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- Empowering Independence: Age Tech is facilitating greater independence for the elderly, allowing many seniors to live robust, autonomous lives, with innovations like wearable health monitors and smart home devices reducing the need for constant care.
- Safety and Well-being: Technologies such as AI-powered robots and virtual reality experiences not only enhance the safety of seniors by preventing accidents but also combat loneliness, promoting better mental health and social connection.
- Future Prospects: While there are challenges like data privacy concerns and the cost of early models, the potential of Age Tech is immense. As the technology matures and adoption increases, it promises to offer even more tailored and innovative solutions for the aging population.
Our world has experienced Change at a pace that even Alvin Toffler couldn’t quite imagine, which is actually understandable because by his own analysis he – being merely human – could only think linearly while digitization has progressed at exponential rates. The result is that technology has now assumed a pivotal position in almost every facet of our lives, mostly for the better, mostly making tasks easier and more efficient, mostly making lives better. Although we generally associate tech innovations with the younger generation, a remarkable wave of technological advancements—being collectively called “Age Tech”—is reshaping the lives of the elderly as well. Let’s explore how Age Tech is offering solutions tailored to the unique needs and challenges faced by older adults.
What is Age Tech?
Who’s your target market here? The great generation that evolved from rotary phones to cell phones, from celluloid film cameras to – again – cell phones. From hardbound in-on-paper books in the library to – yet again – cell phones. But at some point technology had to outrun them; and it has. And the faculties of that generation are also beginning to erode. Due to illness or age, they are now house-bound. And daily life routines are a challenge.
Age Tech refers to technological solutions that encompass a broad range of tools, from wearable devices to AI-driven platforms, and specifically seek to address those challenges and enhance the quality of the lives of the elderly and improve their health..
The Rise of Age Tech: Key Innovations
Wearable Health Monitors: The capabilities built into today’s devices such as smartwatches and fitness trackers do not work only for the young and active but also – and increasingly – for the elderly as well. Many wearable devices in use nowadays have the ability built into them to monitor vital signs, detect falls and accidents, and even remind the elderly to take their medications according to schedules saved on them, either by the users or their caregivers. These devices provide peace of mind to both the wearer and their loved ones.
Smart Homes: From voice-controlled assistants like Siri, Alexa or Google Home to smart lighting and thermostats, the modern home can be a haven of convenience for seniors. By managing and assisting with daily tasks, providing entertainment, or even ensuring the safety and comfort of the home environment, these tools help the elderly achieve a reasonable semblance of the more active and engaged lives they led before they became dependent on others.
Telemedicine: During the worst months of the Covid-19 pandemic, when social interaction was completely forbidden, virtual doctor visits became the only possible way for doctors to look after their patients; the platforms were seen to be so efficient and successful, that doctors decided to continue to use them even after the pandemic had ended. Telemedicine has now established itself as a very convenient way for people to consult with healthcare professionals without leaving their homes, and for the elderly, who may have mobility challenges or live in remote areas, it has worked wonderfully to enable them to access their healthcare providers.
Social Connection Platforms: The generation that is housebound right now is actually the LAST to have been seriously outdoorsy. They grew up playing with friends on the street, having romantic flings on the beaches, camping with family and friends. And now they’re stuck at home. They can’t meet friends anymore, and can’t even go out in a lot of cases. Loneliness has very rapidly emerged as one of the most significant issues affecting the psychological health of the elderly. Were it not for platforms like Skype, Zoom, or specialized apps designed for seniors to facilitate video calls, helping them stay connected with family and friends, the crushing silence of their lonely lives would be unbearable.
AI-Powered Care Robots: Rosey the Robot who was the Jetsons’ maid took very good care of the family; and since scientists are essentially children trying to make their favorite show a living reality, they got to work on building home-care robots. A lot of them still don’t look like robots, and certainly not like C-3PO from Star Wars, but Alfie, designed by Prosper Robotics, can already do housework while Roomba cleans up your mess. These robots, equipped with artificial intelligence, can assist the elderly in various ways, from offering medication reminders to providing companionship; more importantly, from the perspective of the elderly, they can also alert caregivers or medical professionals if they detect any health anomalies.
Virtual Reality (VR) Experiences: Whether it’s revisiting a childhood home or taking a virtual stroll on a beach, VR can provide emotional and cognitive benefits by “transporting” the elderly user to places and times of choice, and delivering therapeutic experiences.Nowadays, you can even choose a temporary Avatar to have a “lived” experience as someone else in some other environment, or even as your own younger, perhaps enhanced, self. It’s an excellent escape, especially for the elderly.
The Impact of Age Tech:
Increased Independence: Technology is helping many seniors to continue enjoying robust and independent lives, reducing the need for assisted living or nursing homes.
Enhanced Safety: Wearables that detect falls or smart homes that can prevent accidents contribute to a safer living environment.
Improved Mental Well-being: Staying socially connected and mentally stimulated can have profound effects on the mental health of the elderly. Age Tech offers tools to ensure seniors remain engaged and connected.
Better Health Monitoring: Continuous health monitoring can lead to early detection of potential issues, allowing for timely interventions and better overall health outcomes.
Challenges and the Road Ahead:
As with all technology that is fresh out of the oven, there are a lot of unknown unknowns in Age tech that will become evident only after widespread use. Despite its obvious benefits, Age Tech has numerous challenges to overcome before it can become a “normal” part of daily life. The elderly are bound to be apprehensive towards technology they are unfamiliar with, and will be quite slow to adopt. To make the decision even more difficult for them, early models will be fairly expensive and the likelihood of data privacy breaches will remain high.
However, as Age Tech continues to evolve, and as an increasing number of seniors become tech-savvy, it is fair to expect these challenges to diminish. The future promises even more innovative solutions tailored to the needs of the aging population.
Despite the bad rap it gets in fiction, technology usually is a force for good, addressing real-world challenges and improving lives. And Age Tech is a testament to how tech can be used to improve the lives of people. As the global population ages, the importance of such technologies will only grow. By bringing the digital world to the living rooms of the elderly, Age Tech is ensuring that their golden years are not only comfortable, but also enriched with the wonders of modern innovation.
Want to know more about the future of telehealth?
MarkiTech has various subsidiaries with products and services targeted towards digital healthcare and telehealth/telemedicine and virtual clinic with laser focus on helping seniors age in place and help their caregivers.
Sensights.ai is a company focused on remote patient monitoring and aging solutions, which utilizes artificial intelligence to track the health of patients and keep a round-the-clock connection between caregivers and patients.
As well, Veyetals uses rPPG and AI modeling algorithms to capture the light reflected by the blood vessels under a patient’s skin to measure vitals anytime, anywhere.
Lastly, we are now launched our latest Mental Health AI Scribe tool called CliniScripts.com