Technology quickly becomes advanced and easier to use. Because of the progress of tech, how it integrates into our lives is rising. It has been especially helpful for seniors. Some of the technology is as advanced wearable health-trackers and some can be as simple as adjustable beds. In this article, we’ll explore different ways technology can help seniors.
These are also known as fitness trackers. Health trackers are wearable technology that can monitor basic health parameters. health parameters include heart rate, blood oxygen levels, and sleep quality. Some advanced trackers can also monitor blood pressure, blood glucose, and fall detection. As we get older, our bodies can weaken. Hence, it is important to monitor vital health signs. This wearable technology can also make calls and send messages. That feature is important in emergencies. Moreover, as we get older, the more we have to stay active to keep our health up. Health trackers also monitor activity levels, like counting steps and monitoring exercises.
Sleep is important for good health. There’s a misconception that the older we get, the less sleep we need. The truth is adults need the same amount of sleep for the rest of their life. Having the right bed is important in getting good sleep. With adjustable beds, the position of the bed can change to suit the person’s comfort needs. There are also adjustable beds for seniors that have features specific for seniors. For example, some adjustable beds have a feature called hi-low. This feature raises and lowers the bed, making it easier for someone to get in and out. It’s a simple feature, but useful to an older adult who may have trouble moving.
Smart Pill Dispensers
The traditional pill dispensers are small containers that carry medicine for the day. The small ones come in a set of 7 containers, one for each day. Each daily container is sometimes divided into 2 or 3 for different times of that day. You refill the dispenser every week. The bigger dispensers can fit 90 days’ worth of medicine. Smart pill dispensers are like that but upgraded. These devices organize, schedule, and deliver your medicines. They can be managed through an app or voice command. The device can also monitor the medicine intake. If the person misses an intake, then a report can be sent to loved ones or a caregiver.
Intelligent Virtual Assistant
In the US, about 28% of adults over the age of 60 live alone. That number translates to 14.7 million seniors. Living alone can be tough. It can be tougher for seniors who may have special health needs. An intelligent virtual assistant technology (IAT) can help make living alone for seniors easier. The IVA can monitor the senior’s health like a wearable health tracker does. In a smart home, the IVA can also activate and use devices like a coffee maker, the TV, or the mobile phone. IVT is also voice-activated, so there’s no need for a senior to make their way to the device to use it. Commands can be made while lying down or seated.
Medical Alert Systems
Medical alert systems (MASs) are also known as a personal emergency response system. A MAS is a device that gives emergency monitoring in and out of the home. The basic components of a MAS is a base unit called a console and a mobile pendant with a help button. The console is set up at home. The seniors can wear the pendant whenever and wherever. During an emergency, they can press the button and alert a call center. The call center will then call for emergency medical personnel. A MAS can also be installed in a vehicle. This version can detect crashes and use GPS to pinpoint the person’s location. The call center is available 24/7.
Video games are probably an unexpected part of this list. They are mostly associated with kids. But video games are for everyone regardless of age. Thanks to the internet, video games can also be used for virtual socializing. People have been making friends through gaming since video games went online. Plus, they can be great fun. Yes, there’s a learning curve, but what task doesn’t? More seniors are turning to video games for entertainment and socializing. In 2016, it was reported that there were 40 million senior gamers. By 2019, that number rose to 51 million. It was even reported that gaming revenues in 2021 rose thanks to older gamers.
Below is more technology that isn’t as common as the ones above. But, the development of these technologies is ongoing and pioneering products are emerging
Cognitive Artificial Intelligence
Cognitive artificial intelligence (CAI) is AI that mimics human behavior and reasoning. One of its applications is problem-solving, but for seniors, CAI can act as a virtual companion. The CAI can initiate and engage in conversations. It can also remind seniors about their medication and lead them in physical activities. Future developments of CAI include security and emergency systems to keep seniors safe.
A common use of virtual reality (VR) is video games. In the industry, VR is also used to run simulations. For caregivers, VR can be used to simulate caring for a senior patient with special health conditions, like Alzheimer’s. Part of the experience is showing the caregivers the perspective of their patients. So caregivers can experience what it’s like to have Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. In this case, VR can indirectly help seniors by giving better training to their caregivers.
Nothing can beat the love of a dog or cat. But real animals can be a handful. Seniors may struggle to take care of them. In that case, robotic pets may be a good alternative. Current robotic pets look like real animals on the outside. But on the inside, they are machines guided by artificial intelligence. These robots have sensors that let them interact with their owners as a real pet would. The AI is so advanced that the robot shows the unique trait to engage with people. They can play, soothe, and give joy to their owners.
Getting old can be tough. Luckily, technology has been advancing as we age and can make life a little easier. If you can, give any of the tech mentioned here a try on yourself or an older loved one and see how it affects their life.