Wearable technology is becoming increasingly popular among older Australians, not just young people. Read on to find out all about the latest wearable technology, its pros and cons, and answers to FAQs.
Wearables tech for health
ne of the most common reasons for people buying wearable tech is to conveniently monitor their health and fitness. Ever had someone tell you how many steps they've taken today? It's odds-on that they have a device like an Apple Watch or a Fitbit. Both have a range of models with different features, but they are all designed to monitor your:
- Physical activity levels.
- Vital signs like your heart rate and blood pressure.
- Sleeping habits.
If you have a medical issue, then wearable technology is available to monitor your condition remotely. For example, you can find wearable heart rate or blood pressure monitors or sensors that can relay data back to health professionals.
You can read more about the best wearable health technology here.
Wearable safety tech
If you still have elderly parents, you can encourage them to wear a fall monitor or other safety device. Fall monitoring devices can help them to continue to live as independently as possible. The device is usually a pendant, wristband or smartwatch (like a NutTag 4G) that can detect when a person wearing it has a fall. An alert is immediately sent to an appropriate or nominated person who can arrange immediate help.
The pros and cons of wearable technology
Wearable technology has its pros and cons. The main advantages of wearable technology are:
- Convenience (it can be with you all the time without you thinking about carrying it or remembering to bring it with you).
- 24/7 health, fitness and safety monitoring.
- Hands-free operation.
The main disadvantages of wearable technology are:
- It needs to be removed and recharged regularly.
- Data provided may not be 100% accurate, depending on the quality of the device and its functionality. But it should be pretty close if you choose a quality device or one recommended by a medical professional.
Is wearable technology safe?
Wearable devices inevitably expose the wearer to small amounts of radiofrequency radiation. However, to be approved for use, all wearable technology devices must have emissions that are below internationally accepted safety standards.
Do you need to be tech-savvy to use wearable tech?
It depends on the functions and capabilities of the device. For most wearable tech, the most common and simple functions are easy to use.
However, as a rule of thumb, the more functions a device has, the more time you'll need to spend learning how to use it.
How expensive is wearable tech?
This depends on the device and how sophisticated it is. As you'd expect, basic devices cost less than those with more features. For example:
- Apple Watch models currently start at $399 and go up to $1,299 for the latest model. If you have an iPhone, you can then connect Apple Watch to your phone plan for a small additional monthly fee. The fee depends on your telecommunication provider, but it averages around $5 per month.
- Fitbit trackers range from $99.95 to $295 for the device itself. You will then need a monthly telecommunications plan to use all the features of the tracker.
- A NutTag 4G will set you back about $299 for the device itself, plus a telecommunications plan of up to $125 for a year. Alternatively, you can pay nothing up front and pay for the device via your monthly telecommunications plan.
Use your smartphone for health info
If you’re not ready to commit to purchasing, learning and paying for a wearable device, why not do what we do and use your smartphone? The iPhone with Apple Health installed as standard will tell you how many steps you’ve walked and the distance, whether or not you’re walking asymmetrically and how much energy you’ve used. If you use headphones, your iPhone will enable you to limit the maximum volume. You can set your phone to alert you to the possibility of a fall, too. If you have a phone other than iPhone, you can use Google Fit. However, this app is designed more to help you with specific workouts rather than tracking your overall health.
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