It’s no secret that the senior age group is growing faster than ever before. With 1.6 billion people over the age of 65 worldwide, seniors are growing three times faster than other age groups.
With aging comes increased concerns about health and senior care. Seniors and caregivers alike need all the help they can get when it comes to improving health and quality of life during the senior years. Fortunately, healthcare technology is advancing all the time to help caregivers create a better experience for seniors.
One major advancement in recent years has been the rise of wearable technology. You may already be familiar with wearables like the Apple Watch and Fitbit. There is already a wealth of consumer apps on the market for monitoring and tracking useful health data.
A technology called remote patient monitoring (RPM) takes things further by electronically transferring health information directly from patients to physicians.
Common RPM technologies include voice apps that can monitor a patient’s insulin, blood pressure cuffs that transmit BP data to their physician, and more.
RPM technology brings some serious benefits to the table, not the least of which is a reduction in costly and difficult visits to the clinic. In some cases, the use of RPM technology has seen a 75% decrease in hospital re-admissions among users.
Remote monitoring has become especially useful and important during the pandemic, where a hospital visit can mean increased health risks on top of the existing expense and difficulty.
The good news is, RPM technology is rapidly growing more accessible and affordable, meaning there’s not only a great opportunity for caregivers to improve seniors’ quality of life, but those looking to get into a healthcare career can find their niche by specializing in this technology.
Smartphones have already changed our lives in previously unfathomable ways. While mastering the use of a smartphone can be a hurdle for some seniors, the potential benefits to health and quality of life are enormous.
Beyond the innovations of remote patient monitoring, there are also apps that can help seniors track their medication or exercise, or set reminders for doctor’s appointments and other important dates. Other smartphone apps that can be useful for seniors include Good Rx for comparing prices on medication, and panic button apps for emergencies.
But dedicated medical apps aren’t the only way smartphones can help seniors with their quality of life. Apps like FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, or Google Meet can boost moods and help fend of depression by letting seniors communicate with family members and loved ones without having to make a physical journey — which becomes increasingly important when mobility is a factor.
A smartphone can also help with senior health and self-care in indirect ways: grocery delivery apps, online shopping, ride services such as Uber, and the ability to listen to music and watch video at home can be a godsend for seniors whose mobility is a challenge, or who are particularly accident-prone for whatever reason.
Even technology as relatively simple as a website can be a vital part of making life easier for seniors, such as being able to compare assisted living facilities online and even browse pictures and layouts without having to visit in person.
GPS Technology and Security Cameras
Anyone with a loved one who suffers from dementia or other mental disorders knows how stressful it can be when they wander or lose track of their surroundings. This is another case where smartphones can be highly useful, with apps that can track a senior’s location and keep loved ones in the know.
But smarthome technology is also moving forward in this area, with motion sensors, accelerometers and other home technology that can help monitor a senior’s whereabouts, watch for falls, and even provide useful data by tracking habits and behavior patterns. Smarthome automation can also help with more mundane things, such as automatically turning off lights or appliances, and even locking the door at night.
Though not exactly cutting-edge, security cameras can also be an important lifeline between children or caregivers and senior citizens who require some extra attention. Not only can it be useful in preventing and addressing emergencies, but it can also alleviate guilt by helping loved ones stay “in touch” when being there in person just isn’t feasible.
An Emerging Field
Marrying technology with senior care will only become more important as time goes on. Four in ten seniors own a smartphone already, and senior-centered technology is a $30 billion industry.
Mastering modern technology can be a challenge for some seniors, but that trend will likely fade as more tech-savvy generations age into senior status. Advances in health care technology will continue to provide more independence and freedom, keep seniors in touch with doctors, therapists, and loved ones, and provide vital data to help keep seniors happy and healthy for as long as possible.