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At first it might not seem like a fit — wearable tech and seniors — but the truth is, it's a perfect match. The best wearable devices make life easier and safer. They monitor vital stats, render communication effortless and save on trips up and down the stairs (just think how easy it is to shut down your house for the night, thanks to voice commands).
From smart sunglasses and virtual reality units to smartwatches and fitness trackers, modern gadgets are becoming friendlier all the time— and better at improving the lives of older adults. They can keep track of essential belongings, make it simple to go cashless and so much more. That's why wearable tech can make a great holiday gift for the grandparents on your list. The place to start is with a fitness-tracking smartwatch. Here are three winners — plus a "wearable" that keeps track of objects, a pair of smart glasses and earbuds designed to give you a better night's rest.
Best entry-level smartwatch: the Apple Watch SE
This popular smartwatch is known to be ideal for iPhone users because of how easy it is to sync and use. At $219, the Apple Watch SE is nicely priced (by which we mean an awesome $60 off!) and offers every conceivable feature, including a heart rate monitor and voice assistant. It can be used to take calls and reply to texts. It can track workouts and sleep, play music and pay at checkout with Apple Pay. One big benefit for seniors: The Apple Watch SE has a fall detection feature that automatically contacts emergency services.
One reviewer says, “Set up was easy peasy, and I love the additional functions on this watch. I can control Audible from my watch...I can check the time and weather across the globe from my wrist, I can check emails and texts at a glance...and I can record voice memos on the go! I love it!”
Best smartwatch for those with an Android phone: the Samsung Galaxy Watch
Android users, and those who prefer a round watch face, would appreciate the advantages of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4. The most recent version has ECG monitoring to keep an eye on irregular heart rhythms, as well as sleep tracking that can monitor blood oxygen levels continuously. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 also tracks exercise sessions, including swimming, streams music, and allows the wearer to take calls and texts right from the watch. Google apps, including Assistant and Pay, are easily accessible.
One happy customer remarked how “the watch is very lightweight and sleek...I forget it’s there. It’s quiet, comfortable and unobtrusive until it needs to tell me something.” Another reviewer said, “The watch is responsive, the software is quick, and voice commands are great. Battery life is twice what I was used to...Syncing is quick and easy, and the overall experience is...pleasing.”
Best smartwatch for the style-savvy: the Fitbit Luxe
For a high-style fitness wearable, the Fitbit Luxe is a great pick — and it's on sale right now for only $100. The vibrant color touchscreen displays the time, plus health data, like 24/7 heart rate, sleep tracking and breathing rate. It also tracks workouts and stress levels, and provides call and text notifications. The Luxe comes in orchid, black or lunar white and the bands can be upgraded with a variety of chic options, including stainless steel mesh and a link bracelet.
One exercise-resistant reviewer says the Luxe actually got them moving more: “I’ve been using the Fitbit Luxe and...seeing a snapshot of my week...All the data was eye-opening enough as to where my problem areas were. Gave me enough motivation to try at least two 5-10 minute workouts a day from the Fitbit mobile app — in addition to getting at least 10,000 steps. So far I’m very pleased and am going to stick with it!”
Best activity tracker: Fitbit Charge 5 has a seven-day battery life
If a smartwatch seems like overkill, an activity tracker like the Fitbit Charge 5 can be just the thing. It can still track steps, heart rate and SpO2 levels as well as sleep, stress and calorie burn. The Charge 5 features a brilliant color screen and still manages to have up to seven days worth of battery life. It comes in three colors: a pearl white band with a gold device, a black on black or a blue band with a platinum device. Right now the Charge 5 is $50 off, making it just $130.
One reviewer, said at 71, "With the knowledge I have gained from my Fitbit I have lost weight, sleep better and feel better...The app is a must for me. I can control my stress better with the heart rate function and the stress management programs in the app. Very pleased I invested in myself!"
Best for use with Alexa: Fitbit Versa 3
If you already have a smart device with Alexa in your home — like an Echo Show — you'll be pleased to see how well integrated the Fitbit Versa 3 is to that system. You can speak into your watch to get news, set alarms, make reminders and control smart home devices. You can also use the Versa 3 to take Bluetooth calls and play music from Deezer, Pandora or Spotify. And of course it's still a fully functional fitness tracker for running, biking, hiking and more, as well as measuring heart rate and blood oxygen levels.
