Technology is making life much easier and safer to age at home. It’s not about robots replacing caregivers but rather technologies that ensure peace of mind and quick access to help, doctors and less trips to the surgery or hospital. So what are the big technology trends that we can expect to see?
Sensors are being attached to pillboxes, fridges and beds to monitor daily activity. When something is missed, or out of the ordinary, family members or friends will be notified through an app. They will then be able to check in. Even if they are miles away as the information collected through the sensors is collated online and it will be possible for friends and family log in from anywhere in the world to view the activity.
Telehealth is the ‘use of telecommunication techniques for the purpose of providing telemedicine, medical education, and health education over a distance. It is transforming the medical management of people living in rural and remote areas or those too frail or incapacitated to travel. It is already being used in aged care facilities across Australia and will begin to gain more popularity for in-home care as more homes have access to simple video conferencing applications. Being able to video conference a doctor instead of traipsing out in bad weather or during poor health is a huge benefit for those living at home as they age and some video consultations are already being covered by Medicare for eligible areas.
Wearable sensors allow people to press a button and call for help if they are in trouble at home e.g. if they have fallen or stuck in the bath. Some also can detect if someone has fallen. Today’s versions of wearables are expected to be replaced by more attractive slim lined smart watches or fashionable bracelets.
4. Apps and online services to help you age at home
There are a multitude of apps/online services out there to help the elderly maintain independence and give their loved ones peace of mind including: - pill subscription services for those on regular medication for heart conditions/blood pressure etc. - in-home carer marketplaces – you can now use websites to directly connect to a carer that suits your personality and the hours you require without paying agency fees. - GPS trackers – this is a great one for those suffering with dementia. A GPS tracker will allow friends and family members to keep track of someone wandering off.
It’s crazy how fast technology is changing our lives today – particularly as most of us remember decades without mobile phones and the internet. Whereas once we all pictured ageing in rocking chairs it’s now all about rocking your wearables as you age!