This topic of how technology can help in Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) was broken up into two parts. Last week we covered technology and services that could help with medication and driving safety . In this week’s blog, we discuss technologies that can help with financial responsibilities and the locating of important items. You will be invited to share in the comments section any other tips or technologies that you found to be helpful!
For those who are not comfortable with technology, consider enlisting the help of a tech-savvy friend or relative – or just about anyone under the age of 30 – for a tutorial or to set up everything for you. Professional services are also available from companies such as GeekSquad, HelloTech, Amazon Home Services, and others.
Safety with MCI can become a serious concern. Individuals may find themselves asking questions such as:
- Is it prudent to take trips and travel in foreign places?
- Can I still manage the finances?
- What can we do when keys, wallet, or phone is misplaced?
The “Big Three” safety topics we like to address are medication safety, driving safety, and financial safety. These involve high stakes situations in which we need to be very careful. In addition to improving overall safety, technologies can enable our loved ones to function more independently for longer. Let’s talk about ways technology can help.
Automatic Bill Pay. Most companies and agencies now offer automatic bill pay service. Using it can reduce the risk of missing a payment or paying a bill twice. You still can opt to receive the paper bill (which your loved one can continue to review) and request to be notified if the bill exceeds an amount you specify. Signing up can be done online or by filling out a form.
Online Banking. One of the conveniences of online banking is fewer trips driving to the bank! New features are being added all the time, such as the ability to deposit paper checks online, the ability to set limits on transaction amounts, and immediate text notifications for suspicious activity or even every single charge made to your debit/credit card. If you’re worried about security, some experts argue that online payments are more secure and less subject to fraud than paper checks and physical credit cards.
A Warning about Social Media and Financial Scams. Facebook is a very popular technology. Unfortunately, financial schemes are getting more sophisticated than ever. Scam artists have reportedly been able to use advanced data mining techniques to identify their targets on Facebook. For example, they could determine who is likely to be an elderly, rich, away on vacation, lonely, sick, vulnerable, etc. All this information can be used to develop very plausible-sounding scams. Be careful what you post on Facebook!
Locating Misplaced Items
Tile, Duet, and other tracking devices. Tired of misplacing the wallet, keys, phone, day planner, remote control, eyeglasses? Tracking devices have gotten smaller over the years and can be attached to the item and then made to “ring” when you can’t find it. Enough said.
Location Tracking Apps. These are smartphone apps that allow you to see the location of another smartphone on a map, as long as it is turned on and has reception. What this means is that you can track the phone and the person who has the phone, regardless of whether the person knows how to operate the smartphone. These apps allow you to have an idea of where they might be with varying degrees of accuracy (I use one that is somewhere in the range of 250 feet). Examples include Life360 for android and Find My Friends for iPhone.
Amazon Echo (Alexa), Apple Home Pod, Google Smart Home. Smart home hubs have become more budget-friendly, and new capabilities are added every day that can add to our safety, convenience, and quality of life. These smartphone or voice-activated hubs allow you to verbally set timers and alarms (helpful when cooking!), and to call any number in your smartphone’s contact list – including your own phone, if you need help locating it. These hubs can control other smart devices by voice or using a smartphone. They can, as examples, let you lock the doors to your home, turn off/on all the lights, or control the thermostat. My kids also love to ask Google to tell them a joke!
The information is this two-part blog was not meant to cover an exhaustive list of what new technologies are available. New products, apps, and features are developed every day. They were designed to make everyday life more convenient, but in some cases these advances could allow individuals to maintain a higher level of independence for longer and improve overall safety.
We invite you to share any experiences you have had with a technology or product that you recommend (or don’t recommend) for living with MCI, in the comments below! Have you found a way to use a technology that really helps your loved one? Is there a new product or service that you want to tell us about? We suggest you use this format in the comments:
- Technology/Product Name:
- What it’s supposed to do:
- Your experience:
Disclaimer: I was not compensated in any way by any of the companies mentioned in this blog. All specific technologies and products mentioned by name are examples, not endorsements, and we don’t mean to suggest that they are superior to other similar options.