The number of seniors is increasing worldwide, resulting from baby boomers’ reaching the senility ages. This growth leads nations to think of various ways to care for the elderly. Caring for the elderly once needed many human resources like caretakers and nurses, but with recent advances in technology, the dependence on their family members or caretakers significantly reduced. The process of taking care of the elderly hasn’t changed much for centuries, and they have always needed doctors and caregivers. Some problems are inseparable parts of senile ages, including loss of mobility, memory loss, loss of hearing and vision, and, last but not least, loneliness.
During recent years the world has witnessed tremendous technological breakthroughs, and, notably, these advances have not forgotten the elderly. The development of smartphones and various systems such as IoT and GPS technology has enabled seniors to take care of themselves without requiring anyone being present beside them. In this article, we will cover some smart technologies that have improved our seniors’ life expectancy. These technologies offer ways to facilitate coping with old age’s hardships, and they can also create a safe and enjoyable atmosphere for the elderly to lead their lives peacefully.
Internet of Things (IoT)
You might have heard about the IoT, and it is quite a simple concept. The Internet of Things has tremendously evolved during the past few years. It enables devices to be connected to the Internet and makes them possible to be turned and tuned remotely. It has also facilitated the data-sharing capability of various devices. An alternative of IoT alternative has emerged in the medical field, named the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), and enables families and doctors to control the elderly remotely. It provides insights and visibility about diets, regimens, and drugs.
GPS developed more than decades ago, but it has witnessed significant changes during the last ten years, and the location accuracy and details provided by the satellites have greatly improved.
But one might question the relationship between GPS and senior care. GPS technology helps the elderly who are prone to become lost. It is essentially vital for those of the elderly who are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. According to the recent study by the Alzheimer’s Association, not finding the person for 24 hours can increase the possibility of severe injury or death by up to 50%. Hence, GPS technology can aid families in locating elderly members of their families. GPS chips are relatively small and can be placed on the clothing, inside shoes, or handbags.
The development of smartphones and various applications has been one of the most significant technological improvements the world has experienced during the past few years. The apps developed for seniors have aided both seniors and those who have been taking care of them. Some essential apps are used for heart rate monitoring and reminding the medications. This newly invented technology also keeps a record of seniors’ daily activities and help them stay more active during the day, and send messages to their family members in case of emergency.
The apps can also keep the elderly busy and amused. They are most likely interested in pursuing their religious activities and reading their favorite books. There are endless apps to help them achieve their educational and recreational goals.
Thanks to various devices to help seniors in their medical duties, such as taking their medicine or exercising, there is no need for anyone to be available. Some apps based on artificial intelligence (AI) enable the seniors to talk with the app and get some logical replies. These apps thoroughly eliminate the lonely feeling of the elderly.
Emergency response services (ERS) technology have also developed during the last decade, and they are used to prevent severe dangers while the seniors are alone. Due to the lack of mobility, hearing, and sight, the elderly are potentially at the risk of falling. A company has recently developed a safety belt that can act as an airbag if the elderly falls. The sensors embedded in these belts can notify the emergency services to reach the location as soon as possible.
Memory loss is one of the main problems that affect the life quality of many seniors. BlipIQ is one of the programs which has developed to help those experiencing memory loss. This program enables family members to upload stories, pictures, audio, and texts related to the past. By that, they can keep the mind of the elderly working. Recently, this program has made use of virtual reality to enhance the experience of the elderly.
The Seniors can use a virtual reality headset technology to visit different parts of the world virtually. It is now possible to sync virtual reality so that multiple people can experience an adventure alongside each other. MyndVR is a tool that aims to return the smile to the faces of the seniors. This technology enables them to visit places outside their usual environment like the Great Wall of China. MyndVR has tested in the leading universities. There is growing evidence for its efficacy in increasing the life expectancy of the elderly.
Aura Frames company has recently created a cloud-based photo frame. This tool enables the family members to upload various pictures and revive the old memories of the elderly. The device comes with an easy-to-use application, and users can easily upload photos from their smartphones or services like Google Photos.
A game has also developed for those who have dementia. Deva World is an entertaining activity in which the person can play on a tablet. A character named Julie walks around her house. She sees various animals and items and tape on each item that brings them to life. This game is for creating a sense of agency. There is scientific evidence that playing this game helps the elderly act independently.
More Resources: Smart Home Technologies that Help Seniors
There is a specific potential for applying technologies and innovative ideas to support and protect the mental wellbeing of the elderly. Alongside various apps for the elderly’s mood control, Hapbee is a wearable gadget. It comes with a smartphone app used to control the moods and make the older adult happy, calm, alert, focused, etc. A technology named Human Charger uses earbuds and conducts light therapy to send some signals to the brain’s photoreceptors. It resolved the sleep issues that most seniors experience.
More Resources: Taking Care of the Seniors Using Technology
Life Satisfaction via Computers
Anxiety in using computers or, in general terms, technophobia is one of the most common feelings experienced by the elderly. Studies show that gaining knowledge of computers and learning to use technology encourages seniors to hinder their negative attitudes towards using computers. A survey conducted by Karavidas et al. showed that the elderly who have a close relationship with computers and smart gadgets have more satisfaction in their lives. It also revealed that having access to a computer caused the senior people to have more independence. It keeps them informed about their health issues. Having a connection to social networks also enables them to have higher life satisfaction.
Many seniors are misusing their drugs. Another problem that causes side effects is that our medical community offers narcotic painkillers for various issues like joint pain to depression. Loss of concentration and forgetting to use the drugs as prescribed and at the exact time lead to loss of efficacy. The improvements in technology have led to special pill boxes that allow seniors to know the precise pill they should take. Smart pill bottles are another development that sends the data regarding the medication use to the doctor.
Each of the technologies mentioned in this article has a clear value-add for senior people. These technologies can help them overcome age and ability limitations. It is evident that old age brings about its difficulties, but having access to these technologies makes it easier for senile people to cope with their problems. These devices not only help the seniors spend their time, but they also engender a sense of happiness.