two senior women going for a run with wearable technology

Wearable Technology: What Is It?

Wearable Technology for Seniors

We all know the world of technology is changing and growing at the speed of light. There are so many products available now — from bracelets that can help you track your fitness activity — to watches that make phone calls. There’s even a ring that can monitor your brain activity while sleeping. Products like these are known as wearable technology, but there are so many different kinds out there, it is getting hard to keep up with. And, it is even harder to know which product is right for you. Some not only improve your life but may even have the ability to save it. After all, these gadgets aren't just for youngsters, there's plenty of wearable technology for seniors as well!

So how do you pick and choose the right product for you?

Medical Alert Bracelets

Medical alert bracelets are a pretty simple technology, but they can be lifesaving. They store your medical data, all of your health history, medications and conditions in one convenient and easy-to-access location on your wrist. If you have a medical emergency and are unable to communicate with the first responders and health professionals, they can look at the data on your medical alert bracelet.

There are two types available to use: USB Alert Bracelets and Tech ID Bracelets. The big difference is that the USB ones have to be plugged into a device, while the Tech ID ones are scanned by medical professionals. I recommend the Tech ID version because it is easier for emergency responders to access the information stored in it. On the other hand, the USB Alert bracelets may not be compatible with the technology the hospital uses. Tech ID bracelets are also 100% waterproof, so you won’t have to worry about the stored data being damaged.

Pros: They can save your life.

Cons: Some are not compatible with hospital technology or the hospital may not use the devices to scan it.

The Fitbit

Fitbits aren’t really new technology, after all it has been around for over ten years now, but that doesn’t make it obsolete. Fitbit has been really great at keeping up with and using the technology in other areas to make fitness watches that are actually very similar to smart watches. You can use them to track your steps and fitness activity, constantly monitor your heart rate, input food and track calories, sync it with your smartphone, receive text messages, monitor sleep, and some even have a GPS.

So, if you want to live a healthier life, count your steps and make sure that you are being more active day-to-day, a Fitbit could be the exact thing you need to get there. There are many pros but also some cons to using a Fitbit.

Pros: they keep you accountable with reminders and targets. They create something tangible by helping you set goals. They can actually provide you with a better idea of what kinds of activities are helping you the most.

Cons: they can become addictive, turning physical activity from something fun into the need to hit a target. They can make users feel obligated to be active at times when they should actually rest. That is why it is always important to listen to your body.

If you are not sure what type of fitness tracker is best for you, there is a great quiz you can take on the Fitbit website that can help you find out!

Smart Watches

I remember when the first Apple watch came out and the world was abuzz because it was revolutionary technology available to the general public. You could now text your friends, browse the internet, make phone calls and play games all from your wrist, without even having to take out your phone! It was pretty cool. Soon, versions from other manufacturers came out (like Google and Samsung), and then the next thing you know designer watch brands like Fossil and Kate Spade are coming out with their own versions.

Pros: it’s an all-in-one center on your wrist. The new Apple Smartwatch series 5 actually has an app that performs an ECG scan! And if you’re like me and are constantly losing your cell phone, you won’t lose the smartwatch because it is literally attached to you.

Cons: the writing on the screen can be smaller and hard to read. As with any technology, smartwatches can also become addictive, especially since its right there all the time on your wrist.

Choosing a smart watch is fairly simple, mainly because a lot of them are only compatible with certain phones. So, the phone you have will determine the watch you buy.

Continuous Glucose Monitors

If you have diabetes, are considered prediabetic, hypoglycemic or are concerned that your blood sugar is too high, then the use of a continuous glucose monitor would be a great wearable device for you. Although this type of technology was originally created for diabetic use only, it is now being used more broadly and is becoming popular in the realm of weight loss.

It works by attaching a small sensor to your body that reads your glucose levels every few minutes. The sensor then sends the information it collects to a readable device or even your smartphone, and it will notify you if your blood sugar is getting too high or too low.

Pros: the continuous glucose monitor can be life saving for someone who is at risk for their blood sugar falling while they sleep. It can also help you determine what foods will make your blood sugar spike. There are even many that are needle-free.

Cons: you have to wear the device at all times. You also have to learn how to read the monitor properly in order to understand the data it gives you.

Wearable Technology for Seniors: The Bottom Line

Our list of wearable technology for seniors certainly doesn't include everything that's out there. But by understanding these a little better, you will have an easier time deciding what type of wearable tech is best for you.