Like it or not, technology is here to stay. For some, this transition is not as easy as it is for others. As people who have more experience with technology age, seniors will have an easier time using their devices, and the rewards will grow as a result. In the meantime, companies, both private and public, are making huge strides toward improving this field. The fact that the senior population is growing so rapidly creates financial incentive, but it’s important to remember that these technological advances are supposed to help the people that we love and care for.
One way that technology, and the internet in particular, can be of use to us is through what is sometimes called “the internet of things.” This is seen today through devices like Fitbit, the Apple Watch, or even GPS units on our phones. Our lives are so complicated in so many ways, and these devices use the web to try and simplify it. The Fitbit, for example, is supposed to help us keep track of our fitness so that we can stay healthier. A couple decades ago, we would use a pedometer, or even just our brains and a pad of paper. Today, we have an easier way to do things.
The future looks at these leaps ahead, and promises that even more can be done to make lives easier. And senior care is a big area where this can happen. Communication with doctors will get easier, basic tests that show information about our health will be able to be done at home, devices that can determine if an accident has occurred within the home will become cheaper and more prevalent, and more will be integrated seamlessly into more and more homes. Some companies are even looking at virtual caregivers to see whether or not they might help people.
We believe that nothing can replace the companionship of another person, and that in-home care is most effective when applied by a human, but in some cases, these things will be very helpful. Thinking about what the future holds as far as advances in senior care is a very exciting task.
The end goal is that better technology will not just make life a little easier, but it will also help reduce health and general care costs. Let’s look at numbers for a moment. Back in 2000, 10 percent of the world’s population was age 60 or older. By the year 2015, that number had gone up to 12 percent. Some experts believe that by 2030, the number of seniors age 60 or above will stand at 16 percent or more. By 2050? 22 percent! There are a number of factors impacting this jump. Exponential growth, better access to health care, and better education all point toward longer life expectancy. As our population ages, we will have a new set of needs when it comes to senior care. By making care more accessible and less expensive through technology, we can give our elderly family members a better shot at having a higher quality of life.