One reviewer, a widow who wanted to start walking again after her husbands passing, said she found an additional unexpected benefit: "Here's another great plus for the watch. I wear hearing aids and when my phone was in my handbag I couldn't hear it ringing. With the Fitbit, it pulsates on my wrist to let me know if I have a message, notification or if the phone is ringing. So if you have a hearing disability, this watch is great."
Great for everyone: The Tile Tracker keeps tabs on important belongings
One of the best ‘wearables’ out there is is one for stuff — from keys to remote, there’s a Tile tracker that can help you from spending your morning turning over the couch cushions. The Tile is a small sensor that uses Bluetooth to sync to your phone to track an object. If that object — say your passport or car keys — goes missing, you can use a smartphone app to audibly ring your Tile tracker so you can locate it. Alternatively, if you misplace your phone you can double tap the Tile logo on any device itself to make your phone ring (even if it's on silent). Tile makes an essentials pack with one standard square keyring Tile, two round sticker sizes and one credit card sized, that’s slim enough to fit into a wallet (see photo above).
One reviewer, who called the Tile package “just what I needed,” declared “This thing is amazing. The five things I lose the most are my wallet, keys, two remotes and phone. The essentials package takes care of all of them...It easily hooks up to Alexa via Alexa skills. The tones are very loud, even the little stickers ring quite well.
Best Smart Glasses: Amazon Echo Frames provide hands-free features
Amazon's smart glasses, the Echo Frames, can provide many of the same features as a smart watch: You can listen to podcasts or Audible books through them as well as make calls, set reminders, add to a to-do list, control your smart home or get the news. They can also work with a Google Assistant or Siri. The Echo Frames can be outfitted with a prescription, and are lightweight enough to wear all day. Imagine the ease of asking Alexa to start up your audio book and turn off the lights without having to lift a finger!
The Echo Frames are available in multiple styles, with or without a prescription, you can also opt for sunglasses or a blue-light filtering lens. One reviewer, who uses their Echo Frames to listen to podcasts and make calls, shared "The phone quality is excellent: not only can I hear exceptionally well, but I've been told by those on the other end of the line that they can hear me better than when I am speaking directly into my phone."
Best wearable to promote healthy sleep: Bose Sleepbuds II
Although it seems counter-intuitive to recommend wearing earbuds to sleep, the Sleepbuds are not designed to be used as headphones. Rather, the tiny silicone-tipped buds are intended to be used to help you drift off by delivering soothing, noise-masking sounds. The Sleepbuds will only play content from the Bose app, which includes 50 curated sounds. There is also an alarm feature so you don't oversleep! The buds come with three different sized tips for a secure and comfortable fit.
One reviewer, who admits they are a 'former skeptic', was won over: "I set the buds in and turned on the sounds...They worked fantastic! I was hooked. I tried different sounds. Then I found the alarm. The alarm works great!...All in all, I'm really glad I spent the money for these. Best sleep in a long time!"
Looking for more great Amazon deals? Check these out:
Headphones and earbud deals:
Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus, $100 (was $150), amazon.com
Video game deals:
Motorola Moto G Stylus, $270 (was $300), amazon.com
Smart home deals:
Kasa Smart Plug HS103P2, $13 (was $20), amazon.com
Kasa Full Color Smart LED Bulb, $10 (was $22), amazon.com
Deenkee DK600MAX Robot Vacuum, $150 (was $200), amazon.com
Shark Rotator ZU632, $328 (was $380), amazon.com
Herou Womens Mock Turtleneck, $15 (was $29), amazon.com
Ouges Women's Open Front Cardigan, $20 (was $29), amazon.com
Ultrean 8.5 Quart Air Fryer, $90 (was $130), amazon.com
Airpro Pasta Maker Attachment, $72 (was $128), amazon.com
Handcraft Grapeseed Oil, $14 (was $19), amazon.com
Shark HE601 Air Purifier, $300 (was $450), amazon.com
Lemomo Grey Blackout Curtains, $35 (was $44), amazon.com
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