The Impact of Technology on How We Care for Seniors
Technology is in the driver seat in the senior care industry all over the world. More retirement homes are using technology not only for leisure but for convenience and safety, too. In the United States, experts predict that the active-aging industry will grow to $30 billion in two years. That number will grow each year because the baby boomer generation is joining the retirement community.
Look at the numbers: more than 13% of the US population are seniors. Many of them are in a nursing facility either because they have medical conditions, or they could not take care of themselves alone. But these seniors also generate at least $7.6 trillion in economic activity, the latest figures said. So as older adults double by 2050 to represent 20% of the population, entrepreneurs will find a way to develop products that will allow these seniors to live active and independent lives.
Although many seniors live in assisted-living facilities and nursing homes, many of them just don’t have a choice. In a survey, they said they want to live on their own as much as they can. They want to be active, and they want to age gracefully. Technologies for safety and smart living will help them live their old ages with dignity. Most of these devices focus on remote care, wellness and fitness, and smart technology.
Medical Alert Systems
The reason why seniors can’t live alone is because their caregivers (family and relatives) fear for their health. They might fall or get into an accident, and no one is there to help them. With medical-alert systems, seniors can call for help after an accident. If they are unconscious, these systems can also alert caregivers that something isn’t right in the home. The best thing about this is it’s not a separate device that the seniors have to wear. You can put these alert systems in their jewelry, clothes, watches, and many other things.
How do you take care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease? As much as you read about it from the internet, can a caregiver ever really understand what it feels like to suffer from these? That’s why many are now trying a virtual reality program where the caregivers take in the “reality” of someone with Parkinson’s, macular degeneration, Alzheimer’s, and many more.
Through these virtual realities, caregivers will understand the emotional chaos and the physical disabilities that go with these diseases. This will improve the way they care for their seniors. They will develop empathy for what these seniors are going through.
Robots and voice-activated devices can help older adults avoid loneliness and social isolation. This is a common problem among seniors living in assisted-living facilities and care homes. They do not have families near them. They struggle with making friends immediately. Artificial intelligence such as robots can initiate conversations, even asking seniors if they have taken their medicines.
Loved ones can connect via these robots, too. They can send photos and videos, which the device will show on a screen attached to its body. This is an important development especially for those who did not learn how to communicate with their loved ones via technology.
Aren’t you worried about leaving your parents with nurses and caregivers? The National Council of Aging said that one in 10 adults over 60 years old is a victim of abuse and neglect, whether physical, sexual, or emotional. This worries caregivers a lot, of course. Thankfully, cameras can ease these concerns. If you are not comfortable leaving your parents to caregivers, you may install cameras around your house to watch them from your phone.
Make sure that the caregivers know about the existence of the camera. Depending on where you live, the caregivers can file a case against you if nanny cams are not allowed under the law. Check your state’s laws first before installing these cameras inside your parents’ house.
One of the things that seniors have to face in the reality of aging is their inability to drive for themselves. As they get older, their reflexes begin to slow down and they couldn’t see at night. Not being able to drive yourself to the grocery is frustrating. Lately, a lot of car manufacturers are tinkering with the idea of autonomous driving. At the very least, this should allow seniors to take control of the car only when there is an impending accident. For the most part, the car is super smart that it doesn’t need the driver’s help.
Technology has a lot of benefits to society, including in senior care. It’s all about innovation. And if you look at the market right now, the senior-care industry isn’t just adopting technology. Tech experts are creating technology specifically for seniors.
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