Technology That Helps You Age-in-Place

Health and Safety Paramount for Living at Home as You Age

Older woman using her phone
Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Blend Images/Getty Images

Aging-in-Place - everyone wants to do that. But it can only happen if you plan. And that plan must include how you incorporate aging in place technology in health, home automation, security, communications, and lifestyle. As a consumer, read this with an eye on what you need to do in your home. As an entrepreneur start to see the opportunities for business in this emerging and fast growing field.

Digital Health

According to AARP, half of people age 50+ use or are interested in using mobile technology to support their health. About one in ten (11%) currently uses a mobile technology to track their health measures and another four in ten (42%) say they are either very or somewhat interested in doing the same. Among caregivers, one in six (17%) say they currently use mobile technology to help track the health of the person they help. About three percent currently use a mobile technology to be informed about health indicators of the person they assist and nearly four in ten (37%) say they are very or somewhat interested in using these technologies.

Computer Science Corporations report, The Future of Healthcare: It's Health, Then Care identifies a wide range of technologies in development. The report identifies five key trends that will change healthcare, all enabled by emerging technologies.

E-Power to the Patient

Patients will be in charge of their care management. They will be empowered through health information, health and care applications and a support system that monitors progress. They will use:

  • Smartphone applications such as iTriage
  • Social networking sites like Patients Like Me
  • Band-Aid-like heart rate sensors sending data wirelessly to a smartphone
  • Intelligent bathrooms

Earlier Detection

From simple, inexpensive technology tests to complex genetic testing, technology will aid early detection.

High-Tech Healing

Next-generation implants and ingestibles will monitor disease progress, dispense medications, and assist and replace malfunctioning organs and limbs.

  • Glucose monitoring tattoos
  • Smart pills that send notifications when swallowed
  • An artificial pancreas for diabetics
  • Artificial retinas for blind patients

In addition, you can already see robotic care assistants for the elderly, smartphone-enabled patient coaching and monitoring, video games for honing medical decision-making, mobile medical training, and more.

The Smart Home

A smart home is one with many features that are automated and devices that communicate with each other creating a system that enables normal activities of daily living. With a smart home, you can control just about any element of daily living. Homes are being built today with these technologies and you can start to see the benefits automation could have on an aging population.

Lifestyle and Communications

Broadband technologies are all essential to aging in place. Think of how convenient banking at home is now and then about how necessary it might be down the road for a home-bound person. Banking and shopping from home, access to entertainment help maintain connectivity to an outside world.

Whether providing a check-in phone call, personal emergency response systems (PERS) to systems that monitor your movements and detect out-of-routine behavior to GPS-enabled buses that alert elders when they are near their home or stop so they don't spend needless time in the elements - opportunities abound.

There is an incredible breadth of opportunity in care outside of assisted and skilled nursing facilities. What can you provide? And more importantly, can you organize them in a way that provides both seamless care and the funding for it? What is your vision of aging in place?

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