CES 2013: Helpful emergency gadgets for seniors


LAS VEGAS -- Falls happen, even to the most balanced of us. But what if no one is around to help?

As our parents, grandparents and maybe even some of us age, it’s becoming increasingly important and desirable to go about life without limitations but feel like there’s a safety net if we should need it. And several tech companies have recognized the need.

At the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show, a couple of the many items focused on continued independence, mobility and security.



For the silver citizen on the go, Philips Lifeline has a new personal emergency response system, GoSafe, that will get you help wherever you are. In fact, it will know whether you’ve fallen and will summon help if you don’t respond, whether you’re at home or out and about.

This newly released device uses Wi-Fi in addition to assisted GPS and cell-tower triangulation to piece together your exact location. And if that doesn’t work, the device has an audio beacon as well.

The GoSafe response system will be available in March.

For folks with less of a need for monitoring, VTech is highlighting its CareLine Home Safety Telephone System, which has the requisite corded base and cordless handset combo. What sets it apart from being just another phone for seniors is its portable pendant.

To be clear, this isn’t a monitoring system and probably wouldn’t be the best option for those who are better served with those.

The rechargeable CareLine pendant eliminates the need to juggle. It offers a cordless phone around your neck, with two programmable buttons -- one could be a relative or neighbor and the other could be 911. The wearer can also voice dial any of the 50 numbers they have programmed into the system’s phonebook.

The corded handset sports a large-text display, large amber-backlit buttons, audio boost for hearing those low-talkers and speed-dialing buttons that can have a photo added to them for faster recognition.

The answering machine, fairly standard, does sport a “slow” button that can help with replaying messages from those racing through their phone numbers.

The VTech CareLine system runs $120 and doesn’t require any monthly fees for monitoring. (There is no monitoring.) It’s available for purchase now.


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