Tech For Seniors: 3 Innovations That Are Improving Senior Care
As the massive Baby Boomer generation ages, the population of seniors in America is growing, and it's expected to double by 2030, when experts estimate a senior population of about 70 million. But while seniors are living longer thanks to improvements in medicine and health knowledge, many of them still need more care and attention than they needed in their younger years. Adult children of seniors and the medical community are struggling to find ways to provide needed care for an expanding demographic. Some of the answers may lie in new advances in technology. Check out these innovations that are already improving the lives of seniors and their caregivers.
One thing that many seniors lack enough of is companionship. The golden years can actually be very lonely years. Adult children move away or get busy with their own lives. Spouses and long-term friends pass away. Mobility becomes impaired, making it difficult to get out and interact with other and engage in fun activities. This kind of social isolation can lead to depression, which can cause or exacerbate other serious health conditions.
Believe it or not, the answer may lie in a kind of virtual pet. One such pet, known just as Buddy, is a tablet-based app that allows its users to communicate using a cartoon-style dog as a type of avatar. Seniors don't need to be able to navigate onscreen keyboards to use the app – it can be controlled by voice or touch alone. Real pets are known to have a therapeutic effect on the elderly, and it's hoped that a virtual pet may bring the same sort of satisfaction, while also reducing or eliminating feelings of loneliness.
GPS trackers are already used to keep track of objects and pets. One entrepreneur created a tracking device for children, and found that he was actually missing out on an important market – people who wanted to use the device to track seniors, namely those suffering from Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia.
Seniors with dementia are prone to wandering, and can easily become lost and disoriented, unable to find their way back home or to somewhere safe. There have been cases of seniors being injured or killed while wandering in a confused state. GPS trackers for seniors can help caregivers ensure that their charges are safe, without having to unnecessarily restrict the movements of the seniors in their care.
Some caregivers and adult children are making use of technology to monitor the seniors in their care extensively from another location. A home equipped with senior monitoring equipment might have sensors that detect when the refrigerator or medicine cabinet is opened and closed, weight sensors that can tell if the senior is in bed or in a chair, and digital scales and blood pressure cuffs, all of which transmit the information they record over the internet to a caregiver's computer.
While a home tricked out in cameras and sensors might seem a bit Orwellian, it allows adult children who are living long distance or who work long hours to stay informed, and may allow them to alert a local authority or emergency rescue team immediately in case of emergency. Seniors who don't mind accepting this type of monitoring may be better able to "age in place" – the current term for staying in one's own home instead of moving into an retirement home or a nursing facility.
As the population continues to age and technology continues to advance, you can probably expect to see many more innovations that will help seniors live healthier and more comfortable lives. If there's a senior in your life that you care about, keep an eye out for these new technologies. Speak with a company like ComForcare Home Care - Bloomfield Hills, MI for more information.