Technological advancement has changed how we care and facilitate for the aging population. Various nations have seen a sharp increase in people over 65 and 80 years respectively representing their national population. In the United States, it’s estimated that by 2040, those aged 65 and above will represent more than 21% of the population. These figures present various tech companies with an opportunity to improve and develop technology that can assist and promote better health care practices for those looking to age in place.
The scope of focus here is to seek ways in which technology does not only have the capabilities to work alongside the elderly, but also seek ways in which it can work to improve their health and living conditions.
How can technology improve elderly care?
Technology is a broad-spectrum, harvesting the qualities of Artificial Intelligence (AI), nano-science, big data, and machine learning, among a few. We explored the ways tech has already improved to assist with elderly care.
Wearable technology makes it easier for aging individuals to request emergency services when needed. For communities and individuals living or aging in place, emergency response services are a key element to their overall health and safety. Preferences are given to the technological ideas and concepts explored on platforms such as Health.com, as institutions and various government entities are constantly looking for ways to bring these devices closer to an aging community.
Not only has the global pandemic made it more difficult for the aging population to move around, it’s almost completely isolated them from the outside world. Technology and digital software such as Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, and other conference calling applications have given them the ability to easily communicate with those in remote and distant areas.
Reduced Human interaction
The constant need for human interaction in assisted living and elderly care has somewhat declined in recent months, as attitudes towards robot caregivers changed to become a more viable option.. This of course doesn’t make it more suitable to eliminate human interaction and care for the elderly in communities and individuals.
Although technology has streamlined most of our operations, human error, especially in medical and clinical care for the elderly is still a challenging task. Academic literature indicates that technology has helped reduce the occurrence of human error and neglect in assisted living environments.
5 Ways Technology Helps Older People Live Better
Improved Medical Technology
To improve elderly and assisted living care, we need to focus on medical equipment and apparatus that can help this scope of individuals live better. Emergency response devices, hearing aids, health tracking mobile apps among others, are some of the simple tech tools that make living and aging easier and more convenient. More so, the need to improve on medical technology related to major diseases and illnesses can provide better benefits to those vulnerable individuals who need it the most.
Predictive Medical Devices
AI-based technology is one of the most predictive tools we can implement into our digital software. Advancements in this field have led to the creation of applied science in wearable apparatus that can predict and ameliorate issuesconcerning health and illness. Upgrades in predictive-AI looking to mitigate the dangers of mental illness and other heart-related concerns.
Technology can offer individuals a wide variety of independence. For the aging population, independence is key to ensuring relaxed lifestyle. Research suggests that 15% of surveyed individuals over the age group of 65 felt that robotic caregivers will make them feel more independent, having the ability to remain in their homes.
Decreasing the Cost of Care
Medical and clinical treatment poses the biggest financial burden on elderly populations. Traditional or human caregiving has become a luxury in many ways, and technology can serve as a more financially viable solution. The introduction of automation and robotics allows elderly populations to have better access to emergency services, health protocols, medicine, and clinical care from the comfort of their homes, eliminating the need to travel.
Active Remote Social Participation
A crucial aspect of our everyday lives, remote communication has played a big role in our changing communities in recent years. This form of technology allows elderly individuals to actively participate in remote social gatherings. There is a plethora of digital platforms making it easier for them to socially share and communicate with remote individuals. Skype and Zoom calls can be noticed as some of the most popular, while some advancements have placed focus on emotional aspects – looking to help aging groups find easier ways to communicate with family, support and care staff, other residents, while also having active online and in-person events.
What Type of Technology Is Used to Care for Older People?
ACCOMPANY is a European Union-funded FP7 project looking to reduce issues of isolation and physical activity that can present in aging individuals living alone, or within such a community. The Care-O-Bot, a non-human robot, is set out to assist with visual communication, completing tasks and demands, and acting as a companion. It presents the elderly with a non-human solution to issues of isolation and loneliness, although it’s still relatively important to consider that human interaction is not replaceable by machines, but rather it acts as a short-term solution.
This is one of various projects undertaken by national governments to digitize elderly care with a focus on reducing isolation. Advancements in the field of medicine are still one of the key players that may see an increase in the longevity of the elderly population.
The integration of technology in medical and clinical care can present a more sophisticated solution, prompting the need to mechanize elderly and assisted care. Technology may never fully replace the need for human interaction, but when we focus on the needs of our aging populations and how technology can improve their lives – we may be able to find a balance in how these systems can work for the entirety of our global communities.
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