Increasingly seen as a safety net for older parents and loved ones, electronic sensors and other home-based devices are giving peace of mind to families of the aging population, writes USA Today in a report this week.
This “technological wave of global significance” is providing solutions from medication management to safety and communication, and is extending the ability for older Americans to age in their homes.
“Imagine bottle caps that glow when it’s time to take medicine, chairs that take your vital signs and even carpets that analyze walking patterns and anticipate physical degeneration and mental infirmity,” USA Today writes. “All are here or coming soon and will be a boon to the nation’s 78 million Baby Boomers — those born from 1946 to 1964 — who are facing the prospect of aging with a shrinking population of caregivers.”
The technology benefits those who use it, as well as society in general, as a caregiver shortage is projected to coincide with the population of baby boomers reaching their 70s and 80s.
But challenges abound, too, with different devices and technologies existing on a single platform, as well as the fear associated with monitoring people in their homes, the article notes.
“There’s a visceral reaction many people have to being monitored,” Stephen Intille, associate professor at Northeastern University’s College of Computer and Information Sciences, told USA Today. “We need to stay away from stigmatizing these innovations. The better way to think of them is like advanced answering machines that go in the homes of the seniors and their families as well. They should be seen as devices that link people together.”
Health care and aging tech, however, is a big business, the article notes, and those who are developing solutions now are on the cutting edge of what will amount to a huge trend in the future. That includes tech giants from Intel-GE to Qualcomm, and many others that are in the space currently, or have plans to enter in the near term.
Written by Elizabeth Ecker