Aging adults make up over 13 percent of the population of the United States, and that number is growing every year. The steady increase in seniors is due to the high number in the baby boomer generation. Roughly 76 million baby boomers are not classified as seniors yet.
Unlike previous generations, baby boomers are aging well thanks to recent technology. Aging in place is significantly easier today than it was just 15 years ago. Some of the following advances in technology are helping seniors with aging in place.
The internet has been around for a while now, but the amount of things we can do with the internet has increased over time. A concept called The Internet of Things (IoT) is a perfect example of how the internet helps with aging in place.
The Internet of Things is a concept that refers to devices being connected or turned on with an internet connection and are able to share data using the internet. This includes computing, digital, and mechanical devices that are able to transfer data.
IoT can also apply to the medical world, also referred to as Internet of Medical Things (IoMT). This focuses on medical professionals that can connect to each other. IoMT improves communication and care for patients aging well.
In addition to communicating with each other, medical professionals can also monitor and maintain patients health remotely by connecting to equipment.
GPS services are not new when it comes to technology, but the capabilities in the past decade have improved. Two specific features have grown significantly: details convery via satellites and location accuracy.
You may question how this can help aging adults. The short answer is that it adds security to their life. The primary use for GPS services with seniors is locating a senior who may have gotten turned around and does not know where they are or how to get home.
It is common for aging adults to have memory loss problems that typically stem from Alzeimer’s disease or dementia. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, over 60 percent of people with Alzheimer’s will wander, which can result in getting lost and potential injuries.
The capability of being able to locate seniors that are lost or wanding is crucial in making sure they are safe, but also able to maintain their independence.
Cell phone technology has grown significantly in the past 10 years. Most people have some type of smartphone that can download apps. The variety of phone apps and what they can do is known as one of the biggest advances in technology.
Smartphone apps can help aging adults and their caregivers keep track of their medications,heart rate, or their location.
The information collected in the apps can be easily sent to doctors or other healthcare providers to keep track of the patients health and any issues. The apps can also help family members keep track of their aging loved ones.
In addition to helping keep track of their health, apps can help aging adults with hobbies like reading news, books, audiobooks, or puzzles.
Whether you are using a smartphone, tablet, or medical alert system, virtual assistants can help seniors get help or keep track of their own medical needs such as prescriptions or exercising. By using these virtual assistants, the patient will not require help from someone else to remember what they need to maintain.
Alarms and reminders can be set up on devices and apps to help remind seniors of things that need to do or monitor. They can also connect with others like family members, healthcare professionals, or peers to build a community.
One of the most common emergency response services available is a medical alert system. There are a variety of medical alert system options to pick from when finding the best option. It is important to research the companies behind the medical alert system and the plans and services they provide. Do the homework to find out if they have 24-hour monitoring and if they will require a contract.
Medical alert systems are advertised and mostly thought of for seniors who have fallen, gotten lost, or hurt themselves while they are alone without anyone around to help. Caregivers and family members have been buying these systems for those that may suffer from sight, hearing, and mobility issues.
The newer medical alert systems also offer GPS tracking to help locate the user in case they are lost or not responding. Another recent feature is designed to help those who fall by having either a fall detection or airbags around the hips.
Help with medication is one of the most important features that have come with technology. People of all ages take some type of medication, and many of them struggle to remember when to take them or if they have already taken them that day. Another common problem is the misuse of prescription drugs due to poor communication between doctors.
The options available to help remember medications can be overwhelming. Some may find that having a pill organizer is enough to get them to remember their medications, but others may need more of a push. Apps and most medical alert systems both offer a medication reminder setting that can be easily utilized.
In a study by USA Today, they reported that “hundreds of thousands of seniors” are misusing the prescription drugs due to over prescribe narcotic painkillers for multiple conditions that can occur at the same time. These conditions can vary from something like joint pain to anxiety and depression.
The issue of overmedicating is a different problem in itself, but using technology to keep track of the medications being taken and prescribed can help decrease the chances of prescription drug misuse.
Technology has already made a huge impact with how people live and age, and things will continue to change as time continues. Rather than fight technology, you can use it in a way that suits your lifestyle and allow it to improve your life and the process of aging well.