How Technology Helps the Elderly

How Technology Helps the Elderly

Tech solutions can make an elderly person’s life easier and more enjoyable!

As we continue to see more and more advancements in technology, it has become much easier for people to age without suddenly losing their independence. As of 2019, the global average life expectancy has become over 70 years, nearly doubling from what it was in the 1900s. With rising life expectancy, it has become integral to focus on how to better the lives of the elderly population. 

With that in mind, let’s take a look at how tech benefits the elderly in simplifying their healthcare routines and reducing day-to-day loneliness. 

Easing Healthcare 

One of the greatest challenges of getting older is that you might end up with additional healthcare responsibilities. One of the ways in which tech simplifies healthcare is through medical alert systems. These are usually implemented in smart devices, like bracelets or necklaces, which call medical care services if they detect that the wearer needs assistance.  

As you get older, you might have to take medication regularly for various health conditions. Smart pillboxes make it easy for you to remember when to take what medication. They can not only remind the elderly when to take meds but can also be connected to their doctor’s database so that they never miss a dose. 

Combating loneliness 

Sure, scientific advancements have provided more health solutions to the elderly—but what about their loneliness? Older adults are particularly at risk of loneliness because of factors like loss of family, vision or aural impairment and living alone. According to a report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), over one-third of adults older than 45 years of age feel lonely. This became a particularly big concern during the COVID-19 pandemic, when older and more at-risk individuals had to stay separated from their family members.  

Artificial intelligence (AI) can be a greatly beneficial tool in combating elderly loneliness. The Israel-based startup, Intuition Robotics, is one company that has created an AI solution, ElliQ, for the elderly. ElliQ not only provides the elderly with someone to converse with but also guides them through workouts and meditation routines, among a range of other functions. 

Making socialization more technologically accessible can help reduce loneliness as well. An elderly person might not know exactly how to use typical social media platforms. Komp, developed by Norwegian company No Isolation, helps seniors connect with others with just a button. This user-friendly computer with a single button allows the elderly to access photos and videos from their friends and family, make video calls and send messages. 

As of June this year, venture capitalists have spent over half a billion dollars on U.S.-based eldercare and homecare startups. This goes to show that eldercare is a lucrative business that entrepreneurs should consider exploring. However, it is important to note that most tech targeted at the elderly must be easy to use. While tech can be beneficial for the elderly, the process of learning how to use it is a huge challenge for them. Two out of five elderly people have physical conditions that make it a challenge for them to use technology. Thus, it is important to keep in mind accessibility when devising tech solutions for the elderly. 

Header image courtesy of Freepik

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