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  • Posted February 4, 2018

Independence Through Technology

Technology is really leveling the playing field – and it’s exciting to consider the possibilities. Some of the more obvious (to me) are home delivery of groceries and restaurant meals; ride-share apps; and the large number of apps tablets (iPad, Samsung, etc) provide access to.

But let’s take it a step further – with the advent of “smart homes” individuals can potentially gain almost complete independence; to the point where if they need an aide the aide could be more in the background, making sure everything is moving smoothly. Families could set up a refrigerator with the grocery list, and when items need to be replenished the fridge could automatically order – followed by a delivery from a local grocery store. You could even use an app like Task Rabbit to hire someone to help put the groceries away.

Theoretically, a phone/tablet could be programmed to run anything in your home – just imagine. Concerned about elopement, you could control the locks – reducing the risk, and receiving an immediate alert when/if somebody enters/leaves. You can even get real-time video, eliminating any uncertainty about what is happening.

I don’t remember the last time I stepped foot into a bank; and, depending on the State, an ABLE account could provide the same capability. There are current limits on how much can be contributed and saved; but it’s a start. Money could be deposited into the ABLE account; and, through the use of a debit card, individuals could make online purchases through a retailer (with care being taken to ensure they meet the guidelines of “qualified expenses”).

Of course there are drawbacks – it’s no different than anything else. And, some of the technology may be too expensive; so it’s out of reach – right now. One thing I can say for certain, based upon past experience, is as technology becomes more mainstream costs will come down. You don’t need to be an early adopter; let someone else work the bugs out and you can reap the benefits later. But allow yourself to dream, imagine the possibilities. I feel too often we, as parents, get caught up in the now – head down, pushing forward; and don’t allow ourselves to stop, put our heads above the treeline and look around. See what’s available – even if it’s in the future.

Those things in the future – those are our hopes. Will everything work as advertised, or be the 100% solution. Probably not. But isn’t a 50% – 75% solution still better than where you are now? Don’t just allow yourself to hope, give yourself permission to take some time – even if it’s only once/month – to spend an hour or two exploring the app store; or listen to what others are saying. Often this is where I get clued into tech advances. And then, instead of dismissing it out of hand (I think if we’re honest we all do this more than we’d like); pick one or two things to try. And don’t just try it once, give it time to allow yourself to become comfortable with the technology. Then, if it’s not for you – get rid of it, and try again.