Healthcare has transformed tremendously in the past 50 years. Thanks to the emergence of technologies, medical innovation has achieved unprecedented advancement levels that were unimaginable before. As society ages, the need for innovative solutions to support seniors’ unique challenges becomes increasingly apparent. It was even more evident during the peak of COVID-19. Fortunately, the technology sector has developed various state-of-the-art advancements for older adults.
According to a study, an astonishing 90% of individuals 65 years old and above express their desire to age gracefully in the familiarity and convenience of their residences. Their preference is to stay in their homes.
However, we have a problem with a decreasing number of caregivers. Luckily, technology has stepped up and is coming to the rescue, ensuring this heartfelt wish becomes a reality.
We will look at the five technological advancements that have drastically transformed the lives of the elderly. From promoting safety and independence to fostering social connections and improving healthcare, these technological breakthroughs have reshaped how we care for and empower the older generation. So, keep on reading.
In 2023, technology will impact every aspect of our life. Technology can significantly benefit older people. It has the potential to improve the quality of life for older individuals. What is even better is technology can even extend their lifespan. Let’s take a look at some of the top tech products helping elders do just that.
Health and wellness are vital concerns for older adults. Smartwatches and fitness bands have become indispensable gadgets. They can keep track of health indicators, physical activity levels, and sleep patterns. Additionally, these devices monitor heart rate, blood pressure, step count, and sleep quality.
Recent advancements in smartwatch technology have brought about significant changes, especially for older adults. Among older people, falls represent a prominent cause of injury-related fatalities. However, with the incorporation of cutting-edge fall detection capabilities in smartwatches, a crucial safety net is provided.
With their sensors, these smartwatches can recognize when the person wearing them takes a tumble. They can then swiftly react by notifying emergency services if needed. Moreover, should the person remain immobile after the fall, the smartwatch will automatically initiate the alert process, ensuring timely assistance is summoned to the scene.
If you believed that smartwatches only served the purpose of timekeeping, you would be mistaken. For example, Fitbit is changing the market by providing fitness trackers and smartwatches. Similarly, other companies are now entering the market, paving a new and improved future for older people.
Home devices have transformed how we interact with our living spaces. An internet connection is all you need to convert your home into a smart one. Voice-controlled virtual assistants, like Amazon Echo and Google Home, are constantly improving and helping elders do things more swiftly at house. These devices allow seniors to control various home functions. Elders can now easily turn on lights or adjust the thermostat with just their voice.
People can effortlessly keep a close eye on their household appliances through user-friendly apps. These nifty apps often enable seamless control from smartphones or tablets, turning regular homes into smart ones with remarkable benefits.
The perks of a smart home extend beyond convenience; they can lead to substantial savings and reduced expenses. Moreover, they act as guardians, preventing potential accidents, and serve as helpful reminders for medication or therapy schedules. Voice-automated devices come to the rescue for those with limited vision, providing a hands-free experience.
By integrating with cameras and locks, smart homes offer enhanced security, allowing hosts to identify visitors before granting access. They also prevent the inconvenience of getting locked out and permit the approval of entry for familiar caregivers without any need to get up physically. Indeed, technology has opened doors, making everyday life safer and more accessible for everyone.
If you have not heard about artificial intelligence in 2023, you must live under a rock. The AI industry is rapidly growing and integrating with healthcare to offer revolutionary solutions.
Consider an advanced computer software designed to aid in healthcare, where providing crucial information about your symptoms allows it to make potential diagnoses. That is becoming a wonderful reality. Unlike a human doctor, this software doesn’t depend on memory or experience to map your symptoms or conditions.
Instead, it relies on the data you provide to draw informed conclusions. Remarkably, in some cases, its diagnostic accuracy surpasses human intervention, making it an invaluable tool in the realm of medical analysis. Such fantastic technology truly brings a new dimension to the field of healthcare.
One of the aspects of AI’s contribution to healthcare systems is its ability to identify issues swiftly. Depending on the information that you are feeding an AI system, it becomes capable of monitoring the movements of older people and notifying any changes that might be of interest.
For example, consider an AI system closely monitoring a patient’s bathroom visits, detecting even the subtlest changes that could signal a potential urinary tract infection. Surprisingly, it may identify these signs before the care staff notices any problem.
Moreover, this intelligent system can be crucial in recognising increased patient falls or “wandering behaviour,” providing doctors with early insights into possible physical or mental health concerns. It’s like having a vigilant and caring companion that ensures early intervention and enhanced patient medical care.
For instance, Healthtap recently introduced a unique feature in its app called Dr. A.I., a chatbot that helps patients figure out their medical problems. Affordable solutions like this can truly change the healthcare industry.
Loneliness can be a dangerous thing. Loneliness in adults can increase the chances of early death by a whopping 26%. However, robot companions are helping elders battle social isolation and keeping them busy by offering games to play with and having regular conversations. Sure, there is a stigma around AI and robotics and how they should not take up human roles. However, times are changing, and what was luxury once or simply unthinkable is now becoming necessary.
Even today, the idea of robots assisting in care settings may seem too much like a futuristic concept. Nevertheless, their remarkable capacity to carry out tasks that typically entail physical interaction has rendered them invaluable in mitigating the spread of diseases. Consequently, robots have garnered interest in recent times.
The future focus will revolve around how robots can ease the burden on overburdened healthcare workers and families of elderly individuals living alone. These robots come in various forms, from basic models that deliver medicine or food to more robust machines that aid patients in getting out of bed and into their wheelchairs.
Naturally built for heavy or unskilled tasks, robots can significantly help reduce physical strain, thus allowing care staff to focus on their areas of expertise, offering compassionate care. These mechanical assistants have a role in improving the quality of care for individuals who require assistance.
What does 5G have anything to do with healthcare? But, one of the biggest challenges faced by the healthcare industry is swift communication. A faster and more robust network infrastructure means better communication. This, in turn, eases the burden on hospitals and medical practitioners while ensuring seamless and reliable sharing of critical patient data.
Consider the home care industry, where the advent of the 5G network holds immense potential. With its arrival, point-of-care diagnostics is set to witness remarkable improvements, promising better and quicker assessments of patients’ health conditions. Moreover, home monitoring has become more reliable and efficient, empowering healthcare providers to offer their patients proactive and personalized care plans.
One of the most significant advantages of a faster network is the seamless data exchange between care staff, general practitioners, hospitals, and care managers or providers. This technology facilitates swift decision-making, ensures continuous monitoring, and streamlines care coordination to deliver the best patient outcomes.
Notably, older adults residing in rural areas are not left behind in this technological revolution. With the advancement of internet connectivity, individuals can now easily access healthcare technology and services without experiencing any delays, regardless of location. The digital transformation bridges geographical gaps, ensuring every individual receives timely and high-quality care, irrespective of location.
With technology becoming an integral part of modern healthcare, the promise of a faster network translates into a brighter and more accessible future for medical care. It empowers individuals to receive comprehensive and personalized attention, making healthcare more efficient, compassionate, and patient-centric for everyone involved.
Implementing tech innovations tailored to the needs of older adults has proven to be a transformative force, enabling greater independence, safety, and well-being. As more individuals express their desire to age in place, these technologies play a pivotal role in making that dream a reality.
We must keep investing in research and development to customize these technologies for the requirements of our ageing population. By promoting partnerships among healthcare professionals, technologists, and policymakers, we can guarantee that everyone, including those living in underserved regions, can benefit from these advancements.