The rate at which technology is advancing now is faster than during any time that’s gone before it. These advances are being seen and experienced most in the medical and healthcare sectors, with innovative new concepts and devices fundamentally changing the way that many conditions are diagnosed and managed.
For the elderly especially, this new tech is bringing a swathe of benefits. We explore below how cutting-edge medical technology is improving the quality of life of seniors and what exciting new advances we can expect to see in the near future.
Medical Alert Systems
Intuitive, user-focused medical alert systems are helping older adults to live independently in their own homes for longer. While it’s now the norm for grown-up children to live some significant distance from their parents, this situation can create anxiety about safety and security for all parties concerned.
The best Medical alert systems have evolved to be very different from the previous clunky emergency call buttons that had to be worn around the neck. Now, there is a range of wireless systems that can be activated by voice and that incorporate discreet wearable tech that resembles a watch or bracelet, meaning that the user is always able to summon help. Many wearables are waterproof, too, so that should a fall occur in the shower, the alarm can be quickly raised.
Some systems even use sonar and machine learning technology to become familiar with a room and the resident’s usual pattern of movement and routines. If the device detects anything that could suggest a fall or other issue, it will immediately alert the necessary parties.
Innovative New Hearing Aids
Advanced hearing aids, which are often highly customizable, are another example of cutting-edge tech that is improving the quality of life of the elderly using them. New hearing aids can now integrate with other devices in the home, such as smartphones, TVs, and smart home systems. Even more revolutionary, many devices are now designed to be able to sync with a user’s hearing aids.
As well as making for a happier, safer home life, the advance in hearing aid tech helps older adults to maintain fulfilling social lives and to stay connected more easily with family and friends.
Health Monitoring Apps
Health monitoring apps are great for providing peace of mind, alerting medical staff if there’s a problem, and helping the user to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
These apps typically monitor vital signs and are being increasingly used to allow people, where it’s considered safe, to leave the hospital in cases where they would normally be kept in a ward simply for monitoring.
The newest versions of health monitoring apps also incorporate medication reminders and fall monitors and provide information on the user’s quality of sleep. Most can be set to stream information to designated loved ones, too.
One of the latest tech advances is designed specifically to help tackle the problem of loneliness and social isolation among the elderly and combines robotics with cutting-edge AI, proactive, learning-capable products that offer companionship as well as practical help.
Some of these devices will even initiate a conversation with the user, as well as give them gentle reminders to take medication or to stay in contact with friends and loved ones. Family members can even connect to the device to send photos that can be viewed on its in-built screen and messages that can be responded to via voice.
Making Leisure and Entertainment Accessible
Degenerating sight and hearing can have a hugely detrimental effect on an older adult’s quality of life, preventing them from fully enjoying many things, including a range of everyday leisure activities.
Today, though, tablets, smartphones, and e-readers can all be used to make accessing content easier for seniors. New devices are designed with the needs of older adults in mind and, as well as being able to sync with hearing aids, as discussed above, often now offer larger text settings and voice-activated controls, for example.
GPS Tracking Systems
For seniors who may be experiencing confusion or suffering from memory problems, getting out and about can become really problematic. However, increasingly remaining isolated in the home comes with its own risks to mental health and overall quality of life.
GPS tracking systems can be the solution: if the user becomes lost, the device can be used to alert the authorities or a designated contact that they require assistance.
Digital Pill Dispenser
Digital versions of pill dispensers can now work in tandem with a dedicated app to remind the user which medication to take and at what time, thereby preventing the risk of missing a dose or of taking too many pills at once.
These apps can be customized to any schedule and can usually hold up to ten different pills of various shapes and sizes.
Very soon, it’s likely that tech and human-provided care will become ever-more enmeshed when it comes to supporting the elderly and allowing them to live happy, fulfilled lives. Virtual assistants, holistic smart homes, and companion robots will work alongside remote health workers and relatives to create a warm, nurturing, and stimulating environment for all of us as we age.