eyesight - these viewers let them see who's at the door before they answer it, and they can choose to ignore the call if they wish. The traditional peepholes are often unsuitable for people who have poor eyesight and many people may be reluctant to go to the front door and look out of the peephole, as this signifies that they're home.
Caller alerts: Being hard of hearing can mean some elderly people miss callers, which can lead to worry and anxiety for both parties. CallerAlert is a versatile doorbell system which changes interactions with people who visit at home. When the doorbell rings, the visitor will see a 'please wait' message displayed on a screen near the door, and a vibrating device lets the homeowner know they have company. They then press a device to let their visitor know they're on their way. This is especially good for people with reduced mobility, who may have an issue getting to the door.
Heating and hot water controllers: Many people worry that an elderly friend or relative will be unable to regulate the temperature in their home and be too hot in summer, and too cold in the winter. Hive lets users control heating and hot water from a mobile, tablet or laptop, and see how warm or cool a property is. It doesn't matter who supplies your energy - and bills could be reduced if the elderly person is prone to overheating their home.
Movement monitoring systems: If you want round the clock reassurance, devices like Canary can help provide peace of mind. Discreet room sensors are installed in the rooms used most often and track movement, so if anything out of the ordinary happens, you'll be sent a text. You can monitor what time your relative gets up, when they visit the kitchen, when they leave the house and come back and check to see if visitors have been to the property. You can also check the property's temperature and door sensors will let you see if windows are open, or if the fridge is being accessed frequently.
Image credit: Flickr/British Red Cross.