5 New Technologies to Help Seniors Age in Place

The influx of aging baby boomers also known as the silver tsunami is on the horizon. This means that the number of Americans over the age of 65 will double in the next 25 years. By 2030, the life expectancy of Americans is expected to reach 110.

graph of population projections from US Census Bureau
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division

Longer life expectancy is a dream come true for most of us because that means we can be around much longer, we have more time to pursue our goals and passion and we’ll have more time to spend with our loved ones. Thanks to medical and scientific advancements, we can finally live longer.

However, longevity is starting to put pressure on companies to come up with long-term solutions that can keep up with the graying population’s need to live longer and independently. Can the market keep up with the massive exodus of Americans from the workforce to their homes?

Apparently, yes, courtesy of new technologies.

According to AARP, around 90% of seniors prefer to age in place. While there are a lot of cheap long-term care facilities such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities, aging at home continues to be a popular choice among seniors. Aging in place is very appealing to the older population since it is affordable, familiar and allows them to stay close to their loved ones.

However, homes aren’t senior-friendly, to begin with. Their design poses considerable risks that can put the health, safety and overall being of seniors in danger. With the steady rise of people living longer and more people choosing to stay at home, new technologies or gerontechnology can help Americans age in place and live independently with utmost comfort and security.

Here are must-have new technologies that foster aging in place.

Monitoring Systems

Seniors experience mental and physical challenges as they grow older, which makes them vulnerable to accidents, injuries, falls. The latter being the leading cause of serious injuries among seniors. In fact, 1 in 4 Americans 65 and up fall each year according to National Council on Aging.

But, falling can be prevented or reduced by making lifestyle adjustments, home modifications and by using technology that helps track your movements. There are lifesaving devices such as fall alerts that can automatically send alerts to a family member or 911 when an elderly falls. Plans for medical alerts start from $30 per month depending on the device, which is a good deal since fall injuries are costly and life-threatening.

Another wearable tech monitor worth checking out is a smartwatch that tracks the wearer’s movement, heart rate, sleep patterns and other useful health data. The latest smartwatch can store 30-day data that can help family members track signs of physical decline and they can intervene right away.

Telehealth

One of the health issues that seniors encounter is limited mobility, which makes it difficult for them to go to their doctor’s appointment. Well, that’s part of the past now since telehealth can now bring the doctor to you.

This new tech provides ease and convenience for patients to consult a doctor through a secure video conferencing platform. Through this innovation, more seniors can now receive medical advice and quality healthcare without leaving the comfort of their homes.

Telehealth can be used for basic care like coughs, colds, follow-up consultations and emergency care. Seconds matter when there is a medical emergency especially if the patient is home alone. Chances are, some patients will die because they are far from a hospital. By using telehealth, seniors who need emergency care can be remotely connected to life-saving care and can help family members whether the patient can be treated remotely under the supervision of a doctor or a trip to the emergency room is required.

Another benefit of telehealth is connecting elderly patients in rural areas to quality healthcare that lack in advanced medical facilities. Today, more rural hospitals are shutting down now because of financial instability and shortages, which makes telehealth a must-have for seniors living in rural areas.

Home Security Systems

Making homes completely senior-friendly is costly. However, there are new technologies that can make aging in place conducive for seniors who want to age independently.

Adding home security systems such as motion detectors can enhance aging in place. It is also beneficial to family members who want to make sure that their aging loved ones are safe as they live independently. These sensors track movement around the house and alerts can be set up in case the sensors haven’t tracked movements for a few days to make sure that family members will be alerted to check their aging loved one.

Motion detectors can also be used as a security device to the property where the senior resides. These sensors can alert the homeowner in case there is movement on the property after dark.

Medication Reminder

Most often than not, seniors forget to take medications, take too many pills or to take medications at the wrong time, which has serious implications. Due to the decline in cognitive condition, seniors find it hard to take right dosage of medications and at the right time.

Medication reminder notifies seniors when it’s time to take medications, and in case they are not taken, family members will be notified. In addition to this, medication dispensers are programmed to dispense proper medications and dosage at the right time.

Tablet Computers

To age in place successfully, seniors should also maintain social engagement and not just focus on their health, security, and independence. Seniors can achieve that by using tablet computers that allows them to keep in touch with their friends and loved ones.

These gadgets may seem too complicated and overwhelming for seniors, but they are actually a big hit for those who want to keep up with technology.  They can also use these to keep themselves busy by playing games like puzzles or Sudoku, watch movies and read ebooks. These activities can help them pass the time and at the same time stimulate their mind, fine-tune their motor skills and give them a sense of accomplishment.

Thanks to new technology, more seniors can now age in place independently. These medical advancements are just the tip of the iceberg. Soon, seniors will get their hands on more advanced technology that can solve aging issues and make the transition to aging in place seamless. The best is yet to come for the graying population.

Editor’s Note: This article was contributed by Samantha Stein. Samantha is an online content manager for Association for Long Term Care Planning (ALTCP). Her works focus on long-term care information that covers long-term care insurance, financial planning, elder care and retirement. In line with the organization’s goal, Samantha creates content that helps raise awareness on the importance of having a comprehensive long-term care plan not just for the good of the individual but for the safety of the entire family.

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